Steve Bell and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
Friday, October 25, 2019 @ 8pm
Centennial Concert Hall
This October 25, at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg, I’ll be taking the stage with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for the 13th time. Honestly, after that first concert in 2007, it never occurred to me there would be a second, let alone a dozen more at home and another few dozen across Canada and the US. Some of the best things in life aren’t dreams that have been fulfilled, but rather, graces and gifts you’d never have thought to ask for.
My dearest memory of the first concert is actually of the rehearsal which took place on the same day as the concert. My father came and sat by himself, smack-dab in the middle of the 2300 seat hall, and beamed like a lighthouse while his son nervously navigated that first experience. The bear-hug that followed was not unexpected… Dad was a hugger… but I won’t soon forget his tear-rimmed eyes as he tried to tell me what if felt like for him to see his son up there. Dad loved anything that smacked of majesty and wonder. For him, to see his son backed up by soaring strings and blazing brass, was, again, not a dream come true, but a gift and a grace for which one can only respond with deep gratitude.
Dad never missed a concert, even though, because of failing health, the last few took serious effort and help from good friends. Few who were at the last concert in 2017 will forget when Dad came onto the stage at the end, raised his hands like ol’ Moses, and prayed over us with a blessing that seemed to resound into eternity.
So… this next concert will be dedicated to my Dad, who passed away on July 31st, earlier this summer.
What excites me about this coming concert is that it is far enough from the Christmas season that I can do other material that I don’t often get to do because of the Christmas theme usually associated with a December concert. Mike Janzen (my piano player/arranger) has scored dozens of my songs, so I can pull from a wider set of options.
Speaking of Mike Janzen… many of you know that several years ago he suffered a debilitating concussion and has been out of commission for a very long time. I couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that Mike has recovered significantly and will definitely be playing this concert. He has also been working on a gorgeous new score for my song “Good Friend” that we will debut on the 25th.
The concert will also feature Gilles Fournier on bass and Daniel Roy on drums and percussion.
So… please come! For me, this is more than just a special event. I can’t think of a more defiant act of protest to the social and environmental chaos of our days, than the deliberate act of symphony. It’s more than beautiful, it’s more than inspiring… it is, I believe, truth-telling about who God is, about God’s creation, and about our dignity as image-bearers of that same God who “so loved the world” (greek: ton kosmon / John 3:16) into being.