It’s the last concert of the 2013-2014 Yorkton Arts Council’s “Stars for Saskatchewan” concert series, and this concert year is ending with the dynamic energy of “Everything Fitz”, Tuesday, May 6 at 8:00 p.m. in the Anne Portnuff Theatre, Yorkton Regional High School.
Everything Fitz is a six piece family band featuring four of Canada’s finest young musicians and their parents. With roots in the Canadian old-time fiddle tradition and Ottawa Valley step dancing, their unique stage show combines various musical styles and captivating entertainment for the whole family!
Music is part of “Everything Fitz”, the Fitzgerald family. “Although music has been in the family for many years, this is the first generation to play the fiddle and step dance. The kids have many cousins who also play music, so they will often provide music for church services and local fundraising events,” explains Pam Fitzgerald, Mom in this busy family.
The family has travelled all over the world, giving them a unique chance to share their music and broaden their horizons at the same time. “Aside from performing, we all enjoy exploring new places. It’s exciting driving into a new town and looking for something unique. When we have time, we try to take in as much as possible- we’ve seen Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, the Chalk Pyramids in Kansas and even snorkeled in the Bahamas and surfed in Tofino on Vancouver Island!” says Pam.
While their music encompasses many styles, Pam says they still like to maintain their musical roots. “Our roots are in old-time music and one of our goals is to preserve this music; however, influences from other styles just naturally filter into both the fiddle music and the stepdancing and even the piano accompaniment. We enjoy so many styles of music and try to present a wide variety in our concerts.”
And indeed, this wide variety of music also includes music that fits the location.
“We have been playing “What a Wonderful World” since we started touring. It was arranged by Howard Baer, an amazing composer/arranger from our hometown. We never tire of this tune- it’s timeless and appeals to our audiences. When performing in the United States, we usually play a beautiful arrangement of “America the Beautiful” and I find this very moving. The Americans appreciate this tribute to their country.”
Touring is a family adventure, but it still is good to get home! Pam says, “When touring, you tend to spend a lot of time sitting in a vehicle so when we get home we look forward to being active. We live in cottage country and just love getting outside and enjoying nature- biking, swimming, hiking and fishing! Eating good home-cooked meals is something else we look forward to!”
The family is growing, and Pam and Paddy know that changes may come in the future.
“It’s difficult to say what the future holds for us as a family group. Of course, we hope to continue performing together, but as the kids graduate from university and pursue their own careers and interests, the direction may change. As much as they enjoy travelling and performing as Everything Fitz, the kids thrive on other musical challenges and seek opportunities to perform with other groups and productions.” Pam acknowledges.
But for now, the family is enjoying their entire musical experience, and meeting the wonderful people on their tours. What do they hope to leave with their audiences?
“First and foremost, we hope that for a couple of hours, people can relax, leave behind any worries and just experience the power of music. Many folks tell us that they are encouraged when they see a family so engaged with one another and working together to do something positive and creative. We hope that our performance will inspire young people to pursue some form of music, whether it be private lessons or school-based opportunities. For some, our music brings back childhood memories of parents or grandparents who used to play the fiddle and it’s always great to hear their stories.” Pam tells us.
Tickets for this outstanding show are available at the Yorkton Arts Council, at Welcome Home Floral and Gift Shop, at the door, or on-line at yorktonarts.ca
This is the final concert in the 2013-2014 Stars concert series; now we can begin to look forward to an amazing line-up that will mark the “Stars For Saskatchewan” 40th Anniversary Series beginning this fall! Stay tuned for more details!