Creative Catalyst

Creative Catalyst: A Professional Development Series for Musicians

Five local musical acts have been selected to participate in Arts Whistler’s Creative Catalyst, a skills development program featuring the expert advice of creative professionals from the Sea to Sky and beyond.

The professional development program, affectionately called “Band Bootcamp”, is designed to help local musicians elevate their music, performance, promotional and business skills over three phases of the project:

Phase 1: Professional Development for Musicians
Phase 2: Media Kit Creation
Phase 3: Live Showcases | ‘The Next Level’  Find out more and tune in to watch!

Each participating group was chosen from 17 bands who took part in Arts Whistler’s Hear and Now ONLINE music series. Hear and Now MC’s (all musicians themselves) took in each show and then selected the five groups. Criteria included that band members must live in the Sea to Sky Corridor and each band must have a strong commitment to expand their musical career beyond the Sea to Sky.

The five musical acts are:

Cat Madden – Cat creates an eclectic mix of classic styles and carries that old soul vibe with a modern twist. A powerhouse voice that never fails to amaze!
Introduce Wolves – Heavy guitar, bass and drums, lots of fuzz, and melodic vocals come together in their alternative rock style
Evan Kinsella – Singer-songwriter finding influences from multiple genres to offer up his soul-drenched, roots vibe.
Lozen – A multi-talented singer-songwriter and bandleader whose mixed bag of genre-bending offerings have been entertaining crowds for years.
Little Earthquakes – Helen Hamilton and Charlie Stenner have been creating beautiful, harmony-infused melodies since late 2019, fuelled by their mutual love for low-fi, alt-pop sounds.

Creative professionals sharing their expertise with the bands:



Jess Robson – Promotional writing

Since 2013, Jess Robson has been cultivating a business focused on communication; helping creative business owners, entrepreneurs, organizations and individuals find the words to bring their work and value to life through language.
A self-taught copywriter, Jess honed her skills in human-centric content development and watched the greatest connections happen online through conversation; real, human to human talking…in the form of emails, website copy, social media content…and more.
Jess is all about self-expression, can’t leave a grocery store without at *least* entertaining the idea of getting wine gums, and is slightly obsessed with the small mountain town she’s landed in on Canada’s West Coast.




Ira Pettle – Performance and improv skills

Ira Pettle is a performing artist, educator, DJ, creative and key player in Whistler’s performing arts scene. Ira was named 2019 Champion of Arts & Culture at the Whistler Excellence Awards and is our performance skills and public speaking expert.




Scott McPhee – Technical knowledge and stage readiness

A freelance audio engineer with more than 25 years of experience, Scott has worked with the likes of My Morning Jacket, Deathcab for a Cutie, The Flaming Lips and even Jay-Z! Other career highlights include technical management of RedBull Crashed Ice, RedBull Soapbox, Crankworx and many more. Scott is a true expert on all things tech – so there’ll be some awesome insights coming at you in his session.




Kristen Robinson – Performer professionalism and producer expectations

Kristen Robinson, better known as KR, is a veteran in the Canadian festival and events industry, recently celebrating her 25th anniversary in the business. KR has booked thousands of performances ranging from classical music to rock and roll, street performances to theatre and professional to local entertainment in Vancouver, Whistler and Toronto.
KR has central to the development of many legendary events including the World Ski & Snowboard Festival, Crankworx and Whistler Live!, Whistler’s 27-day festival during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Other career highlights include work with The Agency Group, a global entertainment agency; producing the Red Truck Tailgate Concerts at Grey Cup 2014; and programming and producing the Whistler Presents Outdoor Concert Series at Whistler Olympic Plaza since its inception in 2012.



Joanne Setterington – Music publicity and promotional techniques

Joanne Setterington created Indoor Recess in 2004. On the front line of many artists’ careers, Jo is a proud emissary, advocate and champion of everyone she has the privilege to work with in both the PR and management realms of Indoor Recess.
IRPR, the public relations division of the company, has been a leader in its field, holding the coveted position of agency of record for many domestic and international companies, events and artists including Polaris Music Prize, Concord Music Group, Last Gang Records, Sony Music, Arcade Fire, Metric and more. In 2019, Jo won Publicist of the Year at the Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry awards.
Indoor Recess Management began in 2010 when Jo started managing The Strumbellas. In 2017 she was recognized by the Music Managers Forum, receiving the organization’s ‘Banner Year’ Award. The company’s roster has blossomed to include an array of different Canadian and American artists including Simon Ward, Dave Ritter, daysormay, Long Range Hustle, Nuela Charles, Jared and the Mill and Wheelwright.
In 2017, Jo co-founded industry advocacy movement, Across The Board, which lobbied for gender parity on the board of directors of organizations that impact the Canadian music industry.




