Saskatchewan Examiner


Country music star LaBrash to have drive-in concert in Estevan

Saskatchewan country music star and all round cowboy Justin LaBrash and True North are bringing their high energy Jingle Bell Rock and #driveinsask Tour to Estevan for a pre-Christmas show. The concert, sponsored by Shop Estevan, will happen on Dec. 19 at 6:45 p.m. at Affinity Place.

This young Saskatchewan country music artist has done so much this year to entertain many people, lift their spirits and fundraise for communities across Saskatchewan during these crazy times, from the early days of COVID when he did live online performances from home to the outdoor drive-in shows with True North.

At each show in this concert series, LaBrash and his band shone the spotlight on a local organization and proceeds in part will be going to help that organization in this challenging time. By the end of this year’s tour, more than a dozen charities will have benefitted.

LaBrash’s big heart and endless enthusiasm really show through when he steps onto the outdoor stage with his bandmates, True North, and puts on a high-energy show in support of the local community and spotlight organization.

Even 80 kilometre per hour winds, tornado warnings, torrential rain and 35 C temperatures didn’t stop the shows on North America’s first drive-in concert tour.

More than 3,000 people have already enjoyed this tour of 15 shows from the comfort of their vehicles, tuning in on their radios.

LaBrash brings the community together while still staying apart.

With diverse crowds ranging in ages from newborns to LaBrash’s 100-year-old great grandfather, LaBrash and the band will be playing songs from old to new country and rock hits and many treasured holiday classics, including his hit Drunk on Christmas Cookies, which has charted in the Canadian Top 100 the last two years.

“Music heals,” LaBrash said. “The people of Saskatchewan are ready to begin to heal. This is one way we are able to give back and support the people and communities in Saskatchewan who support me. And this tour has sparked a challenge among the show communities to outdo the previous show with bringing their old trucks, boats on trailers, fancy cars and tractors.

“We never know what we are going to see when we step onto the stage. We can’t wait to see what creativity the Christmas shows will bring out in each community.”

LaBrash has family in the southeast and has spent lots of time in this region. He performed at Saskatchewan’s first drive-in concert in Lampman in the spring.

Earlier this week, he was announced as one of five finalists for the Country Artist of the Year Award for Saskatchewan Music.  

Comedy, classical music Christmas super weekend coming to NACC

The Northern Arts and Cultural Centre will host a double-act, super weekend of comedy and classical music on Dec. 12-13. 

Although the Ever Late Show: Christmas Edition! comedy event and the Gryphon Trio Celebrate Beethoven@250 Watch Party events are catered to different audiences, NACC executive director Marie Coderre said she’s trying to cater to as wide an audience as possible leading up to the holiday season.Advertisement

Martin Rehak, right, throws flowers to the crowd with Skye Plowman at a summer performance at the Willideh traditional site. Baby Brian Weadick performs in the background. Rehak and Plowman will be back on Dec. 12 for a Christmas comedy show. 

“We’re trying to target two different crowds and we tried to find programs that could really satisfy local audiences with laughter while also celebrating a big composer,” Coderre said.

Tickets are now on sale for the Ever Late Show: Christmas Edition, to be held on Dec. 12 at 1 p.m. The event will feature Martin Rehak and JD and a lineup of comedians. 

Rehak, 36, has been part of NACC’s mentorship program for more than a year and has been among the Yellowknife-based arts performers building a community of comedians in town, said Coderre. 

“I think that during the pandemic, we really need to laugh right now and we really need funny content,” she said. “We are used to having music shows for Christmas and stuff like that, but I think  a parody comedy show around Christmas will be quite different and quite relevant in these unprecedented times.”

Marie Coderre, executive and artistic director of the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC), has organized a weekend of comedy and classical music on Dec. 12-13 to reach a broad audience ahead of the holiday season.
NNSL file photo.

The lineup will also feature comedians Skye Plowman and Emily Blake, a brief appearance by Tom Parker and other surprise acts.

The musical guest is Ryan McCord and there will also be a special appearance by David Thomas Micheal. 

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there are only 50 spots available for the live act in the cultural centre. However, the event will be broadcast via Facebook and Northwestel later that day at 7:30 p.m. 

All sales will be online as the box office is closed and people who attend are asked to take public health precautions. 

Coderre said the show will be a Christmas-based parody and viewers are advised there could be adult content involved. 

NACC hosted a Martin Rehak event in August at the Willideh stage and he said that audiences can expect a similar performance.

“It will be like a late-night talk show format with multimedia and local acts with some silly bits in-between and sketches,” he explained. “The one at Willideh was the first of its kind that we had done and this is the next installment as a Christmas edition.”

Gryphon Trio

The same weekend will also feature a virtual concert by the Gryphon Trio on Dec. 13 at 3 p.m.  to mark the 250th birthday of musical composer Beethoven.

One of Canada’s most celebrated classical music trios, the Gryphon Trio comprises pianist Jamie Parker, cellist Roman Borys and violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon. 

Tickets are also on sale for that event. The show will include a pre-recorded performance of Beethoven’s G Major Piano Trio Op. 1, No. 2 and the Piano Trio in Bb Major, Op. 97, nicknamed the “Archduke.” 

The Gryphon Trio will be holding a virtual concert on Dec. 13. Ticket-holders will be able to participate in a question-and-answer session with the classical Canadian musicians.
photo courtesy of the Gryphon Trio official website

The event will only be seen via screen, exclusively for ticket-holders.

“All the classical music lovers will love that show and we’ll have a chance to talk to the members afterwards,” Coderre said. “I will be on stage with them on the screen and we will have a discussion and the audience will be able to ask questions. “

She said that show will be a reunion of sorts as the Gryphon Trio have toured in the NWT in the past, the last time being December 2016 as part of the Broken Hearts and Madmen Project.

“So yes, it’s good just going to be a reunion with the Gryphon Trio who have been an important asset for the community here and who have done so much for the Northwest Territories,” she said. “I’m sure they will be thrilled to to see a few patrons even though it will be just 50 people.”