The volunteer board of the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage is eager to present its outstanding 2013-14 season.
“This is the first year that we have been able to have our entire concert year planned from the outset,” said board member Derek Hunter. “The financial support we gained this year has allowed us to set up and publicize the full series of 10 performances.”
“I think people are going to leap to their feet cheering for the line-up at the Stage this year,” added board member, Bill Carriere.
The St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage is now an officially registered charity (able to issue tax receipts). Board members are both excited and grateful to have earned the on-going financial support of the municipality of South Dundas, as well as two years funding from Heritage Canada. “Fingers crossed, we should hear any day now from the provincial funding people as well,” said board member Sandra Whitworth. “We have also been utterly flabbergasted at the financial response we have had from our local business community. The sponsorship of area businesses has been priceless.”
In the 2012-13 concert season, the board saw a dramatic turn around in audience attendance after December. Audiences built to around 65-70 per cent capacity for each show, “very good news for us and for our funders, and for the future,” board members said.
Audiences are coming from the broader SD&G region, as well as from Cornwall, Ottawa and even from as far away as southern Ontario. Family groups are putting the Stage on their schedules: once introduced to the quality of the performers at the Stage, many young people are returning to other concerts, a trend the board is pleased to see. “We have an incredible mixture of shows scheduled, shows which will appeal to a wide range of tastes and ages,” said Whitworth. “The St. Lawrence Stage is for everyone.”
“I think there is a confidence in us now,” Carriere said, “a confidence from the public that we are going to put on good shows. We have a predictability in the level of talent we present: the performers are outstanding. People really know that they will be attending first class shows.”
There can be little doubt that a first class line up of artists is coming to the Stage.
Opening the season on September 14, is the phenomenal Shane Koyczan, who literally electrified all of North America and the world with his stunning piece in the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. “We have funding from the Eric Baker Family Foundation to thank for our ability to bring Shane here to Morrisburg,” Whitworth said.
Singer/songwriters Ian Sherwood and Coco Love Alcorn are bringing their exciting show to the Stage in October. “They play multiple instruments, including horns,” said Carriere. “They have a great, great sound!”
Artist Garnet Rogers will light up the stage in November. Rogers is regarded as one of the major folk talents of our time. He will be joined later in November by the big blues sound of the 24th Street Wailers, an explosive force on the North American festival scene, and recently featured, August 2, in the Ottawa Citizen’s Arts & Life section. In January look for the outstanding fingerstyle guitarist, Antoine Dufour, the Juno Award winning banjo playing of Old Man Luedecke in February and Chic Gamine out of Manitoba in March. With their Motown sound, and incredible four part harmonies, Chic Gamine was among the closing acts of the Vancouver Olympics. In April the band, Digging Roots, will bring the joyful energy of their hip hop, folk, reggae and blues sound to the Stage.
In keeping with their philosophy of giving up-and-coming artists a professional venue in which to perform, the St. Lawrence Stage will also present two Intimate Acoustics concerts in December and May, featuring future stars.
As they continue to bring extraordinary music and talent to South Dundas, the board is going through a bit of a re-orientation itself. Whitworth, Hunter, Carriere and Tony McCadden have been in conference with Peter MacDonald, manager of Chamberfest in Ottawa, “who worked with us on thinking through issues and ideas to ensure that we continue to exist and to grow. Even though we remain made up of volunteers, we are putting together a more professional approach to the Stage. We hope to attract more people to the board who may have different kinds of expertise.”
Currently, the sale of season’s passes for the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage’s 2013-14 season has been extended to August 17. Check at www.st-lawrencestage.com to learn of exciting ticket options, and to book concert passes.
It will be a great series.