WIN­TER FAN­TASY TOUR SEES LIONA BOYD IN CON­CERT

The Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - STEVE KANNON

PUMPKINS NOW REL­E­GATED TO the com­post bin, it’s all Christ­mas, all the time at this point.

And that’s just fine with Liona Boyd, who launches her hol­i­day show this month, in­clud­ing a stop at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Kitch­ener on Novem­ber 19. That will be the sec­ond con­cert of A Win­ter Fan­tasy as the sea­son gets go­ing.

As has been the case for the last cou­ple of years, she’ll be joined by Water­loo’s Andrew Dol­son, a clas­si­cally trained gui­tarist and singer.

The tour takes its name from the 2015 CD, Boyd’s third Christ­mas al­bum.

“My favourite is the lat­est one. It’s got a real mag­i­cal feel to it,” she said. “I just love the pieces on A Win­ter Fan­tasy be­cause they’re all tra­di­tional, but with my own ar­range­ments.”

She and Dol­son will be play­ing tunes from the al­bum. There will be so­los and songs per­formed as a duo.

Though largely Christ­mas-ori­ented, she’ll likely in­clude at least a cou­ple of songs to mark the coun­try’s sesqui­cen­ten­nial, in­clud­ing “Canada My Canada” from her 2013 ode to the coun­try she came to from Eng­land at the age of 8, The Re­turn… to Canada with Love, and “Song of On­tario.”

Given that she’s got a new al­bum out – No Rem­edy for Love, the same ti­tle is af­fixed to her new au­to­bi­og­ra­phy – there’s a chance for a song or two.

Boyd is cer­tainly en­er­gized by the new al­bum, which takes its name from David Thoreau’s “There is no rem­edy for love but to love more.” It builds on the singer-song­writer as­pect of her ca­reer, on which she’s fo­cussed in the af­ter­math of mu­si­cian’s fo­cal dys­to­nia in her right hand, a neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tion linked to con­stant rep­e­ti­tion of cer­tain move­ments.

The al­bum is as per­sonal as the au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, cov­er­ing her en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns (A Prayer for Planet Earth), her mem­o­ries of teenage love (the ABBA-es­que Near To You) and her re­gard for singer-song­writer Gor­don Light­foot (Light­foot), with whom she toured in the early part of her ca­reer in the 1970s. The ti­tle song be­ing a bit more cyn­i­cal about love than has been her own ex­pe­ri­ence, she thought of Leonard Co­hen and sent the song to him for in­put, ul­ti­mately ded­i­cat­ing it to him prior to his pass­ing. The two had de­vel­oped a friend­ship years ear­lier when they were both liv­ing in Los An­ge­les.

But Christ­mas re­mains the fo­cus of the up­com­ing con­cert. As with past shows such as last year’s pre-yule­tide stop at St. James Lutheran Church in Elmira, Boyd will be per­form­ing with lo­cal choirs. For the Kitch­ener con­cert, it will be The Cam­bridge Ki­wa­nis Boys Choir.

“I love work­ing with chil­dren’s choirs,” she said, not­ing they lend a spe­cial qual­ity to the mu­sic.

Work­ing with lo­cal choirs is part of the al­lure of tour­ing small towns, which she still en­joys as part of a ca­reer that let her travel the globe, play­ing from Carnegie Hall to Nepal, per­form­ing for a va­ri­ety of au­di­ences that has in­cluded heads of state and roy­alty.

“My ca­reer has let me ex­plore the world. It’s been fan­tas­tic,” she said. “I’ve cer­tainly lived an un­usual life.”

She traces that back to at­tend­ing a classical per­for­mance with her mother at the age of 13. It set her on a path that’s taken her to where she is to­day. And it’s a rea­son she en­cour­ages par­ents to bring their chil­dren to such con­certs. Like­wise, she al­ways makes time to speak with fans af­ter a show, au­to­graph­ing ma­te­ri­als and mer­chan­dise on sale, re­mem­ber­ing her own ner­vous in­ter­ac­tions with per­form­ers she en­joyed when she was young.

“I hope peo­ple will bring their kids. It’s im­por­tant to start young, to in­tro­duce them to mu­sic,” she said, not­ing that the show makes classical mu­sic very ac­ces­si­ble. “Classical mu­sic has a spe­cial qual­ity.”

A Win­ter Fan­tasy takes place Novem­ber 19 at 7 p.m. at St. Matthews Lutheran Church, 54 Ben­ton St. Kitch­ener. Tick­ets are $40, avail­able on­line at www.kwtick­ets.ca (look for “St. Matthews Church” in the Main Group list­ing), by call­ing (519) 578-1570 or toll-free 1-800-265-8977, or at the Cen­tre In The Square box of­fice.

[MARY CARD / SUB­MIT­TED]

Liona Boyd and Andrew Dol­son with the Mis­sis­sauga Chil­dren’s Choir dur­ing last year’s tour.

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