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Be Inspired!

National Youth Choir of Great Britain performs Walk Out on the Water- photo from National Youth Choir Facebook page

Yesterday I watched a video released by the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. They are performing the song Walk Out on the Water written and originally recorded by the Canadian band Royal Canoe and arranged for choral groups by a very talented Winnipeg composer Geung Kroeker-Lee. Our son is a member of Royal Canoe.

Since Geung Kroeker -Lee adapted Walk Out on the Water it has been performed by a whole variety of choral groups, all marvelous, but none moved me like this version by the British Youth Choir. I was in tears by the end of the performance. Why?

National Youth Choir of Great Britain performs Walk Out on the Water– photo from National Youth Choir Facebook page

Perhaps it was because I was thinking that this may have been one of the first times these teens who obviously love singing had been able to perform together since the pandemic lockdown began.

Perhaps it was because the words of the song are so appropriate for what is going on in the world right now. We are living in a time when one crisis after another seems to wash over us but yet these young people sing about walking on water and declare, “I’m not going under.”

In an era where many young people are struggling to be honest and proud of their identity be that racial identity or gender identity these young people bravely and emphatically sing that they “own the space that I occupy.”

National Youth Choir of Great Britain performs Walk Out on the Water- photo from National Youth Choir Facebook page

In a time when many opportunities for young people to express themselves and grow artistically have been cut off because music performances, art shows, drama productions, and writing conferences have been canceled these teens vow to “spread my wings like a butterfly.”

If you need a little inspiration this morning watch the National Youth Choir of Great Britain sing Walk Out on the Water. It will get your day off to a great start!

You can watch Royal Canoe’s amazing video for Walk Out on the Water here.

You can watch composer Geung Kroeker-Lee conduct the Prairie Voices Choir singing Walk Out on the Water here.

Other posts……..

So Cool

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Filed under COVID-19 Diary, Music

Recognition For My Favourite Winnipeg Band

 Our son Bucky is a member of the  Winnipeg band Royal Canoe . They had two honours come their way this past week.  Their album Waver has been nominated in the recording of the year category for the Western Canadian music awards. The producer of the album John Paul Peters has been nominated for producer of the year. The awards ceremony and an accompanying music conference were to have been held in Winnipeg September 25- October 4. This year the awards ceremony will be virtual.  Royal Canoe won a previous Western Canadian music award in 2014 for their album Today We’re Believers.

Royal Canoe on the red carpet at the Juno awards in 2014- photo purchased from the Winnipeg Free Press

The band was also nominated for a Juno award in 2014. 

Royal Canoe performs with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 2017- photo purchased from The Winnipeg Free Press

In honour of Manitoba’s 150th birthday, the Winnipeg Free Press cover story yesterday was called Sounds Like Home. It listed and described the 150 most important songs by Manitoba artists. Royal Canoe’s song Bathtubs was included in the list. You can watch the very cool video of that song here. 

Royal Canoe just before their phenomenal show on ice instruments at The Forks in Winnipeg in January 2020

In a year when touring and performing is on indefinite hold due to the pandemic, Royal Canoe has managed to garner some well deserved recognition.  In January they performed a show entirely on ice instruments to huge crowds at The Forks in Winnipeg and in May a documentary film about that performance called Glacial had its debut. 

Other posts………

Waver A New Album From Royal Canoe

So Cool


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Filed under Music, Winnipeg

Glacial, A Letter From the Premier and Coffee

royal canoe glacial

Royal Canoe performing at the Forks on January 31

Last night we joined the online premiere events for the documentary Glacial.  On January 31 and February 1 Winnipeg band Royal Canoe performed a concert at the Forks on instruments made of ice.  Every musical sound they made was created with ice in some way.

royal canoe by jonathan dyck

Drawing by Jonathan Dyck used with his permission

The documentary film shows how the ice for the instruments was harvested from the lake at Fort Whyte. We get an inside look at the process of the band figuring out how to design and build the instruments. We see how they rehearsed in an unheated train car down at The Forks.

