EXPRESS. Katie Cotter on the road with Sask. Express
Katie Cotter of Moose Jaw has at least two passions: the desire to engage in nursing as a career; and the second, the love of performing, whether in choir, musical theatre productions or drama.
This summer she is fulfilling one of those passions as a cast member of Saskatchewan Express, the touring musical variety show that has been entertaining provincial and national audiences for more than 30 years.
Cotter says her passions are separate from each other, with nursing being her career choice, and performance being more of a hobby — one that has kept her on stages since her kindergarten years, elementary school and through high school graduation.
Cotter’s friend, Lauren Olmstead, a Saskatchewan Express cast member last year, encouraged her to audition for the summer tour and because she wasn’t attending university for the spring semester, she decided to see if she would be accepted.
All potential cast members are required to prepare two songs and a monologue for the selection panel. Her songs were And So It Goes and Part of Your World. She also had to learn Isn’t It Romantic as provided by the panel.
Cotter was successful in her audition and since the end of March has spent her weekends in rehearsal for the summer tour, spending many “12 hour days” learning the songs and the choreography for the shows.
While she isn’t a dancer, she is learning about dance through what is called “singerography”. They had a choreographer come in and work with us just to see how we moved . . . I wouldn’t say that I’m great now (as a dancer) but I’ve definitely learned a lot as to the terminology. I came in completely new dance wise.”
As a cast member she auditioned for the solo numbers she preferred and will sing I Will Always Love You and be part of a duet for Sounds of Silence. She will also have solo parts in other selections.
She said the cast is diversified with “different personalities” who are fun to be with. She is happy to see some cast members coming from outside Regina — from such other places as Wynyard, Saskatchewan Beach, LaRonge, Elrose, Melfort and Earl Grey.
What is her favourite part of Saskatchewan Express so far? “The costumes,” she said, noting each cast member has three different costumes to wear in the three different shows being presented.
She credits two of her choir directors for her vocal and performance successes. She joined the Moose Jaw Children’s Choir in kindergarten and was a member for nine years, most of those years being directed by Regina Sagal Hendry. “I credit her so much for teaching me the basics and fundamentals to make me a better performer. Looking back, I am thankful for her being a tough director.”
Cotter was also directed by Val McWilliams in the Vanier choirs through high school and said “she is an amazing woman. I learned a lot from her.”
She was also active in Vanier’s drama program and co-wrote a play that was performed at the Saskatchewan Drama Festival. Her trophy case includes awards for best actor in both 2010 and 2011.
And she has a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie to her credit, appearing in A Dog Named Christmas in 2009. “That was the best experience of my life. It was awesome to be in front of the camera and on the set. That’s where I realized how much I love acting. She played Teenaged Girl No. 1 and had “a couple of lines”.
Cotter is looking forward to performing for her hometown crowd when Saskatchewan Express performs July 5 during a Sidewalk Days concert. “I’ve told my friends so I hope they show up.”
No doubt, two of the audience members will include her parents, Al and Deb Cotter, who she said have mentored her and been supportive all through her childhood, taking in all of her school and choir performances. Her brother, Jon, might attend too if he isn’t playing baseball.
Saskatchewan Express is also scheduled to appear July 17 at 7 p.m. at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park.
Come fall, Cotter has been accepted into the four-year nursing program through the University of Regina and SIAST and will attend school in Saskatoon through Kelsey Institute. Joyce Walter can be reached at ronjoy@ sasktel.net
Katie Cotter chosen for Saskatchewan Express