MORRISBURG – It’s going to be an amazing season for music lovers. The St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage has just announced its 2019-20 concert series at Upper Canada Playhouse.
“We are aiming to move our shows through all kinds of musical styles in 2019-20,” said SLAS president and artistic director, Sandra Whitworth. “We are all very excited about this season, where we are presenting diverse artists in fingerstyle, folk, progressive folk, some jazz, even a string trio. And our ticket prices for these terrific concerts are still substantially lower than elsewhere. It really is first rate entertainment at an affordable price.”
And what a line-up of outstanding concerts the Stage is offering this season.
First up, October 12, is Dar Williams, whose international fans are already beginning to snap up tickets to her Morrisburg show.
“Dar is a widely known artist,” Whitworth said, “and quite a number of fans are calling from the States. She is a singer/songwriter, a real story teller, who always establishes a warm engagement with the audience.”
Early in her career, Dar Williams opened for Joan Baez, and has since enjoyed critical and popular success with the release of several unique albums. Many of her songs have surged to the top of the independent folk charts.
“This is going to be a big show for the St. Lawrence Stage,” Whitworth said.
November 2, the SLAS welcomes the renowned finger-style guitarist, Maneli Jamal, an internationally known artist. He played at the Stage about five years ago, wowing audiences with his show. He brings to the stage music which reflects a wide variety of world experiences, and cosmopolitan influences.
“Maneli is just an incredible stage presence,” said board vice president, Tony McCadden.
Opening for Maneli on the 2nd will be Greyson Gritt, an emerging indigenous blues guitarist.
To add to the audience’s pleasure, Maneli will also be offering a guitar workshop during his stop over at Upper Canada Playhouse, an opportunity for interested people to study with a true master one on one.
January 4, 2020, will see the return to the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage, after a number of years, of the extraordinary singer/ song/writer and guitarist, folk artist Garnet Rogers.
Garnet got his start performing with his late brother Stan Rogers, then went on to establish a brilliant and acclaimed career, His music reflects influences from blues, rock, country/bluegrass and classical. Blessed with a deep and distinctive voice, Garnet possesses a warm sense of humour and easily establishes a rapport with audiences.
“People who have heard Garnet before will be thrilled to hear that he is returning,” McCadden said.
To add to that enjoyment, Connie Kaldor, a widely known folk singer and song writer, will be sharing the stage with Rogers at the January 4th SLAS show. Their concert will be exciting, engaging and one that “audiences will love,” said Sandra Whitworth.
When artist Stef Paquette performed at the Playhouse last season, he literally “blew audiences away.”
In that same dynamic, exciting, unexpected vein, Le Vent du Nord, five outstanding performers, will take the Stage by storm on January 18.
Their music reflects their Québécois roots, and the Celtic influences of Ireland and Brittany. The group has been nominated for multiple musical awards.
“Le Vent du Nord is a wild, active combination of banjo, fiddle and guitars,” said Sandra Whitworth. “They call their style progressive folk, and they possess the kinetic energy of Jaron Freeman Fox and of Stef Paquette. This is going to be a hugely exciting experience for our audiences.”
February 8 will see the return of the very popular Intimate Acoustics showcase, where six up-and-coming artists, including local performers, will present their original, and fascinating work in a professional setting. The line-up for this special show will be announced later in the season.
March 7, the Raine Hamilton Trio, which has won ovations at concerts and festivals throughout Canada, will be coming to the SLA Stage.
Winners of the 2018 Canadian Folk Music Award as Emerging Artist of the Year, the trio’s music has sometimes been described as “Chamber Folk”. The three musicians include bass, cello, guitar and violin in their repertoire, creating a sound that Whitworth describes as “ethereal” and utterly unique. They will be an exceptional addition to the SLAS concert line-up. (And just before their Morrisburg concert, the Raine Hamilton Trio will be at the NAC. )
April 18, The Good Lovelies, three women with “stunning harmonies” will take to the Stage for a striking and memorable concert. Juno Award winners, The Good Lovelies are a folk/country trio with overtones of pop, roots, jazz and maybe a little hip hop making up their striking sound.
They released the acclaimed album Shapeshifters in 2018, and have performed extensively in Australia and the United Kingdom as well as having a huge fan base in Canada.
Rounding out the Stage’s season of dynamic performers will be the one and only Hawksley Workman, in concert on May 9, 2020.
“He does everything,” said Sandra Whitworth. “He has an incredible stage presence, and frankly he puts on a killer show.”
Hawksley Workman is a noted Canadian rock star, singer-songwriter (and occasional actor) who has released 11 full length albums. His music has also been featured on such shows as Scrubs and Falcon Beach.
He is a multi-instrumentalist, whose music reflects jazz, alt rock, pop and glam rock. He is both critically acclaimed and has a huge international fan base.
“He has also written some beautiful songs,” said Sandra Whitworth. “Hawksley presents a riveting stage show. Audiences are going to be amazed.”
The St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage is an all volunteer board, who “run the SLAS for our community and because we love music. We want to share these wonderful artists with our community and our audiences. It’s a pleasure for us to see their reaction to the performers we bring in,” Whitworth explained.
Board members are Sandra Whitworth, Tony McCadden, Eric Pietersma, treasurer, Derek Hunter and Amanda Spink-Pietersma, members-at-large.
The SLAS, a not-for-profit organization is supported by a federal government arts grant, the municipality of South Dundas, the 5B Foundation and the generosity of local donors.
“The government of Ontario has not supported us this year,” Whitworth said. “We hope to see their support return in the future.”
Tickets for the outstanding 2019-20 St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage season are already available on line or by contacting Upper Canada Playhouse. Special concert series packages are also available.