As part of the Canada Day celebrations here in Charlottetown we went to the first performance by this year’s Confederation Centre Young Company’s new show – The Voices of Canada. Twelve young performers from across Canada (it was interesting to note that many of them have trained with the Music Theatre faculty at Sheridan College) gave us a 50 minute “exploration of the elusive Canadian identity”. The Young Company programme gives young performers a chance to work with seasoned professionals and, with six shows a week plus classes, experience a bit of the grind of show business.
Using a Gordon Lightfoot classic as a framing device writer/director Adam Brazier took 12 songs by such diverse songwriters as The Guess Who, The Trews, Same Latitude as Rome, Great Big Sea, Stan Rogers, Julian Austin and our old friend Traditional to tell the story of the Acadian Deportation, Louis Riel, the Underground Railway, our Peace Keepers and the varied peoples that make up our Country. Rather oddly, but I found touchingly, it included a brief tribute to Tommy Douglas*, the man we gave us Universal Health Care and the Canadian Pension Plan.
Continuing on the railroad theme from yesterday and extending the Canada Day celebrations into the Octave I thought I’d post the Lightfoot song that encapsulates the building of the railway from the Atlantic to the Pacific that, whither intended or not, in many ways came to symbolize a united Canada. Composed for our Centenary in 1967 under commission by the CBC it first appeared as a variety programme production number choreographed by Alan Lund who was one of the first artistic directors of the Charlottetown Festival.
*Sadly most people in the audience would have had no idea who he was other than perhaps Keifer Sutherland’s grandfather.
On this day in 1892: Dadabhai Naoroji is elected as the first Indian Member of Parliament in Britain.