GUYSBOROUGH: In honour of Canada 150, Leisa Way and the Wayward Wind Band will bring a celebration of Canadian musicians to Guysborough on November 5.
“Our Canada show takes a musical journey across the country and showcases artists from all of the provinces, and I think that’s important this year,” said Way, performer, creator, and executive producer of “Oh Canada, We Sing for Thee.”
“The concert isn’t just a musical, we tell stories about Canada and about important things that have happened in our history, and lots of jokes. It’s a really funny show, too.”
The production, which debuted in 2015 at the Upper Canada Playhouse in Ontario, is wrapping up a 28 city tour across Canada. Way created the show and developed the musical arrangements with fellow musician, Bruce Ley. The two have been creating shows together for nearly 14 years. The show brings together number one hit songs by the most celebrated artists from throughout Canada, such as Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, and Shania Twain. The songs cover a mix of genres from folk to rock and roll.
“Choosing the songs for a show about Canada was one of the hardest things I ever did,” said Way. “There is so much incredible music by so many fine singers and songwriters.”
Way, a veteran singer and actress, has appeared as Anne in the Charlottetown, PEI production of Anne of Green Gables. She brings her performance skills to her latest project as she shares the stories of the artists behind the music. Way gets into character for the performances, changing costume 12 times during the show. She told The Reporter that she believes the lives of Canadian artists help tell the story of Canada as a country
“We always talk about the Canadian identity. Do we have one? Yes, we do. Of course we do, and it’s these songwriters, singers, storytellers, novelists, and poets who really give us that Canadian identity,” said Way.
After performances across the country, the group is pleased to bring the show to Guysborough.
“I’m so excited to come to the Maritimes with this, because of Anne Murray and Rita MacNeil and Don Messer and so many iconic Canadians that come from the Maritimes,” said Way, who pointed out that music from many of these well-known artists will be featured in the show. “I think this is going to be the best part of our tour.”
Way hand-picked the members of her band for the project, and each performer is a strong singer as well as an accomplished instrumentalist. Way will be accompanied on stage by guitarist Fred Smith, Broadway actor Bobby Prochaska on bass, fiddler and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Smith, percussionist Sam Cino, and musical arranger and pianist, Bruce Ley.
“Oh, Canada, We Sing for Thee” comes to Chedabucto Place Performance Centre on Sunday, November 5 at 3 p.m. For tickets, call the box office at 1-902-533-2015.