royal canoe ice show

Our son with his band Royal Canoe just before their phenomenal show on ice instruments at The Forks in Winnipeg in January 2020

Prior to the documentary premiere last night, the Royal Canoe Band members interviewed the different people who helped them stage and plan and design their show.  It was a phenomenal effort by lots of really creative people.  The Winnipeg Free Press had a great article about the documentary. You can see Glacial here. 

letter from brianMy $200 cheque and a personal letter from the premier of Manitoba arrived in my mailbox yesterday.  Everyone over the age of 65 in our province received this money to help us weather the COVID-19 crisis.  I understand that some seniors are struggling financially but many of us receive pensions and no longer have to worry about house payments or the expenses of children and their educations. We have health plans to help us cope with medical expenses. I do wonder if these cheques shouldn’t have been targeted at seniors who have a lower income level and the rest given to young people struggling with job loss, late rent payments and child care stresses, but perhaps it was easier to just send them to everyone over 65.  The premier suggests in his letter that if we think others could use the money more than we can, we should donate the money to charity.  I will do exactly that!

black pearl coffeeOur bike ride yesterday morning was freezing but we did make one stop.  We were driving down Dufferin Avenue and we smelled COFFEE! We discovered the Black Pearl Coffee Company where they roast about fifteen different kinds of coffees.  Dave who is the coffee maker and coffee connoisseur at our house just had to go inside. He bought two kinds of Black Pearl Coffee for us to try. 

Other posts………

So Cool

Waver- A New Album From Royal Canoe

Cowboy’s Coffee Hour

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Filed under COVID-19 Diary, Music, Winnipeg

Waver – A New Album From Royal Canoe

My favorite Winnipeg band is celebrating the release of a new album called Waver this weekend at the West End Cultural Centre.  Although I’ve always been a big fan of Royal Canoe’s music their current album strikes a special chord with me.  As this feature by Ashley Hampson on the Exclaim website suggests, Waver can be viewed as Royal Canoe’s way of addressing the anxious political climate of the last several years.  The music helps listeners ultimately visualize the world as a more hopeful place. Three pieces on Waver inspire that kind of hope for me. Of course I have no idea what the talented Royal Canoe musicians were thinking when they wrote these songs, but good music evokes a meaning and message for each listener in a unique way.  Here’s what three of the songs say to me.

RAYZ which has already been released in a thought-provoking and moving video format describes people who are feeling lonely, confused and hopeless.  The song compares them to flowers growing higher and higher each day, reaching for the sun and longing to find some light to nurture them and let them flourish . “Pull me up Lord, I’m dying. Time to let the light in.”   

In 77-76, the lyrics describe a challenging scenario for our world- night is approaching, strong winds are blowing, a storm is coming, people are blinded. But we can persevere. We can refuse to be divided.  We can stay afloat, keep hanging on, stand up for what is right and call out to others. ” Oh we’re going to pull through.”

When I listen to Peep This I am encouraged to do what I can to be there for other people, my family, my friends and those in my community and world who need support. People may wear masks and disguises but we can get past those to truly see one another. “Don’t let me cry -Hold me up, hold me up- Look in my eyes- Stay by my side”

If you’d like to hear Royal Canoe perform their new album in person you can check them out at the West End Cultural Centre this weekend.  There will be shows tonight as well as on Saturday and Sunday. 

Other posts………

My Husband is Famous




Filed under Music

My Husband is Famous

Our family posing outside the Burton Cummings Theatre before the release of Royal Canoe’s album Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit in 2016. My husband Dave is front and center. 

