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Valentine’s concert features songs from the heart

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Alice Paquet will be one of the local artists featured at the YRAF 2020 Valentine’s Day concert at The PATH.

Masha Scheele

Jon Tomas and Emma Bauer may be new to the Yellowhead Regional Arts Festival (YRAF) organization, but they certainly aren’t new to the stage.

They both grew up singing and performing at open mic nights in their hometowns, which was right here in Hinton for Bauer.

The duo has also performed at the open mic nights at The Old Grind and sing in the Hinton choirs. Tomas and Bauer will be performing some unique songs for the Valentine’s Day concert hosted by YRAF on Feb. 14. 

“I’ve watched them perform throughout the community in the past and they’re really going to add a lot to the show,” said Jacqueline Delisle, executive director of YRAF.

Their repertoire includes a song by Scott Cook, who performed at the Wild Mountain Festival in 2018, an old Albertan song called I Heard the Bluebird Sing, and the old love song, Pretty Fair Maid Was in Her Garden by Mandolin Orange.

“I think they work well for our harmonies and our voices put together. They are simple tunes and we seem to enjoy singing older stuff rather than modern songs,” said Tomas.

The third annual event features more than 20 local artists, many returning and some new to YRAF. The list of artists filled up quickly for this concert and most performers were signed up while Delisle was still working on Journey Into Christmas, she explained.

While some artists don’t have Christmas songs, almost everyone has some type of love song in their repertoire, she added. 

“This is one [concert] where the artists can push the envelope and really push the boundaries. They can have songs that are a little grittier,” Delisle said.

Twenty-five songs will be featured throughout the evening with nine sets of acts. Deanna Henderson returns to the stage and will be teaming up with locals Kara Lazorek and Alice Paquet.

“They’re doing Don’t Leave Nobody But The Baby. It’s such an amazing song, it’s from O Brother Where Art Thou? They came together to create that piece for us and it’ll be nice to have them collaborate on a song like that,” said Delisle.

Delisle also witnessed a collaboration stemming from the first Valentine’s concert they hosted, between performer Spencer Richard, known as SERVNT, and Kara Lazorek. The two plan to release a song together later this year, added Delisle.

“Seeing those moments are really what makes it happen for us, it’s so special to see artists have a place to meet each other and find people that are like minded,” said Delisle.

Charmaine Stinson will perform La Vie En Rose, partly in French, just as Paquet did at last year’s event.

“We really cultivated this list because we had so much interest. There’s a lot of really diverse music,” added Delisle.

YRAF hosts four main events each year including the fundraisers Journey Into Christmas, and the Valentine’s Day Concert.

The Grand Concert is part of the festival and a new program will begin this summer to give artists a full understanding of hosting a show.

“The artists get to see the full expenses of what it takes to put on the show,” said Delisle.

This event is a way for YRAF to give back to the artists who receive any proceeds. The Valentine’s Day Concert takes place at the PATH from 7 pm to 9 pm and is an 18+ event.

A full bar will be available with funds going to ASH, as well as hand baked goods by YRAF board members. Doors open at 6:30 pm with prelude music by Stacy Renard.