Edmonton-based Celtic artist Lizzy Hoyt is pictured in rehearsals with Artistic Director Jeff Faragher and the Symphony of the Kootenays, Saturday, Feb. 13, prior to their evening concert. Hoyt was debuting brand-new orchestral arrangements with the Symphony, for the musical tour of Canada, arrangements of both her original material and of classic Canadian folk music.
A good–sized audience was treated to an evening of Celtic and folk music by award–winning Canadian singer and songwriter Lizzy Hoyt, backed by our own Symphony of the Kootenays. Her website promises that “she will dazzle you with her talents on fiddle, guitar, mandolin, harp and step-dance”—and she did not disappoint.
This concert premiered her “Canadian Folk Sketches” concert, with brand–new symphonic arrangements of her own original compositions as well as Canadian folk songs from around the country. She sang songs from or inspired by every part of Canada, from BC to Newfoundland, with stops in almost every province. To her credit, she included Metis and Inuit music as well in beautiful arrangements.
She performed with flair, delighting the audience who could not keep their toes from tapping. She has an amazing talent, playing violin, guitar and harp with equal ability. She is backed up by a couple of other equally talented musicians on mandolin and upright bass.
Hoyt has justifiably won numerous national and international awards, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Governor General of Canada for her outstanding contribution to commemorating Canadian veterans and history through music. I found her song “Vimy Ridge” to be an incredibly touching and moving tribute to the tens of thousands of soldiers who died in that bloody and awful battle.
She displays a talent for writing touching and poignant stories, sung to simple and memorable tunes, using strong, captivating images in her lyrics.
The symphonic arrangements of her music sparkled and danced. Our own Symphony played up to its usual high standard.
I have to admit that I wasn’t sure whether I’d enjoy the concert or not as I made my way to the Key City Theater. After all, I reasoned, if I wanted to listen to folk music, I’d buy a ticket to that kind of concert. But Hoyt’s winsomeness won me over. She has a contagious delight in her music, and she drew us all into an evening of toe–tapping, hand–clapping joy.
That having been said, I have two small caveats. Hoyt has a lighter voice, which was occasionally lost in the symphonic arrangements. She will need to learn to sing with more than a trio backing her up. Secondly, there were more “fiddle tunes” than I cared for. After a while, they all begin to sound the same to me.
A wee note to conductor Jeff Faragher—perhaps we could schedule an orchestral overture for a pops concert like this. It is, after all, a symphony concert.
The final concert is scheduled for April 9, and it promises to be a real treat, with Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #2.