When my husband’s favourite Winnipeg band Royal Canoe put out a call recently for people to appear in a new music video lip syncing lyrics to one of their latest tunes, Dave decided he would apply for the gig.  His bid for musical stardom was accepted and he was given an appointment to record his contribution to the video.  dave on royal canoe's 77-76The video was released last week and there is Dave featured in a tune called 77-76 from Royal Canoe’s upcoming new album Waver which will be officially released at the end of January.  According to an interview with band member Matt Peters on the Spill New Music site the song “is about seeing a storm approaching on the horizon. The ship is beginning to rock back and forth violently, but the captain is drunk. Your last captain was alright, but this new one is an idiot. You go up on the deck and see the sky darkening fast. In spite of that, all you can do is hope the crew can rally on their own and keep the ship above water. You always find a way.”

Check Dave out on the video here.  Why not give it a like and perhaps even a comment while you are at it? 

Other posts………

The Daily Bonnet Just Made Us Famous

Fun Evening in Toronto


Filed under Family, Music


I saw the movie Green Book this week about a wealthy African American concert pianist and his Italian chauffeur. They are driving through the racially segregated southern United States in 1962.  The line in the movie that stayed with me was “the world is full of lonely people waiting to make the first move”.  

Dr. Don Shirley the musician in the movie is a wealthy man. He is incredibly talented, lives in a luxurious apartment  filled with fine art and beautiful furniture, and is cared for by a servant. He can speak eight languages, knows people in high places, and has been presented with two honorary university degrees.  

Yet he is a lonely man. He is estranged from his brother. He is divorced. He says he is too much a part of the white world to have many black friends and because he is black he nevers feels his white acquaintances truly accept him.  Will he make a move to get past his isolation and establish a bond with someone? 

The movie made me think of a music video recently released by my favorite Winnipeg band Royal Canoe. It is called RAYZ. The man in the video is also a performer- one of those living statue artists who poses for money.  Unlike Dr. Shirley he is poor, counting his pennies, living in a run down room, buying lottery tickets and going to bars alone. Sometimes he stares at people doing things together on the beach where he works.   Is he wondering what it would be like to make the first move to establish some kind of bond with one of them? 

There are lots of lonely people in our world.  Perhaps we should think about altering the movie quote from…. “the world is full of lonely people waiting to make the first move” to “the world is full of lonely people waiting for us to make the first move.” 

Other posts……..

Why Do We Still Like Dickens A Christmas Carol? 

Thanks Terry MacLeod

Time To Get Out of Our Holy Huddles

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See You At The Concert Hall

high school christmas choir

Our daughter-in-law conducting one of her high school choirs.

May is a big month for our family at Winnipeg’s Centennial Concert Hall. This Thursday May 18  a couple of choirs directed by our daughter-in-law will be singing in the MTS Rising Stars performance  of Carmina Burana. The Garden City Collegiate school choir and the Pembina Trails boys choir are two of the eight choral groups that will be joining the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for the concert. 

Royal Canoe performing at the Winnipeg folk festival.

Then the following Thursday, May 25 our son’s band Royal Canoe will be doing a full concert with the Winnipeg Symphony featuring music from their latest album Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit. There are still a few tickets left. After the performance there is a fun party planned in the lobby.  Our son will be doing some of the disc jockey duties for that. 

Would love to see you at the concert hall on both May 18 and May 25.  

