There's a blue-haired musician coming this way and she's said to play one of the most unique instruments better than most people in the world.
Nadina Mackie Jackson, formerly of Prince George, will take to the Vanier Hall stage with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra Saturday, bassoon in hand.
Don't think it's an easy thing, either. It's a complicated instrument.
And don't get her started on wardrobe malfunctions.
"You can't believe how hard it is to get a gown designed to work with the bassoon because there are so many keys on it and most of them are on the back, and if anything touches them, it stops working," said Jackson. "So if you have a really great stage gown but there's a loose thread or it's not designed properly, you could be in trouble. It's kind of like wearing a super hero outfit - you have to be able to walk on stage with it, because both hands are busy, and the keys, well, the keys - there's too many keys! And if the gown gets stuck in the keys, well, it just makes a croaking sound and it just can't play - it's not like a violin or flute or trumpet that are completely clear of the body."
Jackson records and performs worldwide on both modern and historical bassoons, has recorded 11 solo and chamber music CDs and can be heard on more than 100 orchestral recordings. Albums for the 2011/12 season include 24 Solos by Jean-Daniel Braun, After Hours with Guy Few and Canadian Concerti, a recent piece written for her and Guy Few.
Jackson has appeared as soloist for lOrchestre Symphonique de Montral, Toronto Chamber Orchestra, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra (Ithaca, New York), the Grand River Baroque Festival Soloists and lOrchestre Symphonique de Trois-Rivires.
Jackson began her career with the Montreal Symphony. She is the principal bassoonist of the Toronto Chamber Orchestra, the Group of Twenty-Seven, the Aradia Baroque Ensemble and a regular guest with Violons du Roy.
Jackson has founded many chamber groups and the charitable-status group, the Council of Canadian Bassoonists. She teaches at the University of Toronto and the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Jackson discovered the bassoon as a youth in school, when schools had money for such things as instruments, she said.
"I heard the bassoon when the band teacher at Lakewood junior secondary played it," said Jackson. "It was so intriguing. I can still remember everything about that day."
When she attended Prince George secondary she picked up the reed instrument again.
"The teachers were very supportive because it's an instrument people rarely choose to play," said Jackson. "Some people don't even know the instrument exists and for some it's too complicated and too mechanical and the reeds are something you have to learn to make. Otherwise, you're at the mercy of the commercial side of things."
Jackson is excited to be returning to Prince George, something she hasn't done since she was 22 years old. It's been a while.
"It's wonderful," said Jackson. "There are two pieces we will be performing and the PGSO's new conductor Kevin Zakresky, has created a great program."
The PGSO show, Nadina, will start at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Vanier Hall. Tickets are at Studio 2880 and at the door, $29 for adult, $25 for seniors, and $15 for people under 25 years.