Red Deer’s Bruce Jacobson performs at the Red Deer Public Library’s downtown branch Thursday. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

A night to celebrate ‘the Bard of the Yukon’

Bruce Jacobson’s ‘At Your Service’ performances raises money for Red Deer Public Library

Dozens of Red Deerians learned about a legendary Canadian poet with the help of a live performance Thursday.

Bruce Jacobson’s At Your Service performance combined live music with literary and visual arts in a tribute to the life and works of Robert Service, who is also known as “the Bard of the Yukon.”

“The question that keeps coming up for me is, ‘How did you get into Robert Service?’ … People ask why I admire him so much, so I’m going to explain why tonight,” Jacobson said before his performance at the Red Deer Public Library’s downtown branch.

Jacobson, 59, said he has always been fascinated by Service.

“He was a rockstar poet,” he said. “He’s a solitary walker, like I am … and there are so many little things Robert Service and I have in common. I’ve always gravitated towards his story and his art.”

READ MORE: An artist’s journey and Robert Service

Jacobson, who describes himself as an amateur expert on Service, said he designed his performance to have something for everybody.

“If you aren’t into the music, maybe the artwork will catch your eye. If you’re a literary person the poetry will capture you imagination,” he said.

The Shooting of Dan McGrew and The Cremation of Sam McGee are two of Service’s most well-known poems.

The performance was part of the Friends of the RDPL’s Let’s Talk About the Arts series; all proceeds go toward the library.

Anita Thomas, Friends of the RDPL secretary, said Jacobson’s performance was a perfect fit for the series.

“We’re trying to have programs on music, literature, and visual and performing arts,” she said. “Now we’re looking to combine (the three) so we’re getting … multi-dimensional.”

Thomas said she was happy with the turnout for Thursday’s event.

“Sometimes having a lecture series on the arts can be a hard sell. We learned over time if we include more than just the lecture and have the entertainment it seems to be more popular,” she said.

The next Let’s Talk About the Arts event is in October and will focus on public art in Red Deer.

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