Other posts………

Music to Soothe the Soul

Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit

Fun Evening in Toronto


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Filed under Music, Winnipeg

A Little Shameless Family Promotion

If you are looking for some great entertainment in the next few days you need look no further than our family.
men-of-songTomorrow night the male choir my husband Dave sings in will be presenting an evening of wonderful music at Bethel Mennonite Church. Dave will be playing his harmonica for one of the numbers and I’ve been invited to be the narrator sharing personal family stories and readings from the Biblical narrative. It is the last performance by the choir with their current director the amazing Shirley Bestvater. She is retiring after tomorrow night and so the choir will be pulling out all the stops in her honor. You don’t want to miss it.
swingle-bellsThen on Sunday afternoon our talented daughter-in-law Alisa will be performing with the Winnipeg Singers at Westminster Church. They will be reviving the music from their very popular CD Swingle Bells. The choir along with our daughter-in-law traveled to Europe this summer where they were the first place winners in a prestigious international choir competition in Florence, Italy. We will be at their Sunday Christmas concert with bells on. Why don’t you join us?
am-i-not-kingLast night we attended the Winnipeg performance of Shakespeare’s Richard II called Am I Not King?  at the West End Cultural Centre. What a moving piece of musical theatre that was! You can read more about it here. And yes here is another shameless bit of family promotion…. our son Bucky and his band Royal Canoe are performing all the original music in this production. They are just terrific. The show runs till Sunday and you want to be sure to take in this unique production.

So there it is. The Driedger family is providing plenty of options for your entertainment pleasure this coming weekend. Hope to see you!

Other posts……..

Music to Soothe the Soul

Fun Evening in Toronto

The Daily Bonnet Just Made Us Famous

A Handel Meat Pie



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Filed under Family, Music

Getting to Know Richard II

am-i-not-kingOur son is part of a group of performers who will be presenting a musical version of Richard II at Winnipeg’s Westend Cultural Centre this week called Am I Not King? I’ve been trying to learn something about the monarch at the heart of Shakespeare’s play. Here is the basic plot. 

  1. Richard II is a young monarch very trendy and regal but he spends money rashly on Italian fashions and his friends, chooses poor people to advise him and raises taxes to fund his sometimes ill conceived military escapades.  
  2. In need of cash he seizes the land of his dead uncle who was a really popular guy and this makes everyone mad. 
  3. Henry of Bolingbroke is Richard’s cousin and should have inherited the land Richard confiscated. People really like Henry who Richard has sent into exile. 
  4. While Richard is over in Ireland fighting a war cousin Henry gets an army together and invades England. Common folk and nobles alike rally around Henry and by the time Richard gets back from Ireland his cousin has taken over the country. 
  5. Richard is imprisoned in a remote castle where an assassin  who may or may not have been hired by King Henry kills Richard.

Here are five interesting things about the play.

  1. Richard II is the only play Shakespeare wrote completely in verse. 
  2. In the play Richard’s wife Isabela is an adult but in reality she was a child bride who was married to Richard at age 6 in an attempt to create peace between England and France during the Hundred Years War. Also historians believe Richard starved to death in exile. He wasn’t murdered as Shakespeare depicts. 
  3. The play was considered politically dangerous when it was written in the 1590s because at the time a group of rebellious nobles led by the Earl of Essex were attempting to overthrow Queen Elizabeth just as Henry overthrew his cousin Richard in the play. 
  4. A famous quote from the play is…… I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.
  5. I’ve found a novel for young readers called The Gentle Falcon which tells the story of Richard’s wife Isabella and downloaded it on my Kindle to read before I see the play

Other posts……

 The Real Richard III

Henry V- Just About Perfect

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Filed under Theatre

The Daily Bonnet Just Made Us Famous

dailybonnetbanner-3A former teaching colleague of mine has started a very funny blog called The Daily Bonnet.  He satirizes the ideas, quirks, foibles and traditions of conservative Mennonites be they cultural, political, gastronomical or religious.  In Mennonite circles across Canada, the blog is becoming quite a phenomena. There are times when the posts have me literally laughing out loud. 

Yesterday my husband and I were mentioned in a Daily Bonnet story that referred to a popular Canadian band, Royal Canoe. Three of its members have Mennonite roots in southern Manitoba communities.  

If you haven’t read The Daily Bonnet and you’d like a good chuckle you can check it out. 

PS. Not everything in the post is 100% true.  My husband and I do not live on Wellington Crescent, although it might be cool to have a home in the heart of a neighbourhood that caters to the rich and famous. 

Other posts………

Could I Have Been a Grey Nun? 

Brush With Greatness

Fun Evening in Toronto

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Filed under Media, Religion