One of P.E.I.’s newest groups, Treble With Girls, to perform at the Souris Show Hall on Oct. 6
Treble With Girls is a new musical powerhouse taking shape on the horizon.
The band members are solo artists, capable of taking centre stage.
Comprised of award-winning P.E.I. singer-songwriters, Maxine MacLennan and Jolee Patkai, guitarist/singer Norman Stewart and fiddler/singer Sheila FitzPatrick, the new group will perform at the Souris Show Hall on Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
“The music is a mixture of Celtic and country. We also have traditional fiddle and folk music, so we’ll throw anything in there,” says Stewart.
The high-energy group formed quite by accident.
“Jolee and I started singing around together last winter. We did a couple of benefits. We liked the way our voices sounded together, especially doing the harmonies,” says MacLennan.
Then, this past spring, Stewart, FitzPatrick and MacLennan attended Music Camp on the Canal in St. Peters, Cape Breton. When they weren’t attending workshops, they jammed together.
“We got along pretty well. So, when we got back, I made a call to Jolee, Norman and Sheila and invited them to come to a practice at my house one night. So that’s how it started,” says MacLennan.
That night was an eye-opener for Patkai, who watched the band take shape.
“I knew that Sheila sang a little bit but I didn’t know she sang as well as she did. She adds the third harmony and Norman adds the baritone to our song. We have stacked harmony, plus the traditional fiddle. The sound is incredible,” she says.
Several rehearsals later, the band’s moniker presented itself.
“We were messing around with a bunch of names. Maxine had a design, a treble clef. And we thought, we’d play on the word, trouble. So we thought, ‘treble with girls.’ It’s kind of catchy, “ says Patkai.
To add to the humour of the group, they gave Stewart the nickname of Trouble.
“And he didn’t get that name for nothing,” says Patkai, with a laugh.
But, Stewart takes the teasing in style.
“I’m outnumbered. As the only man, I have to defend myself a lot. But I don’t mind. I’m like a duck, everything rolls off my back,” he says, with a laugh.
As they roll out the program for Sunday’s concert, band members will each get their moment in the spotlight.
“We’ll showcase the harmonies, as well as everyone’s strengths. Norman will do what he does best, the folk tunes. We’ll showcase Jolee’s original songs and some of mine. And we’ll make Sheila sing as often as we can and perform some traditional fiddle tunes,” says MacLennan.
FitzPatrick, who previously played fiddle with the Celtic Ladies, enjoys singing with the new group.
“When we get on stage, the thing that stands out is the harmonies, the blending of our voices. It’s terrific, especially for people who have just started performing together. I also like the variety of material that we do,” she says.
FitzPatrick is also positive about the group’s future.
“”We’d like to establish a fan base on P.E.I. and maybe establish a show during the busy summer season.”
Sally Cole is a features writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054.