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Little Miss Higgins - In Support of Special Olympics Manitoba

The West End Cultural Centre

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Little Miss Higgins - Presented by the Winnipeg Wine Festival - Thursday, April 22 @ 7:00pm in support of Special Olympics Manitoba

About this Event

Each year, the Winnipeg Wine Festival brings thousands of people together to celebrate and sample wines at various events throughout the city. Due to the pandemic and current health and safety guidelines, the Festival was forced to cancel all events until further notice.

Adding to the difficulty of this decision, is the loss of the much-needed fundraising support the Winnipeg Wine Festival provides to Special Olympics Manitoba (SOM). Since early April 2020, all SOM sports and recreation programming as well as all fundraising events have been suspended. SOM is working hard to address the loss of community and impact of social isolation affecting their athletes through the creation and development of new online, virtual and @home opportunities to ensure they continue to experience and benefit from the transformative power and joy of sport. This shift in new programming has been costlier than ever, so the need for fundraising remains. Investing in new programming will not only fill the immediate gap of in-person activities, but will add to our offerings for years to come.

We hope you’ll help us help SOM and their athletes by joining us in this unique Virtual WineDown event. It’s going to be a blast.

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From the Great Northern Plains, Little Miss Higgins struts and serenades her way onto any stage playing music brewed in early country blues, jazz and folk. A Playing, touring, collaborating and recording for over 15 years, this musician and mother now navigates her time through performing and parenthood.

Her six independently released albums and artwork have received many awards and nominations, including a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for her latest collection of songs, MY HOME, MY HEART (2017). Recorded at The Song Shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, this album’s sound remains true to Higgins’ roots, but ventures into new territory. Co-produced with Scott Nolan and engineered by Jamie Sitar of Outta Town Sound, this album is an effortless addition to her impressive body of work.

Little Miss Higgins (aka Jolene Higgins) was born in Brooks, Alberta, and raised in Independence, Kansas. Music entered her life early. “When I was about four my dad brought home an old mini-grand piano and told me it was mine. I carved my name in the side of it and then I had to start taking piano lessons.”

Higgins now uses guitar and voice as her main instruments as well as her theatre background to bring a refreshing sound and story to the stage. Higgins settled in Saskatchewan from 2002-2013 and that’s when music took the driver’s seat. Over that time she built her career touring across Canada performing in clubs, theatres and festivals.

As a songwriter and musician, Higgins has been influenced by a range of artists from Memphis Minnie and Billie Holiday to Joni Mitchell and Dolly Parton as well as the vast array of Canadian and International musicians and bands she has had the fortune to see live or even share the stage including kd lang, Corb Lund, Buddy Guy and Maria Muldaur.

Her first two studio albums Cobbler Shop Sessions (2005) and Junction City (2007) superbly showcase Little Miss Higgins as a highly-developed songwriter as well as a remarkable country blues performer in a style gracefully highlighted by her partner at the time and guitarist Foy Taylor and occasionally a handful of other roots musicians.

The release of Junction City resulted in a handful of honours for Little Miss Higgins including JUNO and Maple Blues Awards nominations and won as Outstanding Blues Recording at Western Canadian Music Awards and Favourite Blues Artist/Group or Duo of the Year category of the 8th Annual Indies Awards.

To her fan’s delight, there was the 2009 release Little Miss Higgins Live: Two Nights In March (2009). The album was recorded at Amigo’s Cantina in Saskatoon, and Engineered Air Theatre in Calgary. The album features such favourite performance fare as “The Dirty Ol Tractor Song,” “Velvet Barley Bed,” “In The Middle Of Nowhere” and “I’m Gonna Bake My Biscuits.” as well as a couple of previously unreleased songs including “Snowin’ Today: A Lament For Louis Riel.” which was then recorded in studio for her fourth collection of songs, Across The Plains (2011).

In 2013, Little Miss Higgins teamed up with a very talented quintet of musicians from Manitoba. She calls them the Winnipeg Five—Jimmie James McKee on trumpet, Eric Lemoine on banjo and pedal steel, Blake Thomson on guitar, Patrick Alexandre Leclerc on upright bass, Evan Friesen on drums and all five of them sing harmonies. As they play music in a similar vein as Higgins, it was a fitting alliance both onstage and in the studio...well, not quite a typical recording studio. With new songs waiting on the sidelines, the six of them decided to record in a barn, a barn on a bison ranch in rural Manitoba. Bison Ranch Recording Sessions (2013) received many accolades and lots of radio play.

Higgins has appeared live on many CBC radio shows such as Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café, Michael Enright’s Sunday Edition and Rich Terfry’s Drive. Her talents have also been put to use in the creation of a dust-bowl folk opera in collaboration with the Old Trout Puppet Workshop of Calgary, Alberta. Sharing her abilities with others, young and old, is another passion; she has taught songwriting at many schools and workshops including the Hornby Island Blues Workshop and Play & Record at the West End Cultural Centre in Winnipeg MB.

Higgins now makes her home in the province of Manitoba with her partner and son. Though motherhood takes up most of her time these days, she continues to perform, write, paint, garden, cook and cultivate her creative spirit.

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