Stone Poets

From Cherelle – Vancouver Island MusicFest

Stone Poets had the honour of performing July 8-10 Vancouver Island MusicFest After 2 long years of absence due to the pandemic, the festival was sold out and the attendees were ready for a weekend of world class music.

From the moment we got there, we were given the royal treatment. The volunteers handling the intake of cds was our 1st indicator of the level of organization this festival has. Friday night we had off and got to enjoy several of the acts that graced the main stage including our friends in Dirt Road Opera. On Saturday, we were involved in 2 workshops. The first one was Opening Songs and Encores. We got to share the stage with Colleen Brown and her band, Heartwood, Shaye Zadravec, HuDost. 13 performers, all with various instruments sharing a moment in time with a much appreciative audience. Each group sang 2 songs and gave a brief description of how we chose the song. At the end we did a rendition of The Weight … when they pointed at me to do a verse – yikes, I didn’t know the words to most of it so just made it up! One gentleman came up to me later and said that it made his whole festival – people were so nice. Later that day, the workshop was Songs from a Hat. As you can imagine, it was soooo much fun! If we are asked to come back next year, I would love to do this one again. It’s just as it sounds, the audience puts names of songs into a hat. We had the most amazing MC – Treasa Levasseur who I absolutely fell in love with, so talented and lovely. She was perfect! She would pick out a song or have one of the kids pick out a song and anyone in the group of the following artists including Treasa, Jeff Plankenhorn, Big Little Lions, Leeroy Stagger, Shakura S’Aida. Cloretta would stand up and sing it if they knew it. With all the artists including percussion and bass, there was around 15 musicians on stage. It got a little cozy. The sound crew on both stages were amazing. Not an easy task with all of us on stage needing something. It was awesome having everyone sing with each other, someone would take the lead if they knew the song, harmonies were sooo good – the audience was amazing. Songs from Wham, Elton John, Linda Ronstadt, Tears for Fears just to name a few off the top of my head

A little girl was asked if she wanted to sing a song and she did – it was the alphabet song and everyone on stage and the audience all sang along. That was a magical moment.

Sunday morning was our concert and we played an hour set to a crowd of smiling faces. Just having the ability to play live again for people is such a gift. I don’t ever want to take that for granted. The pandemic really made me appreciate how much live music means to people.

Hearing some artist’s original songs was so inspiring, every artist has a different way to express themselves. Beautiful!

After a 2 year hiatus, everyone is grateful live is back!

We had one more workshop, one that we facilitated ourselves called Harmony Singing which is right up our alley. It was so much fun, we sang some of our songs and chatted about harmony – this of course is Marc Gladstone‘s baby as he writes 90 percent of our harmonies for us.

Ferron – a Canadian Icon!

I had the honour of being asked to sing with a talented group of female artists, to form a choir and sing on one of Ferron’s songs at the end of her set. Thank you Treasa for including me. I don’t have everyone’s name except for Linda McRae and Kim Beggs …but everyone one was world class. We had a few minutes to learn the part, such a beautiful song and extremely moving “It won’t take long”. I’m getting goosebumps just writing this down! Thank you Ferron for this honour.

So many musical highlights for me, Matt Anderson, William Prince, John Boutte, Taj Mahal, Old Time Radio show with Jim Byrnes. There was other artists we wished we could have watched but our schedules didn’t work out. The Vancouver Island MusicFest is a world class festival, from start to finish. The organizers, volunteers all took care of whatever we needed. They fed an army of people, they transported our gear, they supported and cheered us on. The sound crew and stage hands – you all deserve so much recognition for all your hard work. Thank you! Shout out to Dave Devendisch (monitors) and Mike Sutcliffe (Sound) at Songs from a Hat. Doug Cox, we truly thank you for having us perform at your festival. It is an experience that I shall never forget. You brought people together to celebrate live music and to have an experience, to make memories. That is such a gift.

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