Supremely-gifted musician Lizzy Hoyt will be bringing her charming tunes to Stettler on Dec. 8th for a special Christmas-themed performance.
Hoyt delivers music with compelling melodies rooted in Celtic and folk traditions. Presented by the Stettler Variety Showcase, she will be performing twice that day at the Performing Arts Centre – in a 2 p.m. matinee and a 7:30 p.m. evening show.
Hoyt is described as one of Canada’s most powerful Celtic-folk artists.
Known for bringing Canadian history to life with music, her songs like Vimy Ridge, White Feather and New Lady on the Prairie have garnered awards and nominations while also connecting with audiences across the country.
A passion for music was sparked early on for Hoyt, who hails from Winnipeg.
“Both my parents are professional musicians, and both of my parents’ families are very musical, so there was always music around,” she explained during a recent chat.
Hoyt started taking violin lessons as a youngster – a natural choice as her folks specialized in the classical genre of music.
“When I was 15, I started working as a side music for a western singer by the name of Eli Barsi,” she said. “I played for her for 10 years, and during that time I was freelancing as well. I’d also been writing some songs, and (eventually) wanted to put together my own group and do my own concerts to share my music.”
Her first CD, My Red Shoes, was released in 2007 followed by Home in 2010 and A Christmas Song in 2011.
The Vimy Ridge DVD was released in 2012.
A New Lady on the Prairie came along in 2014.
“I love to sing, and when I first started working as a side musician it was as a fiddle player or a mandolin player – an instrumentalist. But I have always loved to sing. It’s very important to me, and that was always clear to me.”
Still, her folks encouraged her to explore other career options as the music industry isn’t exactly always easy to dive into.
Hoyt studied sociology and after finishing that, she took a year off and tried her hand at music full-time.
“I was able to do it, and it felt like the right thing for me to do.”
It wasn’t long before the accolades started rolling in.
In 2013, she was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Governor General of Canada for her outstanding contribution to commemorating Canadian veterans and history through music.
These days, Hoyt travels and tours throughout Canada during the year with her trio.
“I really like connecting with people,” she explained, adding that performing offers an amazing way to do exactly that. “I’m also quite shy to be honest,” she added, chuckling. “So I find music is a lovely way to connect with people that doesn’t involve small talk! It’s a way to connect in a very meaningful way.
“And specifically with Celtic and folk music, I love the storytelling aspect with these traditions. I truly believe that stories are an amazing way to connect people.”
She explains that many of her songs do relate to folks in her audiences, and they will approach her afterwards to share their own personal stories. “People come up to me and tell me about their great uncle who was at Vimy Ridge, for example. It’s a unifying thing.
“For me, I feel most comfortable communicating with people through music. That’s how I feel the most calm.”
Looking back on her own influences, she points to Dolly Parton and Alison Krause for starters.
“Dolly is a great songwriter, and very much ‘who she is’ which is very refreshing. I really admire that, and I admire her grit and that she unapologetically does what she wants to do.
“I also love Alison Krauss – of course she has a beautiful voice and she is an amazing fiddle player. As an artist, one of the things I also love about her is the way she arranges songs as I love to arrange traditional material – it’s so creative and so interesting.
“Her arrangements and her albums are so detailed and so perfect, that even 20 years later I can listen to one of her albums and hear something I hadn’t heard before.”
As to her Stettler show, Hoyt has put together a splendid collection of ancient Christmas carols.
“These old carols work so well with my Celtic instruments, so I’ve really loved arranging all of these songs for my trio,” she explained. “I’ll also throw in a few non-Christmas tunes that tie in with winter and family – those sorts of things as well.
“But it’s a Christmas show for sure!”
Reserved seating tickets for the Lizzy Hoyt concert can be purchased at WISH Kitchen & Gift or at the door for $30 for adults and $15 for students.
People can also still take advantage of the ‘4 Sunday Concert Series’ price of four shows for $95 for adults and $50 for students.