Harmony Concerts Come to Perth! - theHumm June 2021
Harmony Concerts Come to Perth! - theHumm June 2021
By Kris Riendeau
Although this last year or so has been exceedingly tough on artists and performers, we are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. One very positive sign is the announcement of a new concert series taking place at Studio Theatre Perth! Organized by Ottawa-based Harmony Concerts, the series will open with Lynn Miles in late-June and continue right through to December with a fabulous line-up that features fiddling, folk, jazz, blues and more. We (very excitedly!) contacted Harmony’s head honcho Jan Fox to find out more.
theHumm: When I first saw your line-up I thought “wow – that’s ambitious!”, but then I checked out your website and found that you’re actually building on several years’ experience in bringing live music to Eastern Ontario. What made you decide to branch out to the Valley?
Jan Fox: Simply put, the Valley is rich in art and culture, and we felt it was a great place to complement what was already happening. We actually wanted to move into the Valley in 2020, but with Covid unknowns that spring it didn’t make sense. We also realized that going into 2021 would come with challenges, but we wanted to begin making it happen while following all guidelines set out by the Provincial Government.
Our move to Perth Studio Theatre specifically came when one of the supporters of the theatre planted the seed. That initial conversation blossomed into more discussions with Theatre representatives to secure a partnership to enhance music in the Valley.
How does partnering with Studio Theatre Perth benefit both parties, as well as the performers?
It’s a win-win-win! Harmony Concerts is presenting a diverse line-up of performers and events, and STP provides us a home-base to start branding in the Valley. We want people to see a presentation by Harmony Concerts and have the confidence it will be good, even if they don’t know the performer. We have been very successful doing this in and around Ottawa, Cornwall, Morrisburg and Brockville regions. It is a logical move to the Valley.
The performer may have no following in the Valley, but confidence in HC presentations will bring new followers to them. We also realize that people may have no idea who Harmony Concerts is or what we do, and some of our performers are well known to the Valley and across the globe for that matter. Those performers will draw a crowd because of their own brand, and patrons will then learn that Harmony Concerts presents great music and events.
Over the years the Studio Theatre has hosted occasional concerts, and people are starving for more. The reputation of the STP in the community is a win for both HC and performers, and we will work hard to give the people confidence in the music presentations there.
Running a successful multi-venue music promotion business has got to take a combination of experience and real passion. How did you first get drawn into the live music world, and what was it that prompted you to take the plunge and become a promoter?
It’s like a person becoming a veterinarian because they “love animals”. I love music and going to events, and I’m at a point in life where it’s time to do what I always enjoyed. Life is too short! I absolutely love what I am doing with Harmony Concerts — it doesn’t pay any of my bills, but it isn’t supposed to. This is about community for me — part of the community is the performers, part is the patrons, part is the people I work with, and part is the joy everyone feels when the show is on! It is 100% fulfilling. And to top it all off, I get to enjoy all of the events and amazing artists too.
I worked for a couple of years with some festivals and promoters around Ottawa. I learned a lot of things, including some things to avoid. But I thoroughly enjoyed the work and what it was all about, so I took the lessons — the good and the bad — and formulated something that seems to be working. There is no intention of ever becoming a large concert promoter. I do present some events in larger theatres in Ottawa and Cornwall (Susan Aglukark, Men of the Deeps, Sultans of String), but that is the max. I love concerts, but I prefer the more intimate settings where you feel like you’re part of the show rather than one of thousands. I want to give patrons that experience, so they really capture what the artist is offering.
Tell our readers a bit about the line-up of entertainers you are bringing to Perth.
We’ve got a great line-up planned — some of which may be rescheduled because of restrictions — but we will present them all in 2020. I wanted to kick the series of with one of Canada’s most awarded performers, Lynn Miles. She is well known throughout Eastern Ontario and of course the Valley. Nobody, I mean nobody, is ever disappointed after a Lynn Miles concert. She is not only an amazing musician, but also absolutely hysterical.
Some of the performers, like Heather Rankin and Catherine MacLellan, are performing in our series in Morrisburg, so I hired them to perform in the Valley as well because their music is appealing here and they are driving a long way, so why not give them a second night of fun!
Anna Ludlow is a “blow your mind” fiddler who was the principal fiddle player in the longest-running production of Come From Away. Lynne Hanson is so entertaining and part of HC’s “staple” line-up — she has been there from the start and I often bounce thoughts off her.
To add some jazz to the lineup, Kellylee Evans, Roddy Ellias and Pete Woods are three logical performers. Kellylee and Roddy perform together; Pete has put a trio together to perform an evening of wartime jazz favorites. These are amazing artists who deserve the stage!
I like bluegrass (as I am confident many in the Valley do), and one of the best bluegrass groups around is The Barrel Boys. These guys are amazing and two of them live in Smiths Falls.
In the series I do at the winery in Morrisburg, I was introduced to a performer, Marleen Fawcett, and it was clear that she had what any stage needs — great music and a keen grasp of her audience. She has been a regular for HC in Morrisburg and I know she will be a hit in the Valley. The Christmas show Marleen does with her band Mountain Breeze is really a great way to get ready for the season.
In addition to individual concerts, you are also launching the inaugural “Blues on the Tay” festival at the end of October. How will that differ from the format of your regular shows?
I want to premier a mini-festival called “Blues on the Tay” that I plan to expand to a multi-day, multi-venue outdoor event when larger crowds are allowed. I booked Suzie Vinnick to headline one night and Miss Emily another. Both of these women have had great impact across Ontario (and beyond) with their music. I sought out other great performers to complement the line-up, and Angelique Francis from Ottawa really caught my eye. And in Ottawa blues aren’t blues without Tony D, so that was a great addition.
This will be the first step to a larger event, one I hope becomes a staple in the Valley. This differs because people can buy a weekend pass, a day pass, or attend an individual concert.
For tickets and up-to-date information on this year’s Harmony Concerts in Perth, visit harmonyconcerts.ca .
Frank Sammut —Fine Wood Working - theHumm June 2021
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
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Harmony Concerts Come to Perth! - theHumm June 2021
By Kris Riendeau
Although this last year or so has been exceedingly tough on artists and performers, we are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. One very positive sign is the announcement of a new concert series taking place at Studio Theatre Perth! Organized by Ottawa-based Harmony Concerts, the series will open with Lynn Miles in late-June and continue right through to December with a fabulous line-up that features fiddling, folk, jazz, blues and more. We (very excitedly!) contacted Harmony’s......
Mom is On Your Shoulder! - theHumm June 2021
By Glenda Jones
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Go Jump in the Lake, Kids! - theHumm June 2021
By Sarah Kerr
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May 22 - Sep 5 Head Over Heels
Jul 12 - Sep 6 Eric Uren
Aug 2 - 31 Exhibit: Ghosts of the Highway
Aug 4 - 31 Jazz Night w/Spencer Evans Trio
Aug 15 Mellow Lily
Aug 19 Kobo Town
Aug 20 - 28 Richard Gill: 50th Anniversary Show
Aug 20 Eric Uren
Aug 20 C.R. Avery
Aug 20 Nolan Hubbard
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- A Midsummer Night in Perth Landscapes Interpreted Through Art and Fashion
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- Perth Garlic Festival
- 3 Galleries; 3 Shows
- Beautiful Art in Beautiful Westport!