Coffee House opener: Fraser Union

Sooke Folk Music Society begins a new season this Saturday

Fraser Union performs for first coffee house of the season on Saturday.

Well, it’s time for the Sooke Folk Music Society to roll out another season of great musical entertainment. Our coffee house season begins this Saturday evening, September 21  with Fraser Union who come all the way from Vancouver.

Fraser Union first formed in 1983. The current members have been together since 1987, performing and recording songs that have a great deal of meaning to them and their audiences. Dan Kenning, a past member, says they tend more towards “songs of content than songs of contentment,” but a quick look at the range of music on their recordings, BC Songbook, This Old World, From There to Here, Hello, Stranger and Split Shift indicates that Fraser Union is not quickly pigeon-holed.

Many of their songs come from the workplace: Coal Town Road, Chemical Worker’s Song, Woman of Labrador, Empty Nets (woes of fishing), Ships of the Deep (merchant shipping), Everything Possible (child-rearing), Their Way (post-secondary teaching), and The Ghost Program(computer programming).

Many others tell stories of BC: Bank Trollers (about West Coast fishing), Snap the Line Tight (log salvaging), The Ballad of Robert Harkness (about the Cariboo gold rush), Canning Salmon.

But some tell stories from other times and places: The Last Battle, about the Métis uprising and the last stand of Louis Riel, The Goodnight-Loving Trail, about the most valuable member on the cattle drive–the cook, Augustus and Catherine, about the Overlanders and moving West, and Lady Franklin’s Lament, about the ill-fated Franklin expedition.

Fraser Union also sings contemporary songs with a bite, Canaries in the Mine, is about environmental hazards in an aircraft factory. Whether on recording or in concert, Fraser Union’s repertoire contains no throw-aways.

Fraser Union has been heard many times on CBC radio: nationally with Max Ferguson and Bill Richardson; locally with Paul Grant, Mark Forsythe, David Grierson, Kathryn Gretsinger, Sheryl MacKay and others.

Fraser Union is Henk Piket, Roger Holdstock and Barry Truter. Their three strong voices present some songs a cappella and others accompanied by a variety of instruments including guitars, mandolins, dobro and banjo.

They’ve performed, for example, at the ArtsWells Festival, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Vancouver Island MusicFest, Seattle Folklife Festival, Islands Folk Festival, Mayworks, Winter Roots Festival, the National Conference of Teachers of English, the Working Knowledge Conference at UBC, and countless benefits and coffee houses

Please join us this Saturday evening, September 21 for our first musical event of the season, It all happens at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 1962 Murray Road.

Doors open at 7 p.m. with open stage at 7:30 and our feature at 9.

Submitted by Dave Gallant