A young Queensborough musician is in the spotlight at this year’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
The Artists in the Boro group hosts the event in the Port Royal Community Garden every year as part of the New West Cultural Crawl.
It includes an Art in Bloom art display, kids’ art activity area, and a sumptuous tea featuring sandwiches and goodies – plus the chance to design, decorate and take home a hat, with help from the on-site volunteers. Each year also includes live music to accompany the tea – and this year’s performer is AJ (Aiden Julius) Wong.
AJ is a 15-year-old Grade 9 student living in Queensborough. The multi-instrumentalist – he plays the alto saxophone, piano and drums – will bring his jazz sounds to the garden for this year’s event.
He may be young, but he’s a highly experienced musician who’s in the senior jazz band, concert band and other ensembles at his high school, Matthew McNair Secondary in Richmond. He’s an award-winning honour roll student who’s currently enrolled in the McNair Mini School, an enriched program for motivated students in grades 8 through 12.
Outside of music and school, the well-rounded AJ is also a karate student, par of Chito Ryu Yuseikan Traditional Karate Dojo, who has competed in tournaments including two world championships. He’s also an outdoors lover who pursues camping, biking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and paddle-boarding.
Not only that, he manages to hold down two jobs: working for Tom Lee Music as member of its promotional street team, and delivering the New Westminster Record (more than 200 copies a week).
Shining a spotlight on promising young talent like AJ is part of what the New West Cultural Crawl is all about, says Karen Justice.
Justice, who’s with Artists in the Boro and is also the gallery coordinator for the Arts Council of New Westminster, notes it’s the first year they’ve had a jazz musician as part of the Mad Hater’s Tea Party.
Having live music, she notes, is an important part of the Cultural Crawl’s mission to help celebrate and promote all art forms.
“That’s why we like to have live music at this event every year,” she says. “It just kind of expands the art window.”
You can catch AJ – and enjoy the tea – at the Port Royal Community Garden (83 Star Cres.) on Sunday, Aug. 11 from noon to 3 p.m. (For visiting mainlanders, the garden is a short stroll from the Q2Q ferry dock, so you can leave the car at home.)
For more on all the Cultural Crawl events, see www.newwestculturalcrawl.com.