Released today! Little Red Riding Hood and Beethoven at the CPO

StoryMusic is excited to announce that the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has just released a video of Liza Scriggins’ latest creation: a version of Little Red Riding Hood to go along with Beethoven’s dramatic String Quartet No. 11 in f minor, Op 95. Performing are the illustrious principals of the CPO’s string section (in costume!): Diana Cohen and Lorna Tsai, violins; Laurent Grillet-Kim, viola, and Arnold Choi, cello. Julie Freedman Smith brings the story to life with her spot-on narration and singing, and Olga Cuttell of Oladesign created several gorgeous paintings for the project as well. (Please note that the work above is by Swedish painter Carl Larsson, from 1881. Olga Cuttell’s paintings for this particular project will only be available through the CPO, since they commissioned her.) The video is marketed to schools as part of the CPO’s Education Concerts, but homeschoolers as well as families whose schools have not signed up with the CPO can contact Education & Outreach Manager Alysha Bulmer to work out an affordable option for access. This classic fairytale (with a surprise ending) as well as Beethoven’s moving, mind-blowing music are not to be missed! For more information, please visit the CPO website:

StoryMusic to listen to FREE during the quarantine

Hello everyone,

We send our best wishes to one and all especially at this time, with gratitude for those who work to keep us safe as well as to keep things going, and with hopes that everyone stays healthy and finds ways to connect amidst the current restrictions. With that in mind, we would like to offer free listening during the pandemic. This recording is not the finished product we hope to eventually be able to share!  We put it together quickly in June 2016 to serve as a demo recording for website audio clips as well as for grant applications. We’ve performed it numerous times since then, making some changes along the way and getting it more into our fingers, but we feel it could still bring enjoyment to listeners. So here is our early version of Salmon & Dipper’s Wondrous Journey, set to Claude Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, with Samantha Whelan Kotkas, narrator; Lucie Jones, flute; Gianetta Baril, harp; and Liza Scriggins, viola. Special thanks to Mark Ellestad for serving as sound engineer, Mount Royal Conservatory for allowing us to record in the TransAlta Pavilion, and Olga Cuttell for her gorgeous artwork. The three tracks altogether take about 18 minutes. Enjoy, and take care!


Salmon & Dipper embark on their journey: Adventures along the way: Bears! and the destination:


Christmas Eve at Knox Presbyterian Church

Many thanks to Reverend Mark Tremblay and Mary Wescott for hosting StoryMusic at Knox Presbyterian! Paul Grindlay did a magnificent job as narrator, sharing a version of the traditional nativity story, while my esteemed colleagues Brigit Knecht, Diane Lane and Olena Kilchyk joined me (Liza Scriggins) in performing music from the American Quartet by Antonin Dvorak. It was a lovely crowd, and a great way to celebrate Christmas Eve!


Free concert Christmas Eve!

Looking for a family-friendly event on December 24th? Look no further: Knox Presbyterian Church and StoryMusic have come together to bring you a version of the traditional Christmas story alongside the American String Quartet by Antonin Dvorak. Hope to see you there!

Story Music Christmas Eve Poster final

StoryMusic @ Central Library, June 15, 2019

Our first public performance of Grounder’s Grand Adventure! We are grateful to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for making this possible, as well as to the Calgary Public Library for donating the use of their beautiful new Performance Hall, with helpful staff on hand to make everything run smoothly. We were too busy to count attendees to this ticket-free event, but it looked to be about two-thirds full in a hall that seats 336– not bad on a sunny June afternoon, on a shoestring advertising budget to boot! We hope to be able to present more free concerts in the future, so there are fewer barriers to hearing music that ignites the imagination and brings such joy.

StoryMusic @ Falconridge School, June 13, 2019

Thanks to the National Arts Centre’s Music Alive Program, we were able to present Grounder’s Grand Adventure to about 120 Grade 1 & 2 students at the Falconridge School, in two afternoon shows at their Learning Commons. Intense listening, and excellent questions! Many thanks to Assistant Principal Heather Scholz as well as the teachers and staff for hosting us— it was a such a pleasure to interact with the kids.

StoryMusic @ Heartland Agency, May 27-29, 2019

It was a delight to return to Heartland Agency’s Signal Hill location for morning and afternoon performances, as well as to perform for the first time at a couple of their other locations: Cornerstone Daycare and Mayland Heights. Staff were wonderful in organizing the kids and setting them up to participate in our presentation of Grounder’s Grand Adventure, some brought in from other locations as well, enabling us to bring live music to over 180 preschoolers. We were happy to hear one of comments passed down from a teacher there: “The children were so relaxed and regulated in the musical environment. It was a great experience.” Thanks to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for making all this possible!

Grounder’s Grand Adventure! June 15th


Please join us June 15, 2019 at 3:00 PM at the New Central Library’s Performance Hall (800 3 St SE, Calgary, Alberta), for the story of a Richardson’s ground squirrel as he finds his way in the world, set to the Dohnanyi Serenade for violin, viola and cello. This will be a free public concert, thanks to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts! Grounder’s Grand Adventure features narrator Samantha Whelan Kotkas, violinist Elisa Milner, violist Liza Scriggins, and cellist Olena Kilchyk. Audience members can meet the musicians afterwards and participate in an instrument discovery zoo.

We also look forward to performing this program for Create (the new Calgary Children’s Festival) on May 26 at 5 PM, as well as for children at the Heartland Agency’s various locations in late May.  So pleased Olga Cuttell could provide her stunning artwork for all this! See more of what she does at Oladesign.

Want to learn more about Richardson’s ground squirrels? Dr. Gail Michener at the University of Lethbridge has done extensive research and shares loads of information here:

StoryMusic concerts for CIWA @ the New Central Library Performance Hall




We are grateful to the National Arts Centre for funding morning and afternoon concerts for multiple programs run by the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association! Numerous people new to Canada heard Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, as well as other pieces and accompanying storytelling, and got to try out instruments afterwards at our petting zoo. Many thanks also to the Calgary Public Library for generously donating their gorgeous Performance Hall for the event! Support staff was wonderful– we had everything we needed to make the performances run smoothly. CIWA also put in a lot of work to organize their programs to be able attend. It was a great privilege to share what we love with so many new faces!

StoryMusic preconcert sessions @ CIWA

SMC@CIWA March 2019

How wonderful to meet everyone at the daycare/preschool program at Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association! It was our first visit there– everyone was most helpful. Thanks to support from the National Arts Centre’s Music Alive Program, flutist Lucie Jones and I were able to present morning and afternoon pre-concert sessions for the children, so they can get more out of the concerts the following week. We had fun playing excerpts from the Debussy, hearing what they thought it sounded like, playing some conducting/rhythm games, and making puppets for the concert. There are some very musical kids and grownups at CIWA!