Dungarees lead off Stage North season

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Have you ever heard of the Dungarees? How about the James Murdoch Band? Maybe the ‘Going to Graceland’ show?

All these have Edmonton (by way of Whitehorse) musician and singer James Murdoch in common. And (drum roll, please), the Dungarees are the opening act of the 2019/20 Stage North Association Concert Series in Slave Lake.

The Dungarees were the band that played at the gala opening of the Legacy Centre a couple of years ago, to a jam-packed house. A year or two before that, Murdoch was the lead hand in the ‘Going to Graceland’ show, fronting a group of whizz-bang musicians who recreated the celebrated Paul Simon record in note-perfect fashion. That concert was pre-Legacy Centre, at the St. Peter’s Church venue. And the James Murdoch Band played the very first Stage North show.

Anyway, he (they) is back, opening the new Concert Series, on October the 26th.

Opening for the Dungies is Westlock’s ‘Hack.’ They’ve been on the bill before and one thing the organizers like about them is they bring a group of enthusiastic fans from their home town.

Ancient Carols

Lizzy Hoyt is the artist for show #2 in the 2019/20 season. It is entitled ‘Ancient Carols for a Winter’s Night.’ The daughter of Edmonton orchestra conductor David Hoyt (who has also performed in Slave Lake), Hoyt brings Celtic-themed music this time around, with carols, a bit of step-dancing thrown in and of course her renowned singing voice.

Stage North vice president Len Ramsey calls it a “hair standing up on the back of your neck voice.”

Hoyt performs as part of a trio; the show is on Dec. 1.

Andrew Lloyd Webber

No, not Lloyd Webber himself; It’s New York-based counter tenor Terry Barber, performing songs by the composer of Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera and many more.

“His range is remarkable,’ says Len.

Barber is apparently a pretty big wheel in the musical world. Nicola Ramsey says he was surprised – when booking dates in Alberta – to find out how small some of the communities trying to book him were.

“He had no idea of the kind of interest there was in small-town Alberta,” she says. “So he dropped his fee and extended his tour.”

Barber’s piano accompanist has played for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Nicola adds. The show is on Jan. 16.

Not actually from Slocan

Veering sharply into something completely different, Stage North presents the Slocan Ramblers on March 14. This is a bluegrass outfit from Toronto Ontario.

“Very lively!” says Nicola, who saw them a year or two ago at the North Country Fair.

“They were a lot of fun,” says Len.

Opening for the Ramblers is Slave Lake’s own The Drivers.

Jazzing it up

Next up is a show by ‘jazz evangelist’ Tim Tamashiro. His show is called ‘When You’re Smiling,’ and is a tribute of sorts to the jazzy crooners who made up the Rat Pack. I.E – Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin.

Besides the music, Tamashiro is known for the stories he tells between songs.

“He’s a super funny guy,” Nicola says.

It’ll be a trio, with piano, bass and Tamashiro at the microphone.

The show is on April 3 of 2019 and concludes the series.

Five shows is the fewest in a few seasons. It’s also the first season in a while with nothing in the blues line. On the other hand, Len calls this year’s line-up “extremely eclectic.”

Lizzie Hoyt
The Dungarees – coming to a stage near you.
Acclaimed counter-tenor Terry Barber.
Tim Tamashiro

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