Stellar St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage line-up

MORRISBURG – The St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage has a calendar of artists coming to its venue at Upper Canada Playhouse that is going to thrill music lovers of every type.

“We have a full line-up for our 2022-23 season,” said board president Sandra Whitworth. “After nearly three years with a compressed season, there are no more capacity limits at this time. It’s just wonderful to see a return to the ‘new normal’. We will be able to offer our audiences the chance to see and hear a wide variety of musicians and styles of music over the fall and winter ranging from rock, blues, singer-songwriters, Celtic, including fiddle and step dancing. The SLAS will again be presenting eight full shows. We are thrilled to be back.”

The volunteer SLAS board – Sandra Whitworth, Tony McCadden, Derek Hunter and Amanda Spink – have worked hard to arrange for some of the best performers in the musical world to come to Morrisburg. “The energy, the excitement of actually seeing a musician live on the stage is extraordinary,” Whitworth said, “for both the performer and for the audience. We feel with our concert series that we are sharing something we love with other people. I think that is part of why we volunteer to be on this musical board.”

The board members informally gather to talk about artists they have heard and seen, sharing their interests. They also gather suggestions and ideas from people who attend their concerts. “I also make a point of attending Musical Showcases,” Whitworth explained, “where I can experience a lot of acts in a compressed time. Seeing performers live is often one of the best ways to choose our concert series.”

And what a showcase of talent the Stage has planned.

Rocker Hawksley Workman, who was originally scheduled for 2020, is finally coming to town on October 15. (“We are still honouring tickets purchased for the original concert, but there are now some new tickets available on our website. We are also honouring refunds on those original tickets.”) Workman is a JUNO award-winner and Gold record singer, a versatile song-writer and multi instrumentalist. He has headlined in venues around the world, delighting audiences with his great vocals and his many smash hits. Opening for Hawksley’s show will be Australian Mikhail Laxton, whose debut collection, ‘Real,’ focussing on the power of love, has won praise from audiences and critics alike.

Coming November 5 is Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar, a stunning musical group: Samantha’s powerful, evocative vocals and the dynamic blend she creates with her back-up artists produces amazing, memorable, sometimes gospel-tinged songs. Samantha first appeared at the St. Lawrence Stage back in 2017, and audience members have been clamouring for her return.

January 7, 2023, the SLAS will hold its first Intimate Acoustics showcase in nearly three years. This showcase is an opportunity for up-and-coming artists to show off their talents in a warm and welcoming professional setting. The six performers for this show will be announced closer to the date.

Described by The Sunday Times as “one of the most thoughtful writers of his generation,” singer-songwriter Dan Mangan will be on stage on January 21. A two-time JUNO winner, with a huge and devoted fan following, he has toured extensively and released five studio albums in a style some call “post folk.”

AHI will bring the “raw power of his gravel-on-silk vocals and songs that are deeply introspective” to the stage on February 25. This versatile artist blurs the lines between roots, folk, pop and soul leaving audiences excited and utterly entranced. AHI’s music promises one thing: ‘You are not alone.’

Her voice is often described as reminiscent of Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell and, on March 25, artist Amanda Rheaume will bring those wonderful vocals to the stage. A performer for over 15 years, winner of a Canadian Folk Music Award for Indigenous Songwriter of the Year, her powerful songs make a strong statement about history and identity. She has released five full-length albums and won a devoted fan following.

An artist who crosses the boundaries, a “roots troubadour, a story-teller and a master guitarist,” Stephen Fearing, supported by the Danish Americana/folk music pioneers, The Sentimentals, themselves internationally renowned musicians and instrumentalists, will be coming to the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on April 15. He has released 13 solo albums in an astonishing career, taking home two JUNO awards, and 2017’s Contemporary Singer of the Year. His unique style, his fascinating vocals have made him “one of the best songsmiths on the planet.”

Rounding out the 2022-23 season, May 6, is the sensational Natalie MacMaster, with Donnell Leahy & Family. The popularity of the Fitzgeralds at last season’s Acoustic Stage concert led the board to bring another remarkable Celtic roots performer to the stage – and few artists are as remarkable and renowned as Natalie MacMaster. An extraordinary fiddler, whose husband Donnell comes from the Canadian stars, the Leahys, the two of them are regarded as Canada’s “reigning couple of Celtic music.” Winner of numerous musical awards and honours, Natalie MacMaster’s show will be a ‘full family’ performance of toe-tapping, heart stopping music.

Tickets for this incredible line-up of musical artists coming to the St. Lawrence Acoustic stage can only be purchased on line at the SLAS website.

“We hope that audiences will return to enjoy the wonderful experience that is live musical theatre,” said Sandra Whitworth and Tony McCadden. “We are an artist-centred musical series, and one of the reasons that we can continue to put on these incredible shows is because of the excellent funding support from the Canadian Heritage, the municipality of South Dundas, the Ontario Arts council and foundations, including the 5B Family Foundation. We have also begun a new outreach to local businesses who have long provided us with wonderful support.”

And the SLAS continues to be grateful for the ability to put their shows on in a welcoming venue like Upper Canada Playhouse. “Donnie Bowes and his staff are a joy to work with. They look after us, and look after our artists, ably meeting all the performance specifications in a way that only a professional theatre can do. The Playhouse is a wonderful performance space: the artists love it here too.”

The St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage is returning for a full and exciting live musical season in 2022-23. Don’t miss the opportunity to see and hear some of the best artists in the nation.

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