A full house in the Centre 64 theatre enjoyed another interesting Homegrown music event last Saturday evening. Craig Hillman was the entertaining and informative MC.
The North Star Singers, 5 delightful young ladies, Marta Zeegers, Sarah, Haerper, Trista and Roisin, led off with 3 Christmas songs – Rudolph, Carol of the Bells and Christmas Sock Rock. Poor little girls, they didn’t get cool stuff for Christmas, only lots of colorful socks. Daniel Bailey ably played accompaniment on the ancient beat up Centre 64 piano.
Isaac and Gramps were the next act to charm the room. 54 years between Gramps Bill Cleland on guitar and harmonica and Isaac Vermette who’s been playing guitar for 7 of his 11 years. They gave us three Woody Guthrie songs. The first was Woody’s most popular song, This Land is Your Land. The next two were Dust Bowl songs, one new to the audience, This Land Is Flat and Cracklin’. (My chickens they’re a cacklin’ …. They been layin’ flint rock eggs). The first two verses were sung by Isaac and the last by Bill, with both on refrain. They ended with So Long It’s Been Good to Know You. Very enjoyable!
Two flute players, Jane Douglas and teacher Jeannie MacDonald, were a pleasant change in musical mood. They performed two dance sonatas from Gigue by Boismortier, the Theme from Fantaisie Melancolique by Mathieu-Andre Reichert with Jane on flute and Jeannie on piano, then both flutes playing Rogers and Hammerstein’s Favorite Things. Hard to hear that tune and not think of Julie Andrews. A brief Jingle Bells and they were done.
Bonnie Castle-Dison on hand drum and Ben van der Werf on guitar and harmonica followed with the first of two Neil Young tunes, Love and Only Love. They made it swing! Next was The Song of the Evening – (As long as we can..) Sail Away, with gentle guitar and drums, one complete verse on harmonica and lovely relaxed harmony. Last, they gave us a complex and almost haunting rendition of Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock, a big hit for Crosby Stills Nash and Young in 1970. It’s been said, though surprisingly she didn’t attend, that Joni captured the feeling and importance of Woodstock better than anyone who’d been there.
Intermission in the Gallery gave everyone a chance to mingle, see the wonderful Christmas show and partake of more of Carol Fergus’ goodies.
Lorna Locke then presented two donations from Homegrown. Cheques were handed to George Turcon of the Food Bank ($2,000) and Carol Fergus of the Kimberley Arts Council ($500) for the Give Us a Lift campaign.
Kaila Buchy, a very confident 15 years old and one of The Inferiors, opened the second part, singing and playing her guitar quietly and simply. She began with the 2016 country song Tin Man by Miranda Lambert. Second was Beautiful Dream by Lennon and Maisy. Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide (Even children get older and I’m getting older too) completed her lovely set.
John Gerlitz followed, with his very fine intricate guitar playing. First, two songs about love gone wrong, then a 1926 blues song from Ma and Pa Rainey, (I worry all day, I worry all night…) Yonder Come the Blues.
Two more Selkirk students followed. Drew Lyall ably entertained with two keyboard jazz pieces; Oscar Peterson’s Jazz Exercise No. 2, then his own unnamed composition. Lucy Fox sang in her clear fine voice (It’s just) The Way I Feel, by Asa, with Drew joining in the chorus.
The last performers of the evening were James Neve with guitar and Noah Wesche with shuttle pipe (smaller than a bagpipe); James called Noah a “local bagpipe phenom”. First was James alone on guitar singing his original song titled The Hammer and The Stone, a story of Joe Hill, a union organizer executed for murder in Utah in 1915. Then James sang two songs, with Noah on pipes droning quietly (Imagine that! Quiet bagpipes!), finishing with a veterans’ tribute, (where the brave will live forever) On The Road to Passchendaele.
MC Craig Hillman concluded another very fine evening by thanking all those who put these evenings together, including all the performers. Quite a mix of performers, from youngsters to high school students, all the way to retirees. A variety of instruments: six guitars, a hand drum, two flutes, keyboard, piano and drone pipe. Twenty-five pieces of music. Another great Homegrown. The next one will be January 20th.