Having played earlier in the afternoon, their evening performance was nothing less than stellar, as Ellen Doty took to the Performing Arts Centre (PAC) stage on Sunday, Jan. 15, flanked by pianist Steve Fletcher and saxophone player Eli Bennett.
Stettler Variety Showcase (SVS) has always brought some excellent musicians to the community, keeping in mind a wide range of genres and if the first show of the year was something to go by, Stettler and area residents will be treated to four more spectacular musical events.
A sprightly presence on stage, Doty gave the background to each of her songs, whether it was the star-spangled desert skies that inspired her lyrics or the emergent ailing condition of a good friend, Doty’s voice kept up with each of the songs.
As the audience was serenaded by her lilting voice, the piano notes and the harmony created by the saxophone all seemed to create a magical ambience at the PAC.
“Stettler Variety Showcase has frequently featured up and coming artists, who have gone on to become Juno Award winners and major Canadian stars,” said Rose Fenske, the PR voice of SVS. “Ellen Doty is one of the singer/songwriters to watch for in the future, among Canadian jazz/pop celebrities.”
Speaking about performing in Stettler, saxophone player Eli Bennett said, “One thing I’ve noticed about playing in small towns, especially in Alberta, is that the audience’s reception is very warm and genuine, the hospitality is exceptional, and people generally seem more appreciative and supportive of us as musicians, and Stettler was no different.”
Doty’s performance in Stettler was mostly her own compositions and while the Stettler audience would’ve liked to hear some familiar jazz cover tunes, they appreciated the original renditions of Doty.
A Canadian vocalist from Okotoks where she was born and raised, Doty had been studying geology, before she decided she wanted to become a singer, songwriter and musician.
“When a few years back I decided to do this full time, needless to say my parents weren’t happy but now they support me completely,” Doty shared with her audience. “To be able to wake up each morning and work on what you love is awesome.”
Doty’s music is rooted in jazz, although there are elements of folk and pop incorporated in her tunes.
Three years back in 2014, Doty scored a huge success when she released her much-anticipated first full album, Gold, which broke the top ten on several jazz charts in Canada including CFBX, CFMU, and CJSW.
This led Doty’s fans and supporters to crowdfund her campaign, whereby she embarked on a 30-city, 46-stop tour which kicked off in Sydney, through Nova Scotia and ended in Victoria, B.C.
“I truly enjoyed my performance in Stettler this past Sunday, the audiences were warm and welcoming for both concerts, and it was a pleasure to share our music with them,” Doty said. “The theatre itself was beautiful too, and we thought the sound was fantastic.”
Doty thanked the organizers and said that she would love to revisit the community to perform any time.
“Thanks again to Rose, Beth, Scott, Stephen, Deb, and all of the volunteers that made the concerts possible,” Doty added. “It was a treat to have a home-cooked meal on the road too. We’d love to come back any time.”
At the moment Doty is in Toronto, Ont., recording her new album.
Stettler Variety Showcase will be back in February with harp and violin sensation, Duo Milot and Bareil on Sunday, Feb. 5.