Brandon Mindel was the Cat in the Hat for CSOPA’s production of Seussical the Musical in December.

Brandon Mindel was the Cat in the Hat for CSOPA’s production of Seussical the Musical in December.

Brandon Mindel: At home on the stage

A family that plays together stays together. For the Mindel family, truer words were never spoken. They are fully engaged as a family, especially when it comes to their involvement in the world of theatre.

From the time that Brandon Mindel was just a little tyke, you could tell that he was a special child. “He had a sassy spirit,” said his obviously proud mother, Lisa. He was evidently not shy and was filled with great humour; a real jokester to be sure. Lisa was quick to add, “His humour and his sense of humour come from his father. When he was a little guy, he loved to dress up and every pose was so natural. Even then you could pinpoint that one day he’d be in theatre.” He credits his kindergarten and grade one teacher, Mrs. Gemma Gillis, with encouraging his dynamic and artistic abilities. “I had Mrs. Gillis during my formative years and she was just the best,” he said with admiration.

During the winter of 2005, when Brandon was thirteen, he was invited by a friend to the Chilliwack School of Performing Arts’ (CSOPA) ‘bring a friend night.’ They hung out and played theatre games. By the spring of 2006, Brandon had signed up for theatre courses. He was hooked. “I have always wanted to be a stand-up comic. That is my long term goal. I enjoy making people laugh. I want people to be happy,” he said convincingly. Brandon also enjoys the thought of working on a television show. He enjoys the idea of having a plot change every week. “For me, in Chilliwack, musical theatre is the closest thing to what I’m interested in,” he said.

From then on, his resume reads like one of a well seasoned actor, having starred in at least fifteen on-stage presentations. “I was LeFou in Beauty and the Beast, Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka and most recently the Cat in the Hat in Seussical: The Musical,” he listed. He’s also taken extensive classes and workshops through CSOPA, in addition to studying voice for four years.

His mother, Lisa and father, Kevin have long recognized his passion and they have always supported his long-term vision. Sisters Megan and Emma have also taken to the stage and thus, the family dedicates the greatest majority of their time, to this art form. Kevin has owned Alliance Truss for the last nine years and his profession lends well to the role of lead builder for the CSOPA sets. Kate Whyte, who is a professional set designer out of Vancouver, designs the sets and Kevin, along with other volunteer parents, begin the building process. “For about five months, it consumes my life. It takes well over 2000 volunteer hours to build a set. At times, I’m working ten hours a day, six days a week. I take six weeks off of work to build them. Our latest set for Seussical: The Musical cost about $10,000 to build and the mountain was twenty-one feet high. I do love it,” he smiled. Lisa quickly added,” It’s certainly exciting and exhilarating to see the beauty that’s created by many hands. People do what they can and it really doesn’t matter how much time they give. Many hands make light work and it’s the fact that you give of your time, not how much of it you give.”

Brandon’s appreciation of music and movies is quite eclectic. He’ll go from watching silent movies one moment to documentaries the next. “It’s all an art form and I enjoy it all,” he admitted.

Currently, Brandon is enrolled at the University of the Fraser Valley’s two year theatre diploma program. He has also signed on with an agent and with his undeniable talent, drive, determination, dependability, artistic ability, a mature and articulate manner and an absolute passion for acting; it’ll inevitably lead to a part in a movie or television show in the very near future.

Once he graduates from UFV, his plan is to move to Vancouver to attend the Vancouver Theatre Sports League, an internationally renowned comedy improv school.  After that, he intends to move to Chicago to attend the Second City Training Centre, the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the world. “Mike Myers and all of the Canadian comedians attended there and that’s how they were picked to be on Saturday Night Light,” he said in a resolved manner.

In as much as Brandon possesses a talent for acting, he’s also very real. He doesn’t go through life in character. His family keeps him grounded; something that he’s thankful for. He’s also appreciative for their support and dedication. “My dad has never missed any of my performances. Not many parents do that.” They buy their tickets, almost as soon as they go on sale, and they sit front and center. Kevin becomes the professional clapper while Lisa has assumed the cheering role.

Brandon has also seen recent affirmation of his skill. He took a gold medal in 2009 at the Lions Music Festival, two gold medals and the musical theatre comedy trophy at the Festival’s 2010 awards presentation and most recently MVP honours after the Seussical: The Musical presentation.

“The dedication and devotion that Brandon has given to his craft and CSOPA has kept him on the straight and narrow. He’s been absolutely amazing through his adolescent changes because he desires something for his life. The work ethic and dedication that these kids show is nothing short of phenomenal,” said Lisa.

Just Posted

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack woman’s 100-km birthday marathon to benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

RCMP investigating June 15, 2021 crash. (Black Press file)
Chilliwack RCMP say crash into median led to impaired driver investigation

Chrysler 300 driver allegedly collided with tree on Spadina median in June 15 incident

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read