encoreNOW – April 15, 2024

Superb musical storyteller Valdy in Bancroft, The Fretless brings its award-winning folk/roots strings sound to Lakefield, Port Hope's Capitol Centre celebrates its upcoming season, and more

Left to right, top and bottom: The Fretless, Valdy, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, The Canterbury Tales, Matthew Good, Charlie Petch, and the Capitol Theatre Red Carpet Gala. (kawarthaNOW collage)
Left to right, top and bottom: The Fretless, Valdy, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, The Canterbury Tales, Matthew Good, Charlie Petch, and the Capitol Theatre Red Carpet Gala. (kawarthaNOW collage)

encoreNOW is a bi-weekly column by Paul Rellinger where he features upcoming music, theatre, film, and performing arts events and news from across the Kawarthas.

This week, Paul highlights a Canadian folk/country music legend’s upcoming Bancroft performance, a fun take on The Canterbury Tales at Bobcaygeon’s Lakeview Arts Barn, the appearance of Juno Award-winning The Fretless at Lakefield’s Bryan Jones Theatre, Matthew Good in concert at Showplace, Charlie Petch’s No One’s Special At The Hot Dog Cart at Market Hall, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque’s Internationaj Jazz Day show in Peterborough, and the Red Carpet Gala Celebration at Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre.

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Venerable Valdy brings his musical storytelling magic to Bancroft

There are many ways you can spend $27 and change, but forking it over to experience the music and storytelling of a Canadian folk/pop music legend is a pretty tempting option.

Since launching his solo career in the early 1970s, Valdy — born Paul Valdemar Horsdal in Ottawa — has firmly established himself as one of the country’s most influential songwriters. That’s been verified via seven Juno Award nominations, with two award wins as Folk Singer of the Year and Folk Entertainer of the Year, and four gold albums.

VIDEO: “(Play Me A) Rock and Roll Song” – Valdy

Further to that, Valdy’s signature song, “(Play Me A) Rock and Roll Song” has been recorded by more than a few artists; his “A Good Song” was recorded under the title “I’m A Man” by the great Quincy Jones.

Still touring extensively at age 78, Valdy’s concert at the Bancroft Village Playhouse on Friday, April 19th is one of his 13 performances this month. Truth be known, there are few stages in this country that Valdy hasn’t stepped upon at some point in the past 50 years.

Tickets to Valdy’s 7 p.m. Tweed & Company Theatre-presented performance cost $27.50 plus tax at www.villageplayhouse.ca/valdy. As the date of this column, only a handful of tickets are left.


Chaucer’s epic work receives some fun treatment in Bobcaygeon

Written by Geoffrey Chaucer more than 600 years ago, The Canterbury Tales is a collection of 24 stories encompassing more than 17,000 lines of mostly verse, but some prose too.

Fortunately for them, 13 young actors with Globus Theatre’s Youth Winter Arts Program haven’t been called upon to memorize and deliver all those lines. Rather, on Friday, April 19th and Saturday, April 20th at the Lakeview Arts Barn on Pigeon Lake Road in Bobcaygeon, they’ll present a much more manageable take on the 14th-century work adapted for the stage by Lindsay Price.

Under the direction of Rebecca Anne Bloom, this group of travellers, making the trek from London to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Beckett at Canterbury Cathedral, pass the time and miles by holding a storytelling contest. Bloom describes what ensues as being “very Monty Python-esque.”

Young actors with Globus Theatre's Youth Winter Arts Program will before a stage adaptation of "The Canterbury Tales" on April 19 and 20, 2024 at the Lakeview Arts Barn in Bobcaygeon. (Poster: Globus Theatre)
Young actors with Globus Theatre’s Youth Winter Arts Program will before a stage adaptation of “The Canterbury Tales” on April 19 and 20, 2024 at the Lakeview Arts Barn in Bobcaygeon. (Poster: Globus Theatre)

Showing their adaptability, the young actors portray a combined 30 characters. Costume changes abound, as does laughter and adventure and even some dance numbers. There’s a lot going on here.

Part of Globus Theatre’s School of Dramatic Art (SODA), the Youth Winter Arts Program began last year as a pilot program. Hats off to administrators of the Bobcaygeon Legacy C.H.E.S.T. fund, the support of which allows youth to participate in the program free of charge.

Tickets to either one of the 7 p.m. performances cost just $10 plus tax at www.globustheatre.com/soda-home or phone 705-738-2037 to order.

