Janelle Nadeau Ensemble performed “A Prairie Christmas” at the Deloraine-Winchester Theatre on December 1. It was the third instalment of the 2019-2020 Southwest Showcase concert series. It was also the third time harpist Janelle Nadeau had graced the stage in Deloraine. Originally from Fannystelle, MB, Nadeau now calls Vancouver home. The prairies keep calling her back though – every harvest, she likes to go back home and drive a combine.
“I feel like I’m coming home when in Deloraine. Thank you for asking me back again this time with my ensemble — Kim Robertson (harp), Serena Eades (violin) and Joaquin Ayala (multi medieval – harmonium, symphona and nyckelharpa).
“I feel so fortunate to be touring with these three amazing musicians. Kim Robertson who I have always looked up to and wanted to be like since I was a little girl and who arranged most of the pieces you will hear tonight.” Kim is a Celtic harp player. She was classically trained on piano and orchestral harp. Her work encompasses over 20 album projects, several volumes of harp arrangements, instructional videos, and an international itinerary of concerts and retreats. “And it’s such a pleasure to work with Serena Eades — she is very busy performing worldwide, so we are all fortunate that she took the time to join our ensemble. And, finally Joaquin — what can I say? I have known him for many years and the best way to describe him is as my most unique friend, and he plays the most unique instruments as well.”
Nadeau also brought out a special instrument that’s been in her family for five generations – the beautiful sound of sleigh bells. One could easily imagine gliding over the snow in a one-horse open sleigh.
The audience were treated to a variety of Christmas favourites, including Joy To The World, Good King Wenceslas, Away In A Manger, The Gift, Angels We Have Heard On High, O Christmas Tree, Carol of the Bells, Jolly Olde St. Nikolas and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Other pieces enjoyed were Peace on Earth (by U2), The Prayerful Hymn, Song of Birds and O Hannukah. The concert began with a very familiar and much-loved poem — “Twas The Night Before Christmas” recited by Nadeau, followed by several musical numbers, then some more verses of the poem, and so on. It was magical, nostalgic and heart-warming. The Ensemble, along with Nadeau’s crystal clear voice, and with her sweet disposition left the audience moved emotionally and walking out in the Christmas spirit.