Canadian folk, in symphony form

Iconic songs by Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson and Leonard Cohen will get the sweeping Red Deer Symphony Orchestra treatment during a free outdoor concert next weekend at Bower Ponds.

Iconic songs by Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson and Leonard Cohen will get the sweeping Red Deer Symphony Orchestra treatment during a free outdoor concert next weekend at Bower Ponds.

“We’ll be doing tunes from the Great Canadian Songbook,” said RDSO director Claude Lapalme, who considers the performance at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 16, a gift to the community.

“We’ve been wanting to do this for several years,” added the conductor, who scored most of the orchestral arrangements himself. He added the concert, made possible through a provincial grant, is a big thank you for 28 years of support for the RDSO.

Cohen’s Hallelujah, Tyson’s Four Strong Winds, and a medley of Lightfoot’s Sundown, If You Could Read My Mind, and In the Early Morning Rain will be among the recognizable melodies performed by about 40 classical musicians.

One of the more contemporary selections the orchestra will tackle is If I Had a Million Dollars by the Barenaked Ladies.

An arrangement of Canada’s most recognizable French-Canadian song Mon Pays, composed by Quebec poet and songwriter Gilles Vigneault in 1964, will also be performed. With lyrics stating “my country is not a country, it’s winter,” the tune is almost anthemic in Quebec. In 1976, the tune for Mon Pays was reworked into the disco song From New York to L.A. by Patsy Gallant. This version, with its unrelated English lyrics, became an international hit.

Another global hit that will be played is Neil Young’s Heart of Gold.

Lapalme said he wanted to select songs from right across the country for the concert, but couldn’t manage (for reasons that include royalty payments) to secure any from the East Coast. He also intended to include a Joni Mitchell work, but couldn’t make it fit with the size of the orchestra on the outdoor stage.

Despite these omissions, Lapalme is pleased to present a program of music that stretches from the Western plains to Quebec townships. While there’s a sense of wistfulness or nostalgia in some of the tunes, particularly Lightfoot’s and Tyson’s, Lapalme noted this doesn’t carry over to the Barenaked Ladies selection, for example.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about it, but I couldn’t come up with (a common theme). This country is so vast, everybody is influenced by different regions,” said Lapalme.

He hopes Central Albertans will bring their lawn chairs to Bower Ponds and enjoy this musical gift from the RDSO. “An outdoors concert is never acoustically fantastic, but it’s very pleasant to sit outdoors and hear people playing live music. People like it so much. It’s a lovely thing.”

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Sunny weather improves farmers’ prospects

A harvester kicking up dust. It’s a picture that will bring a… Continue reading

Rural transit pilot project being considered

Penhold, Innisfail and Red Deer County councils to decide whether to go ahead with project

Red Deer fire station up for sale

Home sweet home at Fire Station 4

Most surveyed Innisfail residents give urban chickens the thumbs up

Town of Innisfail will discuss whether to allow backyard chickens on Monday

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Sky’s the limit as Calgary opens testing area for drones and new technologies

CALGARY — The sky’s the limit as the city of Calgary opens… Continue reading

Hi Mickey, ‘Bye Mickey: 6 Disney parks on 2 coasts in 1 day

ORLANDO, Fla. — Heather and Clark Ensminger breathed sighs of relief when… Continue reading

Court weighs ‘Apprentice’ hopeful’s suit versus Trump

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s lawyers hope to persuade an appeals… Continue reading

StarKist admits fixing tuna prices, faces $100 million fine

SAN FRANCISCO — StarKist Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony… Continue reading

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — The annual pace of inflation slowed more than expected in… Continue reading

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

CALGARY — A jury has convicted a Calgary couple in the death… Continue reading

Most Read