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PREVIEW | Westben Summer Festival Offers A Cornucopia Of Music In The Trent Hills

By Anya Wassenberg on June 5, 2023

L-R (clockwise): Measha Brueggergosman-Lee; Ben Heppner and the Elmer Iseler Singers; Brian Finley (Photos courtesy of Westben)
L-R (clockwise): Measha Brueggergosman-Lee; Ben Heppner and the Elmer Iseler Singers; Brian Finley (Photos courtesy of Westben)

Tucked in the Trent Hills on the Trent-Severn Waterway, Cambellford plays host to the Westben Centre for Connection & Creativity through Music, and every summer, a concert series that blends classical music, jazz, country and other genres to offer something for every music lover.

This year, the festival runs from July 2 to August 6, in multiple venues that make the most of the rural scenery, including outdoor venues, and the Campfire area.

Along with the schedule of concerts, supporters can also help contribute to the festival whilst enjoying jazz, a gourmet lunch, and the new Westben birdhouses at the Midsummer Magic at The Barn Gala on June 11.

The Concerts

Measha Brueggergosman-Lee | July 2

Audience favourite Measha Brueggergosman-Lee kicks off the festival in a concert in the barn. The Grammy nominee’s repertoire includes everything from art song to jazz and musical theatre. She’s performed on some of the world’s most prestigious stages, including Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall in the UK.

Brian Finley | July 7

Finley, Westben’s Artistic & Managing Director, performs an afternoon program of the piano music of Franz Liszt, including Un sospiro, Consolation No. 3, Second Hungarian Rhapsodie, and others.
A Concert in the Barn.

Morgan Toney | July 7

Indigenous Artist of the Year and Inspirational Performance of the Year (2022 East Coast Music Awards) Mi’kmaq fiddler and singer Morgan Toney performs a Concert on Willow Hill. Her music blends the fiddling of Cape Breton Island with the traditional songs of the Mi’kmaq People.

Sacha | July 8

The native of Warkworth Ontario is a rising star in the nation’s country music universe. She was named a member of CMT’s Next Women of Country 2021 class, and earned her first platinum single off her debut EP in 2020 — the fastest Canadian country song to garner platinum in history. She performs on Willow Hill.

The Fretless | July 9

Juno award-winning The Fretless perform their uniquely genre-defying sound at The Barn in concert. The quartet of two fiddles, viola and cello create unexpected and percussive sounds, and the members enjoy their own successful careers as soloists.

Sounds of Silence | July 13

Ben Finley and a group of musicians will improvise along with ET the Mime for a dive into silent movies, including an original piece by Campbellford videographer, Stephen Dagg. Expect the unexpected.

Ben Heppner with the Elmer Iseler Singers | July 14

Celebrated Canadian tenor Ben Heppner teams up with the Elmer Iseler Singers, conducted by artistic director Lydia Adams. The 20-voice ensemble is celebrating its 44th Anniversary Season in 2022/23.

Mozart in the Meadow | July 15

Make a day of it on July 15 with lunch, a talk, and a concert.

Dare to Pair before Mozart in the Meadow

Before the concert, eat a Viennese lunch prepared by Trent Hills Chef Ron Csenar with German wine pairings shared by Wine Buff Duarte da Silva from Prince Edward County. You’ll be able to mingle with the artists in the Westben meadow.

Before the Concert — Pre-Concert Chat

After lunch, Barb Hobart and Brian Finley will talk about the music and composers.

Concert at The Barn

Mozart’s chamber music is spotlighted in this concert at The Barn. Musicians Peter Shackleton, clarinet; Stephen Sitarski, violin; Sophie Drouin, violin; Jody Davenport, viola; and Cathy Anderson, cello, perform music for clarinet and string quartet.

L-R (clockwise): Dan Hill; Peter Shackleton; The Fretless (Photos courtesy of Westben)
L-R (clockwise): Dan Hill; Peter Shackleton; The Fretless (Photos courtesy of Westben)

Del Barber | July 15

With nominations for JUNO Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, and Canadian Folk Music Awards, singer-songwriter Del Barber has shaped the folk music canon in Canada with five critically acclaimed studio albums under his belt, including his latest, “Easy Keeper,” an Americana opus that was four years in the making.

Dan Hill | July 16

The Grammy and JUNO Award winning singer, songwriter and producer was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2021. He’ll be performing a concert in The Barn.

Natural Balance | July 20

Alderville First Nation neighbours meet to share songs, stories, music and conversation that talks about their lives, histories and dreams. Audience members will also learn about Alderville’s Black Oak Savanna, the largest intact tract of native grassland in Central Ontario.

Emilie-Claire Barlow | July 21

Jazz vocalist Emilie-Claire Barlow and her band perform a concert on Willow Hill of fresh arrangements from the American Songbook, including new arrangements from her upcoming 13th album Spark Bird.

Janina Fialkowska | July 22

Renowned pianist Janina Fialkowska performs in concert. Fialkowska won the BBC Music Magazine’s 2013 Instrumental CD of the Year award as well as JUNO in 2018. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and winner of the Governor General’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award in Classical Music.

Chantal Kreviazuk | July 23

The platinum-selling, Grammy, and three-time Juno Award-winning artist from Winnipeg is also a songwriter to the stars.

Dare to Pair before Chantal Kreviazuk

Before the concert, you can enjoy lunch and wine pairing inspired by Chantal Kreviazuk’s Ukrainian and Métis heritage. Chef Douglas Hope from Sper Restaurant in Warkworth prepares the menu, with wine pairings by Prince Edward County’s wine expert Duarte Da Silva.

Chantal Kreviazuk in Concert at The Barn

The acclaimed artist released her most recent album Get To You in 2020. While raising children (with husband Raine Maida), she’s also written songs for pop stars like Drake, Pitbull and Britney Spears, among many others.

Les Mis In The Barn | July 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 & Aug 1, 2

Highilights from the music of Les Mis is performed in concert with an all-star cast that includes Adam Fisher, Robert Longo, Caitlin Wood, David Michael Moote, Meher Pavri, Ian Simpson, and Kim Dafoe.

Jill Barber | August 5

Three-time Juno Award-nominated singer-songwriter Jill Barber’s repertoire ranges from pop to jazz to folk in both French and English. Multi-award wins include the Sirius XM Jazz Artist of the Year and the East Coast Music Award for Album of the Year.

The Music of Joni Mitchell & More | August 6

Laila Biali and the Brian Barlow Big Band close the festival with the treasured songs of Joni Mitchell arranges for singers with a big band. Multi-award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter, pianist, and CBC Music national radio host Laila Biali is joined by Canadian jazz drummer and arranger Brian Barlow and his band.

Tickets are available now [HERE].


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