Change. That sometimes frightening and often exciting constant in all of our lives.
This year, there is much in my life that is and has been changing, especially in the month of December. Though the end of the year may seem far away to most, I think about it for a big part of the year!
For the first time, I will not be celebrating Christmas with my side of the family. Any French-Canadian, Manitoban-farm family knows that Christmas with your nearest and dearest is a pretty BIG deal. This got me thinking: what does this special season mean to me? What makes it so significant to so many? Is it the traditions, the food, the gathering of family and friends, the music and celebration? Or, is it possibly about the interpersonal relationships, the memories of Christmas past, the loss of loved ones, times of reflection and realization? What I have come to understand is that it can be all of this and so much more.
Christmas is so often filled with joy and happiness, but let’s face it, sometimes it can be a reminder of the less pleasant things in life. This is one of the many reasons why I love to play during this season. I want my audiences to remember the good times and I hope to help soothe the bad. I am so honoured to continue the custom of bringing beautiful music at this special time of year for all of those people who look so fondly upon this tradition and maybe for some who find it something of a trial.
As many of you know, I have been with the group Winter Harp for 10 years (wow, how quickly time flies when you are having fun!) but the full tour is not happening this season as our gifted director, Lori Pappajohn is taking a break for 2016. As a result, The Nadeau Ensemble was born and I am happy to say that we have eight concerts lined up for its inaugural Christmas season to bring music, love and joy to audiences.
This year, please come and join us in celebrating the season with:
I initially thought that I was going to do this as a solo show but then one day, I was speaking to Kim Robertson about my ideas. To give you a bit of the backstory, I met Kim about 7 years ago at a harp festival. I could barely speak when I met her as she was THE Kim Robertson, in the flesh. She has been a legend and a hero of mine since I was a kid, and she still continues to be. The second harp CD my mom ever bought me when I was a kid was hers! Most harpists can relate. I had the pleasure and privilege of touring with Kim for the last four seasons but this year, her December was open as well. Having her in the show is to have one of the world’s best harpists and arrangers on the team. Cue my happy dance. This is an opportunity that I never dreamed I would have had and I am so honoured to once again share the stage with her and to watch as she works her magic.
Listen to one of her beautiful arrangements of a classic carol, “Silent Night”:
Our dear friend, colleague and master of medieval instruments, Joaquin Ayala heard about it and jumped on the train… and then there were three!
I am now so excited to create a show that will hopefully make you feel like you are back in the living room of a loved one, surrounded by happiness, love and exceptional music. We will share the reasons why the season is important to us as individuals through a selection of our own little memories. Like in my family where we celebrate “Réveillon” which is our Christmas dinner served AFTER midnight mass. We still celebrate it to this day but one of my favourite memories is the first year I was old enough to stay up all night with the adults. I felt so special. Or one year when my Uncle literally got “the worst present in the world” which made everyone laugh so hard for what felt like half an hour. No one could stop laughing for long enough to even get a single word out, it was fantastic,
That’s an example of the memories that make up Christmas to me. What are your special stories? What are your new traditions?
So if you are around, please join us for this year’s “A Prairie Christmas” where we invite you into the living room of our memories and hopefully, also a place where we can help you create a new and lasting tradition for you and the important people in your life.
“The Nadeau Ensemble: A Prairie Christmas” concert dates:
Nov 24- Gibsons, BC
Nov 26- Burnaby, BC
Dec 1- Fannystelle, MB
Dec 2- Winnipeg, MB
Dec 3- St. Francois Xavier, MB
Dec 4- Gretna, MB- Buhler Hall
Dec 6- Winnipeg, MB
Dec 8- Winnipeg, MB- Club Regent Casino
For more information, please visit my event calendar here.
While Heidi Krutzen, (who taught me in my last year of my degree) is away playing in England with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, (so exciting!), I have the honour of filling in her very big shoes at the Vancouver Opera Orchestra for the 2016/2017 season which means that I get to play the Nutcracker this season with the GOH Ballet.
Check out their video for the Nutcracker:
“The Nutcracker” concert Dates:
Dec 15- 7:30PM
Dec 16- 7:30PM
Dec 17- 2:00PM
Dec 17- 7:30PM
Dec 18- 3:00PM
Dec 18- 8:00PM
Dec 19- 7:30PM
Dec 20- 7:30PM
So if you find yourself re-examining your Christmas this year, you are not alone. But do get out there, make new traditions, remember the old, and all the best to you and yours!