Voyageur Storytelling: Concert Repertoire 2010

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we tell you about

our Repertoire and Concerts

for 2010

For the first few years water was always on our palette, so to speak, manifesting itself in such concerts as Wet and Wildness (2002 to 2004), Water Flows (2005), and Flowing Moz-Art (2006). Then came years of drought, as we worked our way through the Animations series in 2007 and the special themes of 2008 and 2009. In 2010 we decided it was time to get wet again. So we did, in a big way, with Canadian Riverscape and The Likeness of Lakeness.

Canadian Riverscape

Invocation: Inversnaid — Gerard Manley Hopkins, performed by Leslie


Canadian Boat Song — song by Thomas Moore, sung by Leslie and Paul

Charlotte Small: Woman of the Paddle Song — her story, told by Leslie

Black River Adventure — a personal story of Great Hardship, told by Paul

The Song My Paddle Sings — poem by E. Pauline Johnston Tekahionwake, recited by Leslie

Upstream! — notes on the flow of Canadian history, explained by Paul

Francis Anne Hopkins: River Art — her story, told by Leslie

Black Fly Song — song by Wade Hemsworth, sung by Leslie and Paul


Voyageur Song — pastiche of Voyageur lore and songs, performed by Paul

The River Song of Maria Simpson — original ballad on a traditional tune, sung by Leslie and Paul

Talking Canoes — selections from poems by Robert Louis Stephenson, Isabella Valency Crawford, William Henry Drummond, illuminated by Paul

Midsummer Voyageur — original ballad on a musical theme by Jim Parker, sung by Leslie

The Voyageur — poem Phillip Child, recited by Paul

The River of Life — song by Joseph H. Adams, sung by Leslie and Paul

Image: Detail from "Indians Salmon Fishing, Kettle Falls" (1846) by Paul Kane (1810-1971)

The Likeness of Lakeness

Invocation: Horizon Words ("I saw a man pursuing the horizon") by Stephen Crane, recited by Paul


Travel on Georgian Bay 1872— by George Grant, told by Paul

Song to Sabrina — duet, arranged from John Milton and an unknown composer

Lament of the Empty Map — narrative poem performed by Paul

Song of the Exile (Un Canadien Errant) — traditional Canadian, sung by Leslie and Paul

Lost and Found: the story of the Griffon — told by Paul

Quiet — Marjorie Pickthall

The Lumberman's Alphabet — traditional song, sung by Leslie and Paul


The Wreck of the Gargantua — told by Paul

Log Driver's Waltz — song by Wade Hemsworth, sung mostly by Leslie

The Waltz — monologue by Dorothy Parker, performed by Leslie

The Wreck of the Aral Sea — tragic story told by Paul

The Camel Song — by Donald Swann, translated and sung by Paul

The Wonder Fish — story of an amazing day's fishing, set to music composed by Beethoven, told by Paul, contradicted by Leslie: a Voyageur Storytelling classic

Two Lakes — poem in the style of Walt Whitman, recited by Paul

Home on the Bruce — a rousing finale: all join in

Image: "Sabrina Disenchanting the Lady" (Illustration to Milton's "Comus", about 1815), by William Blake (1757-1827)

In "Comus" Sabrina is called "Goddess of the silver lake": hence her importance to this concert

Sabbath Celebration

From 2008 to 2010 we presented a different kind of event on Friday evenings. Previously, and again in 2011, we served a traditional Sabbath meal, and then performed a concert of Jewish stories and songs. For those three years, however, we joined our guests for the meal and, between courses, performed the stories and songs. These would typically include:

Shehcheyanu — blessing arranged by Ben Steinberg

Sabbath Blessings for lighting of candles, sweet wine and challah bread

Shalom Aleichem — Israel Goldfarb & Gil Aldema

Sabbath Prayer — from Fiddler on the Roof by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock

Bread & Teeth — by Boris Bruser (a Canadian praire merchant)

Sahaki — our translation of a traditional song

Elijah the Guest — traditional story told by Leslie

The Age-Old Question — Yiddish song sung translated by Paul

Bulbes! (Potatoes!) — Yiddish song sung by Leslie with simultaneous translation by Paul (this song is a classic of the Voyageur Jewish repertoire)

The Nigun, or The Wooden Sword — traditional stories told by Leslie

Havenu Shalom Aleichem and Hava Nagila — traditional songs sung and danced by everyone

Wandering Jews — anecdotes of Canadian Jewry, told by Paul

Grace after Eating

Nigun Talmudei Besht — arranged by Ben Steinberg

Prayer — by A.M. Klein

Eli, Eli — by Hannah Senesh & David Zahavi

These evenings were, for us, very special, and judging by the reactions, also for our guests. But they were also exhausting, and if, as most often, we had another concert Saturday night, that difficulty was compounded. We found eventually that we simply could not keep up the pace. In 2011 we therefore regretfully went back to the old form of concert.

Images: from various unknown sources

Links to Concerts from Other Years

(This page is 2010. If that's the year you want, you're already there.)

Voyageur Storytelling, December 2012

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