Athletics run deep in the family DNA, but so too does a passion for the arts, as evidenced by the opportunities that have opened up for 14-year-old Trason, the youngest child of Jody and Jennifer Ridgewell.
Trason, an athlete himself, is also pursuing his love of singing and acting, fully supported by his family who live on a farm north of Outlook. “My mom and dad were in school plays and they both did singing,” Trason remarked. “My dad was the leading man in a couple of plays and he still talks about it to this day.” So it was no surprise when, as a young child, Trason demonstrated a love for performing and entertaining people.
Two years ago he began voice lessons and has also eagerly embraced every opportunity to be in school plays and community theatre, including taking on the role of Flounder in Equinox Theatre’s production of “The Little Mermaid” last fall. He has also participated in the music festival, as well as local music and drama camps, and this summer was able to take that experience international after being selected for the Missoula Children’s Theatre Performing Arts Camp in Montana.
Trason was one of three Canadians selected for the camp through an audition process that required applicants to send in a video audition of a song and a monologue. When he found out he had been selected he was expecting coaching in general acting skills, a little bit of dance, and some singing and musical theatre. What he received was so much more.
“It was intense,” he explained, as he and 90 other students rehearsed mornings, afternoons and evenings, working on a medley of songs from Broadway productions of Footloose, Green Day, Mamma Mia and Motown the Musical. In their free time they continued to practice on their own or with one of the dance, acting or vocal coaches to hone their craft. Trason took full advantage of the opportunity, working with the voice teacher one-on-one as well as a couple of sessions with the dance teacher to fine tune the complicated choreography. “In Footloose there was really heavy dancing and that was a challenge for me,” he said. “I spent a lot of my free time working on that.”
Following 10 days of rehearsals at the camp at Flathead Lake, Montana, the group moved to Missoula for three days of shows for large crowds at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts. They even got the experience of living out the adage ‘the show must go on’ when the unexpected occur during one of the performances. “The power went out during one of the shows,” Trason explained, “so we had to keep going through the dark.”
The full schedule the campers experienced was nothing new for Trason since his interests and activities keep him busy all the time. Following his interview with The Outlook, Trason was on his way to football camp at LCBI where he is enrolled as a grade 9 student. He also enjoys volleyball, basketball, softball and curling, and because of his experience this summer would like to add a dance class to his calendar.
Despite the demands of his schedule and the work it requires, Trason says he will definitely keep acting and singing. “I’d like to make some sort of career out of it because I really like doing it,” he remarked. “I really have fun with it so I want to keep doing it.”
Everything he gained at the Performing Arts Camp he will bring into opportunities this year and beyond. “I learned a lot of stuff,” he explained. “The overall experience of just working hard and giving it all you’ve got was a great experience. I want to do it again.”