Michelle Leroux – Social media and marketing

Michelle Leroux’s professional career in media relations and communications spans more than 18 years. She is currently the sales and marketing manager at Scandinave Spa Whistler and has worked as a freelancer in public relations, digital marketing, and communications strategies for a variety of tourism, lifestyle, and event organizations. Prior to her freelance career she was a key member of the Whistler Blackcomb marketing department for nine years with almost four years as the PR & Communications Manager.




Dear Rouge:
Danielle McTaggart
– Songwriting, music production
Drew McTaggart – Performance skills, audience engagement

Dear Rouge is a Juno award-winning Vancouver-based electronic rock band formed in 2012 by Drew and Danielle McTaggart. Dear Rouge have won several awards including ‘Breakthrough Group of the Year’, ‘Pop artist of the year’ and ‘Songwriter(s) of the year’ to name but a few.
In November 2012, Dear Rouge were the grand prize winners of the Peak Performance Project put on by the Music BC Industry Organization and CKPK-FM radio station in Vancouver. The project’s goal was to educate, promote, develop and hopefully launch the careers of some of BC’s and Alberta’s up and coming artists.
Since then they have recorded two albums (Black to Gold and PHASES) – Black to Gold hit #2 on Canadian Alt-rock charts and PHASES reached #1! They have been on an upwards trajectory and are currently recording new music in Toronto. They are a self-managed force to be reckoned with, who make incredible music.




Sandee Bathgate – The business of the music business

Sandee Bathgate has been entrenched in the music business in a variety of capacities for three decades. With a love of music, but a complete lack of any musical ability, she looked to behind the scenes options to find employment in the industry.
Her initiation in the music business came in a clerk’s role working for the Mister Sound (later to be known as HMV) music chain. She spent several years at Capitol EMI Records as the A & R Coordinator, and shortly after was recruited by Bruce Allen Talent (BAT). With that, Sandee made the move out west where she still remains a part of the BAT Team.
Sandee oversees the Producer Management division of Bruce Allen Talent which has included steering the careers of Bruce Fairbairn and Bob Rock as well as being a management consultant for Bryan Adams’ The Warehouse Studio. In more recent years she has also taken on the role of Sponsorship Liaison between Bruce Allen Talent and their corporate partners.




Jessie McNaught – Professional stylist

Jess inspires others to harness their individuality – their gifts, their beauty and the possibilities of what they can and will create in this lifetime. She believes in the power that lies within all of us, when we are brave enough to see it and use it, our lives become true works of art.
Jess is a stylist, an artist and a coach, helping creatives, artists, storytellers, thought leaders and culture changers let go of the past and create the future.
Through coaching, personal styling, brand deve-lopment and photography, Jess’s clients become clear on who they are, what they want to express and how their brand creates impact. From this innate place of knowing and heart-aching purpose, we create the visuals around the values, ensuring their message gets in-front of their people.




Logan Swayze – Professional photographer

Growing up in the beautiful West Kootenays of British Columbia, Logan was drawn to art from a very young age. His love for drawing and painting grew into something different when his uncle gave him his very first film camera. This new found passion eventually led Logan to seek an education in photography. While studying at the Western Academy of Photography, Logan was drawn to portraiture and he graduated among the top in his class while being awarded the prize of Portrait of the Year.
Today, Logan is a professional wedding, portrait and commercial photographer living in the amazing town of Whistler, BC. He truly loves spending time with people and draws inspiration from their connection to one another within the beauty that surrounds them. Everyone has a unique story and his desire is to tell it through honest and creative imagery. Logan feels lucky every day to be able to do what he is passionate about for a living and is honoured to be the one trusted to capture people’s memories that will last a lifetime.



Band Boot Camp Diaries:

Get a glimpse behind the scenes! Read about what’s happening week-to-week as the musicians progress through weeks of professional development. Read The Band Boot Camp Diaries.


Thank you!

Arts Whistler is presenting the Creative Catalyst program thanks to a grant from the Province of BC’s Rural Dividend Fund, which supports economic and employment development opportunities in rural areas.




Playing It Forward

Born from Creative Catalyst, affectionally known as "Band Bootcamp", and The Next Level showcases, Arts Whistler brings you Playing It Forward.
The musicians from Creative Catalyst have gathered together to reflect on what they learnt from the program, and they want to share it with all of you, the music community! We have distilled their most valuable and meaningful snippets of advice to create this mini-series, in effect - Playing It Forward.
We hope you enjoy these strokes of genius!

Learn More