Jaunty jigs, rollicking reels, and lots of foot-stomping fun will be on the programme for the International Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming January Extravaganza, “Fiddles and Kilts.”
Performances will take place Friday, January 19th, 7:30 p.m., McMorran Theatre, Port Huron, and Sunday, January 21st, 2:30 p.m., Imperial
Under the direction of Maestro Douglas Bianchi, featured guests will include: North American Fiddle Champion Shane Cook with members of the Woodchippers; popular Celtic singer/songwriter/flutist Allison Lupton; and the ISO’s Pipe and Drum Ensemble, under the direction of pipe major, Tom Rankin.
Shane Cook and the Woodchippers are a collection of multi-instrumentalists, singers, and Canadian National Champion step dancers. The group has a deep foundation in traditional music, song, and dance of Ontario, with superbly crafted arrangements that add a modern and exhilarating approach to fiddle tunes and dance.
Woodchippers makes reference to the state of the floors after the dancers have had a go! Although it evolved from other forms of dance, including Irish step and American tap dancing, their unique percussive style looks and sounds like no other.
Many of the group’s fiddle tunes, songs and dances have roots tracing back to the lumber camps of Ontario, which have their origin in the music of Ireland, Scotland, Quebec and the bluesy sounds of the south. It is interesting to hear the group “explore” these regional styles in concert – from a Scottish fiddle tune picked up in Cape Breton to a southern waltz passed along from Kentucky, the group easily navigates through the various genres.
Each band member also contributes their own freshly composed tunes and songs; blending folk, roots, country, alternative, contemporary and jazz styles. The Woodchippers’ performances thrive on an exciting mix of dynamic musicianship, high energy, engaging stage presence, and a big dose of spontaneity and humour.
For this appearance with the ISO, members will include: Kyle Waymouth, step-dancer and guitarist; Mika McCairley, pianist and step-dancer; and Ailsa McCairley, step-dancer. Tunes will include: Buddy’s Picks, The Carnival Medley and the Allenvale Medley – all arranged by East Coast composer, Scott Macmillan; and originals by Shane Cook, including Waltz Clog and Reels.
Joining the Woodchippers for a special appearance will be popular singer/songwriter/flutist, Allison Lupton. Acclaimed Scottish musician Archie Fisher shared that “Allison Lupton’s balance of strong composition and sensitive musicality makes her a fine contemporary songwriter and interpreter of the tradition and the works of her fellow songsmith”. Her interest in music began in the rural Ontario community of West Zorra Township, where she learned to sing harmony in the church choir. She got her start playing folk music with the band Killiecrankie, which was regularly featured on CBC Radio’s legendary Max Ferguson Show.
Lupton has performed at various festivals and venues including Mariposa, Lunenburg, and CBC’s Vinyl Café. In 2008, she was honoured with a nomination in the “Traditional Singer of the Year” category by the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Most recently, her song “One More Day” was the English overall winning song in the 2015 Folk Music Ontario’s Songs from the Heart Competition. Lupton will perform several of her original songs, including: Over the Ocean and Where Oh Where My Rising Star.
A popular highlight of these evenings is the Pipe and Drum Ensemble, comprised of members drawn from throughout the area. This year, following their traditional ceremonial entrance, the group will be featured in Amazing Grace and a poignant arrangement of Auld Lang Syne.
This gala celebration will also feature the full International Symphony Orchestra in several selections, including: John Williams’ Far and Away; Weatherly’s Danny Boy; and other Celtic favourites.
Admission to “Fiddles and Kilts” is by subscription, or individual tickets, which may be purchased at the Symphony Office, 251 North Vidal Street, Sarnial McMorran Theatre Box Office, Port Huron; Port Huron Music Center, 2700 Pine Grove Avenue, Port Huron or by calling: (519) 337-7775 or (810) 984-8857.
Tickets may be ordered by e-mail – [email protected]
For more info visit the ISO website: www.theiso.org.
Tickets for the January 19th performance are $31 (US) for adults; $28 for seniors; and $8 for students.
Tickets for the January 21st performance are $39 (Cdn), $36 for seniors; and $13 for students (includes HST and theatre surcharge).