Centre 64 and another enjoyable Homegrown evening. Almost a full house in the Theatre again. Most of the nine skilled artists had performed at the first Homegrown evening 40 years ago! The relaxed (the wine helped) and amusing MC was Brain Depaoli, ‘born and raised in Kimberley’ and one of the founders of Homegrown. Apparently he likes groaner jokes, which we happily suffered.
Arne Sahlen recalled 40 years back sitting around a table ‘on this same stage’ with other artists of various disciplines discussing how to solve the problem of the recent BC government cutbacks to art support. (Sound familiar?) The solution was a regular fund-raising evening with local musicians performing, which became Homegrown. Then Arne precisely played six piano pieces. First was Cow-Cow Boogie (a Country blues tune), then That Lucky Old Sun (‘In honour of the late, great Bud Abbott’), a self composed Broken Arm Blues, played with left hand alone, for a piano student who’d broken his right arm and thought he’d get out of his lessons. This was followed by To A Wild Rose in honour of Alberta’s Foothills Hospital, which is presently caring for Arne’s brother. Next came Soldier’s Pass, a piece his brother Hans used to play. He ended with Nocturn: The Glass Menagerie, composed by Arne as background music for local architect Byron Olson,who directed that well known play at Centre 64.
Next up was Gordie Blake, a Homegrown regular, who began playing guitar 40 years ago. He very pleasantly played his guitar and pleasantly sang three Gordon Lightfoot tunes: If You Could Read My Mind and Circle of Steel (A week a day they will take it away…), then the song Beautiful ‘At times I just don’t know how you could be anything but beautiful…’, dedicated to his wife.
We were entertained by Sandra Roberts (who was with Centre 64 at its beginnings), playing her keyboard and singing the jazz vocal Scotch and Soda and Bette Midler’s version of John Prine’s poignant Hello in There. She then dramatically gave us a piece she’d only previously sung ‘for female audiences’, Boys Want Sex in the Morning; I leave the very amusing lyrics to your imagination. Sandra began singing at 3 years old; her parents were musicians. She sang for some years with Kimberley’s Lost Dawg Singers.
Regular Kimberley entertainers Van and Shelagh Redecopp on guitar and violin closed out the first half. Van sang solo Memories (artists Maroon 5) and How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You (James Taylor). Shelagh then joined him with her strong violin strumming and harmonic voice on Lyle Lovett’s If You Were To Wake Up (Would you gently smile, dear and whisper my name?) and the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby.
The Intermission social in the Gallery, with baked goods and juices, was again popular and the donations were for the Food Bank. The gathering was enhanced by the lovely artworks lining the walls for the Upscale Art Resale Silent Auction, which ends Dec 15.
Ben Vanderwerf opened the second act, quietly singing and playing his beautiful guitar. He performed three Bruce Cockburn pieces: Lovers In A Dangerous Time, Sail Away and Last Night Of The World (What would I do?).
Then a change of pace. Erwin ‘Butch’ Buchholze, who lived in Kimberley 1978-2002, joined in the founding meeting ‘right here’ and ‘closed the mine’, followed with several intricate and lovely Classical and Latin American guitar solos, including a Peruvian air. He was joined by his wife, Coral, in their rendition of (And I think to myself) What A Wonderful World, composed by Louis Armstrong.
MC Brian Depaoli called Carol Fergus on stage. Carol has been producing these events for a considerable number of years; she obviously enjoys the many hours spent to make these challenging evenings happen. She spoke at length, recalling many of the performers along the way, thanking all the many volunteers, and regaling the audience. She quite deservedly got a rousing and lengthy applause.
Bob Smith, who ‘was here at the inception’ was the final artist of the evening. He divulged that years ago he was a comedian but found he couldn’t make a living, and so became a singer/guitarist. He began with a quietly and easily rendered Vincent, a song by Don McLean and a tribute to the artist Vincent van Gogh, painter of The Starry Night. This was followed by When The Work Is Done ‘But friends are friends no matter what they do’. Blue Wing, a Tom Russell song, came next….’It’s dark in here, I can’t see the sky.’ The audience did not want the evening to end, so Bob obliged with an encore of Last Night I Had A Vision. His fine guitar playing and relaxed voice were a pleasing end to a very enjoyable night.
We’ll have to wait a while for the next Homegrown in January.