Without a Net to perform for coffee house

St. Patrick's Day gig in Sooke with David and Mary Lowther

David and Mary Lowther are Without a net performing on March 17.

This Saturday the Sooke Folk Music Society’s monthly Coffee House is very pleased to present an evening of entertaining and thought provoking music from Without a Net.

David and Mary Lowther were   employed by the province until 2002, where they both had busy careers and despite being well acquainted (well, married anyway) they had never played music together!However, when the government decided it did not need to care for the sick and/or needy anymore, they found they had a lot of time on their hands.

Then one day David discovered a clarinet in the back of the closet.

“Honey,” he asked, “can you actually play this thing?” Did we mention that they’d been married for years at this time? Is David a true guy or what? Do you suppose he calls Mary “honey” as an endearment or because he can’t remember her actual name? Before you answer, we remind you he is a guitar player. He owns a banjo.

Yes, in fact, Mary can play that thing, among others. This led to much klezmer music, and a few original songs that could best be described as musical letters to the editor.

Eventually it occurred to them that they should take their act to an open stage, which is kind of frightening the first time you do it because you are playing live, with an audience but without a net. The MC asked them for a name, hence David and Mary: “Without A Net.”

Without A Net play a combination of traditional klezmer music and original songs.  David does the lead vocals and plays the guitar, banjo and bazouki while Mary sings harmonies and plays the flute, clarinet, saxophone and a number of other things you blow into and move your fingers around on.

Having wasted their formative years working as public servants for an ungrateful government (and parenting, but let’s not even go there!) they have decided to spend their declining years in an orgy of blatant exhibitionism making noise wherever a promoter can find an audience prepared to listen to us.  In recent years they have played the Islands Folk Festival, the Princeton Traditional Music Festival, and have featured at folk clubs in Victoria, Nanaimo and Deep Cove. In April they will feature at the Cowichan Folk Guild.

David is a native Islander, born in Victoria when the welcome sign was at the Roundabout.  His parents were both journalists, so he learned very early not to let the media know what he was doing!  This served him well growing up in a government town.  Of course, a childhood spent among politicians and reporters left David unable to answer a direct question.  This can seriously reduce a guy’s chance to get lucky!

Mary grew up on air force bases in England, Germany, Malta, Ceylon, Goose Bay, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. That she remembers Goose Bay with the most enthusiasm shows how damaging this kind of childhood can be.  In later years her father left the air force and finally settled down in North Saanich for a normal life as a councillor, and eventually mayor.  His later career in politics had various results, such as the Panorama Leisure Centre and his daughter’s ability to understand when David was actually saying “yes!”

While David learned his music through the simple expedient of picking up a guitar and watching other guitar players, Mary was actually trained through high school band programs and advanced tutors. They note that there are lots of guitarists everywhere but woodwind players are scarce, and take this opportunity to speak up for music education in public schools.

David and Mary are both looking forward to playing in Sooke on St. Patrick’s Day.  David lived in Jordan River in the very early 1970s and remembers when Sooke was the “Big City.” Mary, on the other hand, wants a chance to play a few jigs and reels between sets of klezmer. The audience should be warned that when they play the stage leans perceptibly to the left.

Come and join us this Saturday, March 17 for what should prove to be an evening of provocative music and stories. The location is Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 1962 Murray Road. Doors open at 7 p.m. with open stage at 7:30 and our feature at 9.