P.E.I. singer-songwriter Lennie Gallant excited about performing with the PEISO at the Confederation Centre of the Arts on Oct. 20
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P.E.I. singer-songwriter Lennie Gallant returns to the Confederation Centre of the Arts on Oct. 20 to perform some of his favourite songs with the P.E.I. Symphony Orchestra. The concert starts at 2:30 p.m. The concert will also feature the new music director, Mark Shapiro, who was the guest conductor for the P.E.I. Symphony concert in February.
When Lennie Gallant steps up to sing his signature song, The Band Kept Playing, at the Homburg Theatre of the Confederation Centre of the Arts on Oct. 20, he won’t need to ask audience member to imitate the horn section.
He’ll have his own.
That afternoon, the award-winning Island singer-songwriter and his band will be the special guests of the P.E.I. Symphony Orchestra (PEISO). And he can’t wait.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be fantastic,” said the Rustico, P.E.I., native, during a telephone interview from Halifax.
The idea of performing on stage with a musical powerhouse behind him is thrilling.
“I’ve only played with the P.E.I. Symphony once before. But I remember it very well. Brian Ellard was the conductor. I didn’t expect it to be as a profound experience as it was. But, Brian did such a masterful job that the symphony was totally in the pocket. It was such a passionate concert. We were all very pumped by it,” says Gallant, who begins rehearsals with the PEISO tomorrow.
If all goes well, he’s hoping to fit eight of his songs into the program.
“It depends on the amount of time we have to rehearse. When you’re performing with a symphony orchestra, it’s hard to find rehearsal time because there are so many people involved,” says Gallant.
Concertgoers can expect to hear, among others, Peter’s Dream, Island Clay, Extraordinary Life, as well as a new song, not yet recorded.
It’s the third time in recent days that Gallant has played with symphonies. Earlier this year, he performed twice with Symphony Nova Scotia.
“It was amazing. We did a concert at the Rebecca Cohn in Halifax. The next night we performed at St. John’s Anglican Church in Lunenburg. It was probably the most musically satisfying experience (of my life). It seemed that everything lined up perfectly.... It was almost a surreal experience. We’re hoping that something similar will happen at Confederation Centre on Sunday,” says Gallant.
The orchestra’s new musical director, Mark Shapiro, is also excited about working with Gallant.
“What a great piece of luck to be embarking on my tenure at the helm of the PEISO in the company of such an accomplished P.E.I. native,” says Shapiro, during an Internet interview.
“Lennie’s interest in crafting strong narratives about the challenging lives of individuals amid the timeless beauty of landscape makes him an ideal musical counterpart to Gustav Mahler, whose glorious First Symphony, The Titan, itself an impassioned journey through folk music, alienated individualism and the countryside, the symphony will also be performing,” says Shapiro.
This concert is the latest project for Gallant, who will be starring in Searching for Abegweit: The Songs & Stories of Lennie Gallant, at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, next summer.
“Having my own show is something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s a chance to grab all my Prince Edward Island songs and put them into one project. It’s going to be fun.
“The perfect bonus, for me, is that I’m going to be able to spend the summer on P.E.I. which is something I haven’t done for a long time,” he says.
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.