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The Fretless brings its awarded folk/roots strings talent to Lakefield

Since forming more than 40 years ago, Performing Arts Lakefield has stayed true to its goal of presenting an eclectic selection of world-class entertainment.

On Sunday, April 21st at Lakefield College School’s Bryan Jones Theatre, that mission will remain fulfilled when The Fretless, a Juno Award-winning folk/roots string quartet, headlines Performing Arts Lakefield’s second-last concert of the season.

VIDEO: “My Moon My Man” – The Fretless featuring Madeleine Roger

Since releasing its debut album in 2012, The Fretless has not only claimed Juno Award success — it won a statue in 2017 for Instrumental Album of the Year — but has also taken home a suitcase full of honours from the Canadian Folk Music Awards. That momentum continued in 2022 with a Juno Award nomination for 2022’s Open House that features several guest artists.

Performing Arts Lakefield has scored quite a coup in securing for its program a quartet that has performed in Cologne and Luxembourg, toured Europe six times, and even performed Down Under. It’s a given that Trent Freeman (fiddle/viola), Karrnnel Sawitsky (fiddle/viola), Ben Plotnick (fiddle/viola), and Eric Wright (cello) will deliver a performance that will stay for a long time with those who come out.

Joining The Fretless will be Winnipeg singer-songwriter Madeleine Roger, who will follow up her critically acclaimed debut album Cottonwood with her sophomore release Nerve this August.

Tickets to the 3 p.m. concert, at $40 ($15 for students) are available at performingartslakefield.org/tickets.


Alt-rocker Matthew Good remains a huge draw after all these years

There are many very good reasons to catch a concert at Showplace in downtown Peterborough, but for fans of Matthew Good’s work, initially as the front man of The Matthew Good Band and as a solo artist since then, that he’s going to be on that stage on April 23 is reason enough.

A native of Burnaby, BC, Good was lead singer and songwriter for The Matthew Good Band — still one of Canada’s most successful alt-rock bands — through the 1990s into the new millennium. When the band folded in 2002, Good went his own way and fashioned a remarkable second music life — one that brought him four Juno Awards garnered from 21 nominations in total.

VIDEO: “Men At The Door” – Matthew Good

Meanwhile, signature songs such as “Weapon,” “In A World Called Catastrophe,” “Alert Status Red,” “Born Losersm” and “Last Parade” continue to enjoy heavy radio airplay. His latest album, 2022’s Moving Walls, prompted one reviewer to opine that Good has filled “the shoes left vacant by Leonard Cohen.” That’s a pretty good endorsement.

At age 52, Good, whose lyrics have consistently given a voice to whom he sees as the under-represented, still has to plenty to say and we’re still more than willing to listen.

Note: Tickets to Good’s full-band concert, which will also feature guest Vilivant, an alt-rock singer-songwriter inspired by artists like Good back in the day, are sold out. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. Keep an eye on social media for tickets that will inevitably pop up. You might just get lucky.

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Hot dog cart experience has a story to tell courtesy of Public Energy

Spawned in 2003 from Peterborough New Dance that formed in 1994, Public Energy has brought to the stage more than 2,000 artists of various disciplines, mounted more than 500 events, and put more than 50,000 bums in the seats. If that’s not success, nothing is. Bill Kimball et al, take a bow.

Not resting on its laurels, the performing arts presenter is bringing an original work to Market Hall Performing Arts Centre on Wednesday, April 24th in the form of No One’s Special At The Hot Dog Cart — the final show of Public Energy’s 2023-24 season.

VIDEO: “No One’s Special At The Hot Dog Cart” trailer – Charlie Petch

Written and performed by award-winning playwright, author, and spoken word performer Charlie Petch — a former Peterborough resident now based in Toronto — and directed by Adam Lazarus, it’s a collection of true stories from the past as experienced by a 9-1-1 operator, hospital bed allocator, emergency room clerk, and street worker.

Sharing their personal account of working hot dog stands in Toronto, Petch, as a witness to life on the street, shares tales rooted in survival and kindness.

“Everything I needed to know about emergency response, I learned as a teenage hot dog vendor in downtown Toronto,” Petch says during the performance.

No One’s Special At The Hot Dog Cart had its world premiere in March at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille. It’s gritty and honest in a tell-it-like-it-is way, with its depictions of violence, strong language, and sexual content. But Public Energy has never been afraid to push the boundaries and that remains something that audiences have appreciated most over the years.

