Cline tribute start of concert series

The Yorkton Arts Council is delighted to be celebrating 40 years of the "Stars For Saskatchewan" concert series! Launching the 2014-2015 concert series will be Globe Theatre: A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, featuring Devra Straker, on Sunday, September 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Anne Portnuff Theatre, Yorkton Regional High School.

This amazing show will take us on a journey of Patsy Cline's climb to stardom from small town Virginia to Carnegie Hall. The powerful musical features the American country music star's greatest hits such as "Walkin' After Midnight" and "Crazy".

Why does Patsy Cline have such an enduring interest for the audience? Devra Straker explains. "Patsy Cline's music is still music that people can relate to - and music that current artists still perform. She was a pioneer for women in music and paved the way for female artists in the genre of not only country music but as well as pop. She was the first female country artist to successfully 'cross over' to the pop charts and was also the first female artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her voice is timeless and unique and there has yet to be anyone like her.

What can the audience expect from the show? "The audience will experience the story of Patsy's life - from her humble beginnings to her rise to fame and all that happened inbetween. And they get to hear an incredible band - some of Canada's top players. And hopefully they like the singing too!" Devra elaborates.

We asked Devra how she prepares herself to be "Patsy". She replied: "You ask how I prepare myself to be Patsy. Some parts have been extremely challenging and other parts have come easy. She was the one and only. But I have worked hard to grasp her technique and style musically. My purpose every night is to do my utmost to tell her story to the best of my ability - and emulate her in such a way that perhaps would meet Patsy's approval. Her music is very difficult - she had an incredible range. And everything she sang she sang with all of her heart. Every lyric came from her soul and was often sung with heartbreaking emotion. Big boots to fill no doubt."

Devra also explained that certain aspects of Patsy's life and songs appeal to her in a special way. "I think part of Patsy's appeal to this day is that so many of people still relate to her music. She sang with such emotion, truth, and beauty about life and love. I can relate to her as an artist and the challenges that come with choosing music as a career - the ups and downs, the failures and utter joy. She died so young and had so much more to give. This show is a constant reminder of all I have to be thankful for - both personally and professionally."

What would Devra like the audience to take away from the show? "I would hope that I am able to make the audience feel an emotional connection to the music and story that was Patsy - maybe learn something about her that they didn't know - and of course leave the theatre with a smile on their faces!! Her music was her life, and her life was her music. This show is beautifully written - so even if you are perhaps not a fan of country music, you can still appreciate the story and the musicianship and have an enjoyable evening."

Tickets are available through the Yorkton Arts Council Office, online with TicketPro and available the night of the performance at the Box office. For more information call the Yorkton Arts Council at (306) 783-8722.

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