I know! A lot of people find winter the season to endure more than enjoy. Personally I quite like the snowy activities and savour the calm winter provides. Don’t get me wrong – the windshield scraping, shovelling and blustery cold winds still aren’t on my ‘favourite things’ list but I appreciate the best winter has to offer. Among my very favourite things is the Shivering Songs festival and it is happening this week!

What do I love about this festival? The people, festival focus, venues and the sounds to name a few. First the people – the organizers, performers and attendees are all outstanding. The Olympic Symphonium –  Nick Cobham, Graeme Walker, Kyle Cunjak & Dennis Goodwin – receive full credit for creating something seemingly simple (a CD release) and nurturing and allowing it to evolve in great ways over it’s 6 years of existence. They have invited friends to collaborate to keep things fresh and they continue to be innovative in what they present.

If you don’t already know the music of Olympic Symphonium take a listen….

Shivering Songs focuses on community and celebrates songwriting & storytelling. They set the stage for local, regional and international artists. This festival provides both a quiet, reflective setting to allow patrons to absorb the stories & songs and opportunities to let the music move them on the dance floors. In venues such as the Wilmot United Church and Yogagrow we instinctively let our shoulders drop, breathe a little deeper, listen and allow ourselves to be taken away for a while. At the Capital and the Market we’ll feel the vibes, sing along and move to the beat just a little more. The community of artists and fellow music lovers are happy to unite in these places to create the warmth as they gather for a common purpose – to enjoy live music in all its forms!

The full lineup can be found on the website – and I’ve also copied the listing below. There are just a few shows in particular I want to bring to your attention – these are the ones I’m especially looking forward to:

  1. Thursday night’s opening event, Songs of the City, is something unique and I look forward to seeing how this comes together. The idea is to take people who have benefited from the United Way, match them up with a songwriter and TNB to share their story and allow the artists to come up with both a song and a monologue to convey their story/experience. The songwriters involved in the project include Jessica Rhaye, Keith Hallett, Micheal Feuerstack and Andrew Sisk. The backing band will be The Olympic Symphonium. ‘These inspiring narratives will tell the transformative stories of everyday people in our community whose lives have been changed.‘ This show is FREE and being presented at the Playhouse starting at 7:30pm.
  2. Also on Thursday night, taking place at Wilser’s Room (The Capital Complex), is the Grand Ole Wilsers. This show has been orchestrated by Josh Bravener, who’s love of twang has led him to organize a tribute show to the Grand Ole Opry. He first produced a similar tribute for Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival last year and it met such great response that he’s been invited to produce a second show. This show will feature Josh’s band, The Hypochondriacs (Jamie Guitar, Aaron Bravener) along with Shane Guitar as the backing band with guest vocalists covering great artists like Linda Ronstadt (Justine Correseau), Stompin’ Tom Connors (Nick Cobham), Hank Snow (Mike Bravener), The Everly Brothers (Josh Bravener & Scott Cuzner), Loretta Lynn (Juanita Bourque) and Marty Robbins (Penelope Stevens). “It’s not like an impersonation show. We’re not dressed like the original artists. We’re not trying to sound like the original artists. It’s going to be great because I don’t really get to see the end product until the end. It’s going to be really awesome to see it all come together!”
  3. Friday night I look forward to the Fortunate Ones at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre and the debut of Juanita Bourque‘s trio at Wilser’s Room.
  4. Saturday afternoon’s popular Songwriters & Storytellers Event will be held at the Wilmot United Church and is a 2 hour round robin being hosted by Sheree Fitch and featuring special guests Jenn GrantMathias Kom (of Burning Hell), Jessica Rhaye and Cedric Noel. In this format we are provided more insight with stories behind the songs as the artists reveal what inspired them to create that which they will present. Having previously enjoyed a poetry reading by Sheree I look forward to hearing her share observations and express emotion in her very engaging way.

It seems true that we all need something to look forward to after the excitement of the holidays is over and before the spring brings it’s ‘fever’. We are fortunate to have Shivering Songs and FROSTival provide us with just what we need at just the right time! Have you experienced the festival for yourself yet? If not, I hope this will be your year.

so much to enjoy! I’ll do my very best to take in as many of the shows as possible – especially by artists I haven’t yet experienced for myself! Please leave me a comment and let me know what you are looking forward to?


THURSDAY January 21:
7:30pm – Songs of The City, The Playhouse
8:00pm – The Hypochondriacs: Grand Ole Wilsers, Wilser’s Room

FRIDAY January 22:
7:00pm – Fortunate Ones + Andrew Sisk, Charlotte Street Arts Centre
8:00pm – Shane Koyczan + Michael Feuerstack, Wilmot United Church
10:00pm – Alan Jeffries + Juanita Bourque, Wilser’s Room
10:30pm – Vogue Dots + Mauno + Devarrow, The Capital

SATURDAY January 23:
1:00pm – The Rockin’ Billies, Officers’ Square (bring your skates!)
2:00pm – Songwriters & Storytellers, Wilmot United Church
5:00pm – By The Fire with Tim Walker, Officers’ Square
7:00pm – The Weather Station + Marine Dreams, YogaGrow
8:00pm – Joel & Bill Plaskett + Jenn Grant, Wilmot United Church
10:00pm – Les Hay Babies + Mo Kenney, The Market
10:00pm – Mo Kenney + David R. Elliott & Nick Ferrio, Wilser’s Room
10:30pm – The Burning Hell + Quiet Parade + brooksidemall, The Capital

SUNDAY January 24:
10:00am – Bluegrass Brunch with Alan Jeffries, The Market
5:00pm – Songwriting Showcase w/Michael Feuerstack, Charlotte Street Arts Centre