By Steph Skavinski
Pierre Schryer’s Thunder Bay Connections concert, featuring over 30 guest artists in a one-night-only show on June 23 at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, is a massive undertaking. Luckily, Schryer is well acquainted with the challenges that go along with organizing such a large event—he’s had 16 years of experience putting together the three-day Canadian Celtic Celebration festival, which had its final installment last summer. Thunder Bay Connections will be his final big event in Thunder Bay before moving out west. “It’s bittersweet,” he says. “We have such a great community of artists here so it’s sad to be leaving, but it’s great to be able to bring all of these different performers together for this show.”
The concert will feature different Celtic ensembles such as Lads of the Lake, Brandon Gidley and Karli Strohschein with authentic Irish traditional tunes, a group of young local fiddlers called the Youth Celtic Ensemble, former students of Schryer’s including Olivia Korkola, Philip Duke, and Lauren Differ-Saxberg, and bagpiper Ryan Moore. Schryer says it’s a coming together of long-time collaborators, but also getting to work with people he’s always wanted to collaborate with. The audience will experience creative fusions of Celtic music with Matt Sellick’s flamenco guitar; pow wow singing and drumming from the Thunder Mountain Singers, and classical music from the Cosbey Quartet. Local legends Rodney Brown and Danny Johnson will be making an appearance, too.
In addition to an exploration of sounds, this concert will also feature some other unorthodox performance pairings. Normally you would expect to see highland or step-dancing, but get ready for something completely different. Schryer is excited to be working with Dahab of World Dance Centre, and Women in Silk (circus-inspired aerial silks) for this one-of-a-kind performance opportunity. There will also be a video element from local cinematographer Damien Gilbert of Epica Pictures.
Schryer describes his event as “a musical feast celebrating many of our local artists from our hometown of Thunder Bay.” It’s a way to showcase and celebrate many different facets of the vibrant arts community here while also saying a personal farewell. Be sure not to miss out on this unique experience.