Friday August 22, 2014

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Cowboy meets Classical, a beautiful melding of genres

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Local musician Jim Reader will be performing with ProCoro Canada at Grace United Church November 22.

Although it's an unlikely partnership, it works... well.

Weyburn will be introduced to the chilling sounds of Cowboy meets Classical as Jim Reader, along with ProCoro Canada take to the stage for an evening of music on Friday, November 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Grace United Church.

Reader began singing and playing guitar at an early age. Picking up a guitar at the age of 10, Reader says he is proof that torture actually works.

"I was 'highly encouraged' to practice half an hour a day," said Reader, adding he turned to playing by ear and eventually developed his own unique finger picking style.

In his pop-music days he was a member of a vocal group that was a finalist on the CBC TV-DuMaurier Search for the Stars. He has shared the stage with Kenny Rogers, BJ Thomas and Tommy James and the Shondells. His most recent award was "Western CD of the Year" in 2011 from the National Traditional Country Music Association in the USA.

Reader and his wife Marion moved to Weyburn in 2010 from southern Alberta.

"One of my last gigs was in Arizona in January 2011," he said. "I can't take three days off to perform. It doesn't make much business sense to do that while I'm here."

Reader's escape has always been his music and being on the land. His passion for western history and wanting to pass it on through his music comes naturally from his family history as his great-great grandfather was signing witness to Treaty #4 in 1875. So, it's easy to see why many of Jim's songs are tributes to the 'golden years of the cowboy'' and the rugged times around 1880 that witnessed mind-boggling roundups and cattle drives.

He has spent hundreds of hours developing the perfect timing and perfect photos and artwork to depict the lyrics for his songs. The visual aspect adds a unique and refreshing perspective to his performances where he says he likes to take his audiences to a whole new level of participation and appreciation of our western heritage.

The performance will be a melding of two genres along with the visual slide show presentation as Reader will be accompanied by the ProCoro Canada choir and three talented musicians.

ProCoro is one of Canada's professional chamber choirs and is the resident ensemble at the Winspear Centre in Edmonton. The full 26 voice choir has performed at the Toronto International Choral Festival, the Olympic Arts Festival, and Canadian Voices. A group of eight ProCoro members will join Jim in this western heritage tribute concert.

This beautiful melding of choral and western has spawned wonderful vocal arrangements by former ProCoro Acting Artistic Director Trent Worthington. The three piece acoustic band provides masterful musicianship that supports Jim's unique finger picking guitar style.

"At our first concert in Alberta, the response was wonderful," said Reader, "So we'll continue to chase the dream!"

You'll definitely hear the wind, smell the sage and taste the trail dust in this musical adventure through the west.

"It is my hope that people will leave the concert with a different view of what they thought cowboy or western folk music sounded like than when they came in," said Reader.

Advance tickets for this show are available at Superior Office Products. Tickets will also be sold at the door. Due to the ongoing renovations to the Comprehensive School, this concert will be held at Grace United Church. Please use the main west door or the east door.


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