Mighty Oakville @OakvilleCentre @LeaskExpected

David Least at Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts The last time I drove down Trafalgar Road in Oakville toward the waterfront was a few years ago. Once you're on that road a little ways off the QEW the character of the city really begins to reveal itself as the road snakes along by Sixteen Mile Creek. And while the downtown - site of last night's show at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts - is as charming as ever, there is so much development going on that it's easy to get yourself turned around down there! Many downtown heritage buildings have been lovingly restored; a slew of mid-rise condo towers across the river from the complex that holds the Arts Centre, the public library and the Centennial pool have brought a lot more people into the area; the bridge that spans the creek is closed for construction until next month; and even the Centre itself - in operation since 1977 - is undergoing a facelift for now with a much bigger redevelopment planned for a decade from now.

In any case, I was very pleased that Artistic Director Ronnie Brown invited me to be part of the Centre's In Conversation with... series, having seen an intimate showcase I did back in February. I was even more pleased that he asked songwriter David Leask to reprise his performance from that winter gathering at last night's show. You might recall a previous post about David, who had approached me more than a year ago about being inspired to write some songs based on a few of the stories baked into Voyageur. I suggested that he might compound the inspiration by writing them on the guitar itself so he took Voyageur home with him for a couple of weeks and completed four songs with at least one more continuing to gestate. We're planning on another sabbatical for the two of them soon so he can finish and - who knows - maybe even write more! I continue to be moved by the response of audiences to this presentation and hearing three of David's project-inspired songs in the "performance pocket" added a whole layer of depth to that part of the presentation for both the audience and for me.

Thanks again to Ronnie and his staff - including Robin, Shelly, Diana and Kent on this side of the booth and Sean and Andrew at the stage who made us look and sound as good as we ever have. Thanks also so Sarah Douglas-Murray and to Ian Elliot from A Different Drummer Books in Burlington, who handled both book sales in the lobby and emcee duties on the stage. And a very special thanks to Steve Paquette, the Halton District School Board's "Indigenous Knowledge Guide" who came up to say some wonderfully kind words after the show and introduce me to daughter Amber. Thanks to Gyeho Thomas from the Woodland Cultural Centre for coming out to the show. And finally, thanks to Henry Lees, who managed to get a better photo of David Leask in action that I was able to from my side-of-stage angle and permit me to use it above.

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