Stapling together a new concert series for an audience is no easy job. However, in the three years since programming presenter Caitlyn North has crafted Arden Theatre gigs, she’s scored big successes.
For the new season, North has added the Heritage Series, a three-part fusion of classic country, pop and harp. Developed as an intimate cabaret series, it will be held on three Thursdays at the St. Albert Community Hall. All are 2 p.m. matinee performances.
The series launches with the utterly captivating The Carolines on Oct. 22. The infectious pop-rock band Hoja brings some sparkle during the winter doldrums on Feb. 11 and classical-Celtic harpist Keri Lynn Zwicker eases us into spring on April 7.
“The Arden programming has offered some challenges. We have limited space to accommodate wheelchair and walkers. This was an opportunity to offer programming to people who might find access challenging and to provide programming for anyone not able to come to the professional series in the evenings,” said North.
Another key point is that the Arden Theatre hosts professionals with established careers that fill concert halls.
“One of the attractions of this series is that it allows me to work with local artists who are building their careers. Maybe at this point the Arden is too big for their audience, but this is a way to become champions for them as they continue to build their careers.”
The Carolines – Chloe Albert, Katie Perman and Lesley Pelletier – met in college and have sung together for a decade. The Edmonton-based trio last performed in St. Albert at the Arden Theatre 2015-2016 launch and blew away the audience with their easygoing prairie charm.
“They do classic country covers. Their three voices complement each other and harmonize so well. The catalogue they draw from (Pasty Cline to Buck Owens to Dixie Chicks) is so accessible, and I enjoy their audience banter. They’re such a good fit for our audience all-around.”
The Saskatoon-based Hoja is one of western Canada’s most sought-after a cappella groups. Their repertoire spans ’50s doo-wop through to R&B, disco and present-day rock and country.
Each member sings a variety of different voice parts including bass lines, lead vocals, tenor and baritone parts. In addition, their voices create instrument sounds such as guitars, trumpets, beatboxing, drum noises and assorted sound effects.
As a complete package they are loose, sophisticated and soulful.
“What makes them very good artists is the way they engage the audience. They’re very good and it’s not hard to like an a cappella group.”
The final performer, Keri Lynn Zwicker, first made an appearance in St. Albert nearly a decade ago playing relaxed harp instrumentals at St. Albert Centre’s food court during the Christmas rush.
Today the chameleon harpchick strings everything from Celtic to Classical, from Irish pubs to the Winspear Centre. Traditional folk songs, fiery jigs, blazing Latin instrumentals are all an offshoot of her classical training, while her quick wit and natural stage presence make her an audience’s top pick.
“One of the things I pay attention to is how recognizable her cocktail of music is at every performance. She’s about bringing in a successful performance each time. I’m a big fan of what she can do and there are not many opportunities to present a harpist at the Arden.”
All performances are 60 minutes. There is no intermission. Coffee, tea and treats will be served.
“It will be like a nice afternoon tea.”
Thursday, Oct. 22
Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016
Keri Lynn Zwicker
Thursday, April 7, 2016
St. Albert Community Hall
17 Perron St.
Tickets: $15 plus facility fee. Call 780-459-1542