Bringing their compelling musical style to Stettler, the Common Cup Company performs at the Stettler United Church June 17th.
The concert kicks off at 7 p.m. with tickets ($20) available at the door or in advance at the church office.
For more information, call 403-742-3387 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We all kind of grew up in the 1960s, so it’s folk-style,” explained guitarist/singer Gordon Light during a recent chat.
“It comes out of that kind of tradition. It’s also faith-based, but it’s not evangelical; it’s much more the probing of issues and of spirituality. But it’s scripture-based.”
Their musical ministry began in 1979 when Light (an Anglican priest and later bishop), met Ian Macdonald and Jim Uhrich (both United Church ministers) while serving neighboring churches in Winnipeg.
“Jim and Ian came to do a team ministry at the United Church which was just a block and a half away from where I was,” recalled Light. “I went over to meet them and discovered there was a guitar and a banjo in the office.”
That was pretty much the start of a fabulous musical collaboration that has lasted all these years.
Bob Wallace joined the group in 1982, his voice strengthening and enriching the group’s sound.
And it wasn’t long before invitations started coming in for the men to perform at a slate of functions and events.
Then, in 1984, Light relocated to Kamloops to continue his ministry there. “We decided that we all still wanted to stay together,” he added with a laugh. “So we met a year later at a United Church conference centre.
“That’s also when we did a little bit of recording, too, and we carried on from there.”
Scott McDonald and Richard Betts joined the lineup in 1998, adding bass and drums and giving the Common Cup a moe contemporary sound.
Over the years, there have certainly been personal highs and lows, including the losses of Common Cup members.
Uhrich died in 2009 and Ian Macdonald passed in 2016.
But the eventual addition of Lloyd Maclean (piano/accordion) did bring new inspiration.
As for Light, his interest in music was sparked early on.
“My mother was in a church choir, and I jut loved listening to her sing – she had a great voice,” he said, adding that into his teens he was also trying his hand at songwriting.
“One night, I heard my mother playing chords on a guitar and I hadn’t realized that she even knew anything about the guitar – but she taught me my first three chords.”
His folks eventually bought him a guitar.
“I didn’t do much with it, and we ended up giving it away or selling it. Then a year later, I said that I really did want to do this,” he said, chuckling. His parents reminded him of his last stint with a guitar that didn’t really go anywhere, but nonetheless, they agreed to purchase him another.
And a deeply meaningful path into music began to really take shape. It’s also proven to be an integral part of his ministry as well over the years.
Meanwhile, a two-disc live album chronicling the band’s career was released in 2015. The collection features highlights from concerts recorded between 1993 to 2011.
Also during their years together, the group has taken their music far and wide from Nashville to Whitehorse, from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland – coast to coast to coast and beyond. Last year, the guys toured western Australia as well.
For Light, music in and of itself brings much fulfillment. Crafting melody and lyrics that touch people is a non-stop source of joy.
“I think music unites people. I love the written word, too.”
Check out www.commoncup.com.