Janelle Nadeau Ensemble: A Prairie Christmas

Coast-favourite Nadeau set to perform seasonal concerts

Concert harpist Janelle Nadeau has a special connection to the Sunshine Coast, where she has played to appreciative audiences many times and still teaches music classes nine times a year. “I feel very fortunate about the support that I get on the Coast,” she said in an interview from her Vancouver home. “You guys live in an amazing place.” 

That special connection will be renewed again this year with two concerts Nadeau will play at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt on Friday, Dec. 13. She’ll be joined in an ensemble by veteran professional Sunshine Coast violinist Serena Eades, and medieval instrumentalist Joaquin Ayala, a former fellow alumnus of the Christmas show Winter Harp. 

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When asked what kind of music we can expect to hear, Nadeau said it will be “something that’s nostalgic – not cheesy, but reflective, also energetic and funny as well. We’d like our audience to walk out of the concert and feel soothed and in the Christmas spirit.” 

Ayala, who Nadeau said she has known since she was 17, “is drawn to things that are unusual and he brings an eclectic kind of flair to our group. In our concerts he plays three instruments, the harmonium, the symphonia, which is a kind of precursor to the hurdy gurdy, and the nyckelharpa [a medieval type of violin].” 

Eades, who teaches at her own violin school here on the Coast when she’s not playing with the band Delhi 2 Dublin, will join Nadeau and Ayala for a two-week tour that starts in Nadeau’s native Manitoba and ends in Whistler on Dec. 15. 

“I have really been enjoying working with Janelle and Joaquin,” Eades told Coast Reporter. “They’re both great musicians who are lovely to work and create with. Janelle has great taste and sensibilities in terms of choosing music that works well for our instrumentation and creates a warm and festive atmosphere. It’s a great show for all ages.” 

Nadeau said all three will play some solo tunes but most of the program will be as an ensemble. “The audience will get to hear a lot how the different instruments sound together,” she said. 

“There’ll be some Christmas songs we’ve all known and loved for years and ones that might be a little more obscure, like a Catalan piece that is 300 years old.” 

Nadeau not only teaches a class in Pender Harbour every six weeks or so, she also does a harp camp there every summer, and fills much of the remainder of her professional life as principal harpist for the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. 

The Nadeau Ensemble: A Prairie Christmas will play on the 13th at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are available through www.eventbrite.ca

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