The Singing Farmer - Henri Loisell

Review by Marvin Dickau

The Community Concerts played to another full house on Wednesday at the Kelowna Community Theatre. It was a huge success.

The enthusiastic audience gave a warm welcome to Henri Loiselle (The Singing Farmer) and his piano accompanist Bonnie Nicholson.From the moment Henri walked on stage he established a rapport with us all, which only increased as he delivered his program.

The program was full of variety, from Handel to Cohen to Broadway, showcasing his rich Baritone voice well. His singing covered a wide range of dynamics, from the softest, most beautiful head tones, to a full robust sound and his ability to move smoothly from one voice to the other, often within a short phrase, was remarkable.

In addition to his dynamics, Henri also possesses a huge note range of, I suspect, nearly three octaves, along with the full gamut of tonal colors and vocal styles.Indeed, he captured the essence of every song, giving each his unique interpretation, making them é─˙come aliveé─¨.

Perhaps his greatest attribute is his ability to entertain, to touch the heart, to bring a smile or a laugh; to é─˙sell the songé─¨, something not every performer can do.Henri does it with aplomb and panache.

If I were to be honest, his folksy approach and patter between songs was slightly overdone for my taste, but it seemed to be generally well received, and the singing was worth waiting for.

I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the wonderful accompaniment by Bonnie Nicholson. She is not only an incredible pianist; she is also very sensitive to the score, and displays superb musicianship. They have been performing together for some 20 years and are a great team

There were too many highlights during the evening to list them; it only remains to say that the entire experience was truly wonderful, as indicated by the standing ovation at the end.

Marvin Dickau is an Organist, Pianist and Conductor who has an A.Mus from the University of Alberta. He has conducted choirs and small orchestras, given solo piano and organ recitals and accompanied many singers and instrumentalists in Kelowna and Calgary.