Sage Sound singers and guests celebrate Canadian music

Jenny and the Gents and the Desert Bells Handbell Choir join the choir’s spring concert.

Canadian singers and songwriters have created many classic pieces of music over the decades; and the Sage Sound Singers are celebrating that legacy with their spring concert “Made in Canada: A Tribute to Canadian Music”. The concert features 18 pieces, some of which will be familiar to concertgoers and a few that will be new to the ears of many, as well as some special guests.

Musical director and conductor Michelle Reid says that the idea for a concert featuring Canadian music was suggested by long-time choir member Ken Platz after last spring’s hugely successful “Tribute to Broadway” concert. “Ken suggested that we do some Canadian music, so I thought ‘Okay’ and decided on it right after the Broadway concert,” says Reid. “It’s still the 150th year of Canada’s confederation, so we thought it was still appropriate.”

When Reid went looking for suitable pieces, she says that she was surprised by the lack of good choir arrangements for many songs. She has ended up using many of the arrangements done by Larry Nickle, who Reid calls an amazing arranger.

The songs chosen span almost the entire country, from the Maritimes and Quebec through Ontario and the Prairies to B.C. Among the songwriters featured are Buffy St. Marie, Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Cockburn, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young, and there will be solos, duets, pieces featuring only the male singers and only the women, as well as a capella selections and of course pieces featuring the entire Sage Sounds Singers choir, which features some new faces this year.

“It’s a really gorgeous variety,” says Reid. “And there are some very challenging songs in terms of tempo and dynamics. I think the audience will find this is a different type of concert.”

The choir will once more be accompanied by Kamloops pianist Dimiter Terziev. “We couldn’t do it without him,” says Reid. “We wouldn’t have the calibre we do without Dimiter.” The concert will also feature some special guests, with local band Jenny and the Gents performing songs by Nickelback, The Tragically Hip, and Amanda Marshall, and the Desert Bells Handbell Choir performing four pieces.

“The choir has worked so hard this year,” says Reid. “We had a few more rehearsals, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the professionalism of the choir members. They’re so brave, and will try new things.” The choir has a very strong men’s section at the moment, and Reid says that when she starts recruiting for the fall she will be particularly looking for more women, although anyone interested is welcome to contact Reid at (250) 457-0701.

“Made in Canada: A Tribute to Canadian Music” will be at the Ashcroft HUB on Saturday, May 5 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, May 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance ( or at the door, and refreshments will be served at the intermission.

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