Friday, December 21, 2012
Huron Carole Calgary 2012
The Friday Morning "Nobody-Asked-Me-To, But-Here-I-Go-Anyway" Concert Review:
The Huron Carole
Jack Singer Concert Hall
Dec 20, 2012
After years of enjoying the televised broadcasts of this seasonal concert event (and even more years of inexplicably missing it whenever it was in my area), last night we finally got to experience the live version of this worthy undertaking that host Tom Jackson has brought back to Canadian stages.
To quote the souvenir program, "The Huron Carole is a project of the Christmas & Winter Relief Association whose mandate is to support organizations doing hands-on work with the homeless and hungry in Canada".
That Mr. Jackson has decided to re-stage this series again indicates that we may not be as far out of the recession as we continue to hear. The program opens with the statement that food bank use is on the rise in Canada. So a sold-out concert hall helped just a little bit in the mission of this benefit, and for their recipients.
The audience gathered was certainly the recipient of some of Canada's finest talent. I have been a fan of each of these artists on the stage last night, and was looking forward to seeing many of them live for the very first time.
With his genial manner and great sense of humour, Mr. Jackson set the stage to quietly open the show, and introduce Susan Aglukark. If there is a more perfect voice, please provide me with evidence. In her far-too-short performance, Ms. Aglukark sounded and appeared like she walked right out of a frame of her breakthrough "O Siem" video - released back in 1995!! A song she performed last night, by the way...
Following next was retro crooner Matt Dusk. We've had his Christmas album for years, and right out of the gate he brought "Cool Yule" out to set the tone for his holiday renditions. A little trouble with the microphone cutting in and out, but the Jack Singer is a hall that affords forgiveness - evidenced by his sing-a-long holiday classics without the faltering mic. One cool cat, Mr. Dusk...
Having heard some Sarah Slean beforehand, it was no surprise to hear her lush vocals bring Christmas standards to life. A new original selection from her latest album "Land & Sea" promptly sent me over to the merchandise table during the break. I'll be slipping those discs into the player later today...
To close the show, Tom Jackson took over for the second half, with an actor's command of the stage, and what could be some of the corniest gags you may ever hear (and laugh at anyway). Of course, if you read my daily Tweets, then who the heck am I to be casting aspersions here?
His version of The Huron Carole remains for me the second most profound song of the season I have heard (the first most profound I wrote about here back on Dec. 16th). As he invited the rest of the performers back to close the show with a graceful A cappella version of Silent Night, it's not hard to appreciate why this event sells out.
Not so long ago, by a twist of fate we almost needed the service this concert series supports. Thrilled to say that now not only were we able to support the effort by buying tickets to the show, the two bags of groceries we brought along are recognition that hunger and homelessness doesn't take the holidays off. And that anyone can be affected.
Hey, find out more about each of these artists (and the Huron Carole event) at:
(and in order of appearance)
Incidentally, when I had the chance to visit the artists after the show, I mentioned to Tom Jackson that the last time I had seen him live, it was in Winnipeg, and I bought a cassette tape album of his. A CASSETTE TAPE!!
I still have it, by the way.