Robin Ranger and the TBSO

Story by Sarah McPherson, Photo by Scott Hobbs

Robin Ranger is no stranger to fans of the Thunder Bay music scene. From open mic nights to live performances at the Foundry, Ranger’s rich, deep voice and unique sound have been loved by many, and have made him a must-hear on Thunder Bay’s lengthy roster of talented musicians. On February 17 and 18, Ranger will be taking the stage alongside the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra at the Italian Cultural Centre as part of the TBSO’s long-standing Northern Lights series, with Ranger’s musical partners Dino Pepe on saxophone and Mario Potestio on guitar.

Reflecting on his history here in Thunder Bay, Ranger recalls his own early exposure to performances by the TBSO. “In my 20s I worked at the coat check at the Auditorium, and I would sneak into the back rows to enjoy the Masterworks series,” he says.

Ranger’s musical career has spanned nearly two decades, and, impressively, he hasn’t formally studied music. As a result, he’s built his phenomenal career on the passion he has for the music he creates. “This symphony job is huge,” he says. “I have no classical training, and I come from a reserve, so it really breaks down class barriers.”

“Every single show I’ve ever played has been by invitation,” Ranger says, in discussing how his upcoming performance fits into his musical career. “To be invited to play by the TBSO is amazing.” He attributes this opportunity to his virtual performances during the early years of COVID-19, recalling that the TBSO’s general manager, Ryleigh Dupuis, was an audience member. “It truly is an incredible feeling,” Ranger said, when asked about having his own original songs arranged to be played with an orchestra. “That I get to perform with musicians of that calibre is outta sight.” He also points out the crucial roles played by musical partners Pepe and Potestio: “I’m really grateful for [them].”

Northern Jazz with Robin Ranger will be a presentation of Ranger’s original compositions, with arrangements for the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra done by Martin Blanchet and Ted Vaillant.

To find more information about Ranger’s performance, the Northern Lights series, and other upcoming shows, or to purchase tickets, visit