In the final concert of the 2018-19 series presented by the Kamsack Arts Council for this season, the trio Red Moon Road (RMR) entertained an audience of around 60 people on March 18 at the Kamsack Playhouse Theatre.
RMR offers more than just an evening of music in that they bring with them a collection of stories which each member of the group artfully weaves into the performance, between songs. The majority of their stories are about the songs they have written, and some of their stories are social commentary about the times we live in.
“Canada’s most energetic and endearing folk trio,” comprised of Sheena Rattai, Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner and Daniel Jordan, bring an articulate array of verbal theatre to their musical show, which they describe as “folk music.”
“Their straight up folksy take feels simultaneously old-fashioned and thoroughly modern,” and “Red Moon Road’s unique show is equal parts polished song writing, undeniable musicianship, compelling storytelling and engaging showmanship,” are descriptions of their show on the Internet.
Rattai has powerful and pleasing vocal range, and the trio has an undeniable stage presence and chemistry.
Red Moon Road has been making music together for seven years, said information on the Internet. In addition to performing three-part harmonies, Rattai plays percussion and keyboard, Jordan plays guitar and mandolin and Peloquin-Hopfner plays mandolin, banjo, guitar and keyboard.
Fans of Red Moon Road are familiar with the trio celebrating the achievements of their grandparents in their music, like the song Leisl Friedl that tells about Jordan’s German great-grandmother escaping the Russian army with her brother on horseback.
“It tells that story about how those horses saved their lives and what it was like then,” Rattai said. “People constantly come up to Daniel (Jordan) after the show and say, ‘That was so much like my grandparent’s story.’ That’s one that really resonates with people.”
Another favourite is Peloquin-Hopfner’s Breathing Slow, about his grandfather who moved to the big city at age 18 to attend university. “The song talks about the idea of wanting to get out of the small town and find something bigger and better, yet when you do get to the city you’re looking back and seeing the value of where you came from,” Rattai explained. “That’s a real favourite of people’s.”
Rattai’s performance of Both Sides Now during their Monday night concert at the Playhouse was well-received by the Kamsack audience.
Comments after the concert praised the talent of the trio, saying “great harmonies, powerful stage presence, very cohesive group of individuals who work very well together.”
Lenore Kinaschuk of Benito, who was in the audience on March 18, commented that she was very impressed with the trio’s vocal harmonies.
The members of the trio were also very nice people, according to Maureen Humeniuk who offered to billet the group for the night after the concert. “I enjoyed their company very much,” she said.
In turn, members of the group commented that Humeniuk was a “gracious hostess,” and that Kamsack was a “very welcoming community.”
An article which appeared in the March 7 issue of the Kamsack Times had quoted Jack Koreluik, Kamsack Arts Council chair, as saying this might be the last live concert in the Playhouse, as attendance for the performances has been down this season and the events were losing money.
Having seen the article, CTV in Yorkton sent a reporter to the Theatre to cover what was believed to be the final concert at the Playhouse.
After the article appeared in the Times, the Arts Council had held a meeting and had made the decision to present the live series of concerts for one more season, in partnership with the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC.)
“Doing one more season will give us a clearer picture of the viability of presenting these live performances,” Koreluik said after the concert. “The Arts Council committee feels that it is vitally important to bring these live acts to rural communities. We have this wonderful facility with amazing acoustics and we would like to continue to see it used for more than showing movies.
“The movie presentations do pay the bills and keep the Theatre doors open, but it would be a shame not to have other events happen at the Playhouse. But we need support from the community to continue to bring these quality live performances to our Theatre,” he said.
“For these Arts Council events our goal is to at least break even so that we don’t put the Theatre in jeopardy at the expense of these live performances.”
“Bringing live entertainment into the community is expensive, and rightfully so, as these performers deserve fair value for their performances. It borders on individual responsibility to support the arts.
“For the upcoming season the Arts Council committee urges people to buy season passes at a discounted rate. The availability of tickets will be announced,” he said.
For more information, contact Koreluik or any member of the Kamsack Playhouse board.
It has been said about Red Moon Road that “the end of their show is a bittersweet experience, part of you wants to hear more music and the other part wants to rush to the stage and meet the band.”
Several days after the concert, comments by audience members were still being heard. “I appreciated that the members of Red Moon Road expressed social commentary in their stories,” said Mark Forsythe who attended the concert with his wife, Tracy. “Their commentary had relevant and deep meaning. It makes an impression that lingers with you long after the show is over.”