Stone Fence Theatre is planning an exciting concert of traditional old-time French Canadian music on August 4 at the Eganville Community Center. The headliner is button accordion virtuoso Gaston Nolet, who played to a full house in 2012 in Eganville, along with several other stars of Quebec's lively traditional music community.
Featured performers include frequent Pembroke fiddle contest finalists Yvon Cuillerier and Germain Leduc, who is also a keyboard wizard, the multi-talented Monique Jutras, and stepdancing sensation Jonathan C. Rousseau. The evening will be hosted by the company's producer, Ish Theilheimer, and its Creative Director, Chantal Elie-Sernoskie, a franco-Ontarian with strong musical roots in her community.
"Gaston is a remarkable instrumentalist, a wonderful individual, and a perfect representative of the button accordion style so unique to Quebec and French Canadians," says Mr. Theilheimer, himself a fiddler and longtime fan of the music. This year, Mr. Nolet, who lives in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, was awarded the Prix Aldor from L'association FolQuébec - a presitgious prize for promoting Quebec culture, joining the ranks of Gilles Vigneault and Les Charbonniers de l'enfer in winning. "Gaston is a very big name in this world and a delightful person and performer," says Mr. Theilheimer. "I never tire of listening to him, and I listen to him a lot!"
There will be lots of fiddling firepower at the concert. Yvon Cuillerier is well known throughout Canada's fiddling world as a performer and player, still going strong, recording CDs, winning prizes and playing gigs, including swing and gypsy music, at age 86. "Yvon has a beautiful style and is one of the strongest players I've ever heard," says Theilheimer. "I've seen him play non-stop for hours. It's what he does."
Also familiar to fiddle fans will be Germain Leduc, more than 50 years younger than Mr. Cuillerier and equally strong on fiddle, frequently winning top prizes in Pembroke and other contests, recording CDs, and performing and teaching about traditional music constantly. Additionally, he's a master keyboard player and trickster who also performed in the 2012 Eganville show, to the delight of the audience.
This year's concert includes a very special performer who is new to the local audience, Monique Jutras, of Montreal. "Monique is a charming and very funny and skilled performer, an amazing singer, and a great with bilingual and anglophone audiences," says Theilheimer. "In particular, we asked her to do the show with us because she performs the music of 'La Bolduc,' the pre-World War II singer considered by many to be Quebec's first singer/songwriter. Her upbeat, comic style included lots of "lilting" or "mouth music," with nonsense words that imitate fiddle music. Monique Jutras is accompanied by her bandmate Andrew Roblin, of Winnipeg, who plays hammer dulcimer, banjo and mandolin.
The party would not be complete without dancing, which is being provided by rising star Jonathan C. Rousseau, who has worked with prestigious artists in Quebec and internationally. Now, he teaches dance with several Quebec companies and is Artistic Director of the group Mackinaw. Mr. Rousseau has done choreography for several Quebec companies. In 2011, he co-founded the group La R'Voyure, with which he is Artistic Coordinator as well as choreographer and a performer.
MCs will be Chantal Elie-Sernoskie, Creative Director of Stone Fence Theatre as well as Mr. Theilheimer. Ms. Elie-Sernoskie was raised in Franco-Ontarian culture in Embrum, Ontario, and, as Stone Fence Theatre audiences know, is an accomplished singer.
For information or tickets, which cost $23 + tax, go to www.stonefence.ca or phone 613-628-6600 or TOLL-FREE 1-866-310-1004.