Sharing the spotlight at Music P.E.I. Awards

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Sally Cole
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Comedian Patrick Ledwell is excited about hosting the13th annual Music P.E.I. Awards Gala presented by Ticketpro at the P.E.I. Convention Centre in Charlottetown on Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. The P.E.I. performer returns with the Island Summer Review 2 at Harmony House Theatre this summer.

Patrick Ledwell has spent the past two years delighting audiences.

After being featured in the 2012 hit stage show, Come-All-Ye, at the Charlottetown Festival, the P.E.I. comic teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Mark Haines to create and perform The Island Summer Review and The Island Christmas Review, which enjoyed successful runs at Harmony House Theatre this past season. 2013 also saw him performing at various conventions and strutting his stuff on radio.

And now, as the master of ceremonies for the 13th annual Music P.E.I. Awards Gala presented by Ticketpro, he is ready to celebrate the success of those performers who delight audiences with music.

“It’s an honour to host the show .... I am pleased to be the rodeo clown for the many rings of Island music,” says Ledwell, of the show that hits the Prince Edward Island Convention Centre stage in Charlottetown on Feb. 1 at 8 p.m.

That night, he will have plenty to share.

“I’ll bring an appreciative ear and an appreciative knowledge for P.E.I. music. I’ve had brothers involved in the scene and I’ve watched them grow. Not that I’m an insider’s insider, but I’m a fan,” says Ledwell, noting his brother, Dan Ledwell, is now a record producer who works with recording artist Jenn Grant, and brother Christian Ledwell, the bassist for Boxer the Horse, is now also the leader of the band, Milks and Rectangles.

“As a joke, I figure there could be a whole new category for the show: What does your mother call your band? My mother had trouble with Milks and Rectangles. Instead, she would call Christian’s band the Milky Triangles,” he says with a laugh.

As he prepares for the show, Ledwell is also growing in his knowledge of P.E.I.’s musical groups.

“I think the challenge of writing the script is to capture some of the diversity in the music scene on P.E.I. So, from traditional to edgier music, I’m finding out who is Fiona MacCorquodale and who is Death Valley Driver. I’m educating myself beyond my own listening on P.E.I.,” says Ledwell.

And he’ll be adding generous helpings of humour to his commentary.

“I hope that I bring that appreciation and good-natured ribbing in a way that will turn the show into a big tent where everybody feels that they’re laughing together and no one is the brunt of too much of a jab,” he says.

With his quick wit and bright spirit, Ledwell is the natural choice for this year’s award show, says the executive director of Music P.E.I.

“Patrick is one of the funniest people I know. (He) has had lots of experience and very good success hosting shows and events. He just seemed like a natural,” says Rob Oakie, who is also working on the program.

“We’re trying to balance the night between awards and performances ... really trying to give the event a concert feel. Some of the top nominees will be performing like Paper Lions, Ashley Condon, Dennis Ellsworth and Meaghan Blanchard, to name a few.”

Keeping things going between these 12 performances and 12 award presentations will keep Ledwell moving.

“The important thing is for the energy to never flag. So, if I’m talking as people are getting instruments set and cables plugged, the moment that they hit the first note should be high energy.

“My role isn’t to be the show, but it’s to spin the plates on the broomstick so we go in at high speed to give a high-energy night in appreciation of the talent that exists in P.E.I.’s music scene,” says Ledwell, whose ability to make people laugh and feel comfortable has helped to raise his profile in the past year.

Besides The Island Summer Review and The Island Christmas Review, he has gotten to share his humorous observations doing 40 shows for Meetings and Conventions P.E.I. In addition, Ledwell made two appearances on the popular CBC Radio Show, The Debators.

“I performed once in Sherbrooke, Que., and once in Halifax this past fall. I got to go in a plane which, in some ways, is a sign of some confidence from the producers,” he says, with another laugh.

Now as Ledwell prepares to take over the reins for Sunday night’s show, he’s pumped.

“I think it should be billed as the best night of music on P.E.I. It’s important to recognize and to award, but when you see the quality of the talent and the performances, you don’t want an empty seat at the back of the hall,” he says.

Oakie agrees.

“Our gala awards shows have gained a great reputation over the past few years that we are very proud of. It will be two-and-a-half hour show jam-packed with excitement.”

JUST THE FACTS

If you are going

What: Music P.E.I. Awards Gala.

When: Feb. 1, 8 p.m.

Tickets: Available at www.ticketpro.ca.

Organizations: The Island Christmas Review, Harmony House Theatre, Prince Edward Island Convention Centre

Geographic location: P.E.I., Charlottetown, Death Valley Sherbrooke Halifax

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