Take Two: Walk the Talk Returns

You never know for sure if an idea will work by just thinking about it. Some ideas can be tested out in the safety of your own home where your failures can be kept quietly to yourself. But there are other ideas that you just have to jump in and say, “What the hell. Here goes nothing!”

That’s a bit like how this “Walk the Talk” idea came about. Granted, I am doing the behind-the-scenes work, so if I screw up, it’s not in front of the audience (i.e., a large group of Grade 4-9 kids whose laughter or silence can be deafening). But, there wasn’t really any way to know if this program would fly without giving it wings and letting go.

We “let go” two weeks ago with Taylor Headon from Blitz Conditioning who spoke about her very personal journey of life and loss to make her the strong, inspirational woman she is today.

Today, we kicked off the second session with Ian Alleyne, known as Fendercase when performing, who came in to inspire the students with his talent but also his message of keep doing what you love.

To explain briefly who Ian is and what he does, here is the bio that was sent out to parents and kids to explain who to expect for today:
Ian Alleyne is an Information Technology Analyst working with the City of Edmonton but he is also a professional musician who goes by the name Fendercase when performing. He grew up in Sherwood Park and grudgingly took piano lessons to later realize he was pretty good at it and also happened to have a pretty good, soulful voice to accompany his instrument. As a kid, he sang in the Elk Island Honour Choir and during summer, he attended music camp. He sang in an A Capella quintet after high school and later founded a unique band called the Hi-Phoniqs. A list of creative achievements for Ian include the release of his self-titled album “Fendercase,” which was nominated for Best Urban Recording at the 2010 Western Canadian Music Awards and won Best R&B Recording award at the inaugural Edmonton Music Awards, also in 2010. Ian also lent his talents to one of the most successful United Way Campaigns called “Change Starts Here.”

Ian is eager to speak to Lakeland students to share his story that blends his love of most things tech-related, hence his “day-job”, and music. You don’t have to be defined by one thing.

Ian’s life as a performer today, which is in the evening after working in IT by day, started around seven years-old when he started piano lessons. He wasn’t the perfect student. He wanted to play the cool songs and avoid scales, but he kept up with the lessons into high school. He dabbled with singing, A cappella to be exact, with classmates who sang for their high school grad and then two sold-out shows at Festival Place!

The gist of what Ian told the kids was that playing the piano was not easy for him the first time he played. It’s not supposed to be. Neither is playing soccer, knitting or painting for the first time (or first 100 times!). It wasn’t that much fun for him either when he had to play the songs his piano teacher told him to. But he did it, he got better and it got easier.

Ian has awards and accolades for his musical efforts but he joked that if he was really successful, he’d be on a beach right now. He’s being modest but emphasized that he didn’t stop playing music because he didn’t reach a certain level of fame. Music brings him joy. Why stop doing something you love? Hobbies of all kinds are important and trying hard and practising those hobbies is worth it … even if they don’t pay the bills.

The kids really connected with him, his music and his jokes about not being so great at the trumpet. (His high school band teacher strongly suggested he no longer play it and maybe give the trombone a try instead.)

Thanks Ian/Fendercase for taking time out of your day to be with us and play us a few songs, including the first one you every wrote many, many years ago! 😉

The idea of Walk the Talk was to bring inspirational people to students who I felt the kids could relate to, see a part of themselves within or want to be like one day. So far, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for what the speakers, thus far, have brought to the students and I am giddy for what the next three speakers are going to bring! Many thanks!

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