As with all Public Energy shows, tickets to the 7:30 p.m. performance are sold on a sliding pay-as-you-can scale ranging from just $5 to $50 at markethall.org.


International Jazz Day Peterborough welcomes Jane Bunnett and Maqueque

With International Jazz Day again be marked April 30, local fans of the genre, and those looking for an introduction, have the opportunity to celebrate early when Jane Bunnett and Maqueque headline at Market Hall in downtown Peterborough on Friday, April 26th.

In securing this concert, the local Jazz Day organizing committee has scored huge. A five-time Juno Award recipient with three Grammy nominations as a side dish, the soprano saxophonist and flautist has received for her work, among other honours, the Order of Canada, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Premier’s Award for Excellence. The Toronto born Bunnett’s fireplace mantle is pretty full.

VIDEO: “Tomorrow” – Jane Bunnett & Maqueque

Fronting the all-female Cuban band Maqueque for this show, Bunnett is continuing her mission of mentoring and recording young and brilliant Cuban female musicians.

So far that has paid a huge dividend in the form of Maqueque appearances at major jazz festivals in Newport and Monterey as well as a Grammy nomination for 2016’s Oddara, with 2023’s Playing With Fire the band’s newest release.

This isn’t your grandfather’s jazz. It’s over-the-top energetic and vibrant, attracting new audiences while satisfying a hunger for something new for longtime fans of the genre. As a bonus, Peterborough’s very own Carling Stephen and Rob Phillips are taking a break from their regular Black Horse stage to open the 7:30 p.m. concert. Tickets cost $36 online at markethall.org.

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Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre celebrates upcoming season with gala event

Celebration will be the order of day on Saturday, April 27th at Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre as the venue pull out all the stops a sneak preview gala of its upcoming new season.

You’ll read more about future shows in kawarthaNOW as they near, but the Red Carpet Gala Celebration is the focus now and rightly so.

Hosted by audience-engaging Layne The Auctionista, the big night out features musical performances by the likes of Melissa Payne, Jimmy Bowskill, and Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor, a sampling of the theatre’s Billboard In Concert series, an early look at set designs for four upcoming summer shows, an auction of props and costumes from previous productions, and strawberries and champagne.

VIDEO: “Share The Love” – Greg Keelor

That’s a lot and, at $100 for a ticket, a lot costs a few bucks but keep in mind this is a fundraiser for the historic theatre that has, over centuries, been a community hub as much as it has been an entertainment venue.

So dress up in your finest and join the 6 p.m. party. A fun time awaits. For tickets, visit capitoltheatre.com.



Washboard Hank and Reverend Ken reprise their musical novelty act from the 1970s at the Stone Hall in Havelock on April 28, 2024. (Facebook photo)
Washboard Hank and Reverend Ken reprise their musical novelty act from the 1970s at the Stone Hall in Havelock on April 28, 2024. (Facebook photo)
  • While she didn’t return home from St. John’s, Newfoundland with a coveted statue from the recent Canadian Folk Music Awards, Amelia “Irish Millie” Shadgett says the experience alone was worth the long trip with her dad and acoustic guitar accompanist Murray. Social media lit up with tons of messages of support for Millie both before and after the awards. Many are disappointed her third nomination as Young Performer of the Year remains a nomination but the consensus is, and rightly so, that her time is coming, maybe as soon as next year’s awards ceremony in Ottawa.
  • Patrons of the Black Horse are breathing a huge sigh of relief over the place that live music still has a home at the George Street pub. When former owners Desmond and Maria Vandenberg listed the property for sale last summer, there was a fear the eventual buyer would put a stop to the music in favour of something different. Not to worry. New owner Sajen Ganeshalingam has maintained the status quo, clearly recognizing the value in doing so in a city where live music venues have closed with alarming frequency since before he pandemic. Good on him. If it ain’t broke, don’t mess with it, right?
  • For four decades now, “Washboard” Hank Fisher and “Reverend” Ken Ramsden have done their thing off and on, performing their unique brand of music, from classical to bluegrass gospel to everything in between. The term “treasure” is often overused but these guys are uniquely ours, their ambassadorship on behalf of the Peterborough music scene having been extended across Canada. On Sunday, April 28th from 2 to 4 p.m. at Stone Hall on the 6th Line of Belmont in Havelock, the pair will do their thing. Tickets cost $20 advance at universe.com/shs0428.