Eric Paetkau, music director
Elly Thorn, vocalist
Dean McNeill, trumpet
Don we now our ugly Christmas sweaters! It’s a spectacular evening of holiday cheer with the SSO and a host of special guests.
Saskatoon’s jazz trumpeter Dean McNeill gives us some jazzy Christmas hits. And singer-songwriter Elly Thorn makes her SSO debut with some original holiday songs that are to become classics. Join your orchestra as we bring all our friends together for this special holiday tradition.
This special holiday variety show is sure to make you feel festive!
And you never know who’s going to surprise us to see if you’ve been naughty or nice…
This concert is made possible thanks to the support of Nutrien!
Our Guest Artists
Performing artist Elly Thorn was raised in a small Saskatchewan community named Saltcoats. Typical of rural life, Thorn took music lessons as a way to fill the long, hot prairie summer days and the cold winter ones that keep you stuck indoors. She began her musical career with the touring musical revue, Saskatchewan Express, as well as the Canadian Heritage Society’s Spirit of a Nation, a showcase of Canadian song and dance celebrating Canada’s cultures and history.
Thorn studied at the prestigious Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, B.C and honed her musical talents aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines. Multitalented, Thorn has also acted in TV series like Rabbit Fall and Corner Gas, as well as in stage adaptations of Evita and Toon Town with Saskatoon’s Persephone Theatre.
As a songwriter and recording artist, Thorn has four albums to her name and has most recently completed her Christmas Album. It’ll be officially released December 7th/19 the evening she performs with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.
Elly Thorn has released numerous songs to country radio including: Sweet Millie How Christmas Used to Feel Almost Christmas Something In Me and most recently Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Something In Me enjoyed some Top 30 action on Sirius XM channel 171
To conclude a full 2019, Elly Thorn released a comical Christmas video: ‘Am I the Only One’ on to YouTube and her social media platforms. Picture a ‘Home Alone Mom’ Catherine O’Hara, singing a song when she realizes she forgot Kevin! Getting lots of giggles and shares, Elly is happy to express herself.
She loves to create, connect, express and enjoy. Elly is always writing, always performing and always evolving.
Watch for Elly Thorn performing at a venue near you.
A member of the Saskatoon Symphony (http://saskatoonsymphony.org) Dean directs the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra (http://saskatoonjazzorchestra.wordpress.com/), UofS Jazz Ensemble (http://www.usask.ca/music/ensembles/jazzens.html) and the Saskatoon Jazz Society’s Jazz Workshop program (http://www.saskatoonjazzsociety.com/jazz-education-workshop/). A Full Professor at the University of Saskatchewan Canadian trumpet player/composer Dean McNeill has received a Special Recognition Award from the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival for his contributions to jazz in Saskatchewan. On the CD O Music (http://www.allangilliland.com/) Dean performed as soloist the composition Kalla which won the 2012 Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Composition of the Year.
Dean has directed the International Music Camp’s Faculty Jazz Ensemble, the UofS Kenderdine Campus’ Jazz Composer’s Retreat program and has lead many of his own professional large and small jazz ensemble tours, many of which have been recorded by CBC Radio. A Yamaha artist Dean has performed as a guest artist with the National Youth Band of Canada, as well as with professional ensembles such as the Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver Jazz Orchestras and the Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble.
Dean has adjudicated throughout Canada and the Unites States and performed alongside the likes of of Kenny Wheeler, Pat LaBarbera, Michael Cain, Hugh Fraser, Tom Banks, Brad Turner, Kelly Jefferson, David Braid, Bob Mintzer, Denzal Sinclaire, PJ Perry, David Braid, Ingrid Jensen, Jon Balantyne, Campbell Ryga and many others.
Dean holds music degrees from the University of North Texas (Masters), McGill University (Undergraduate), and Grant MacEwan University (Music Diploma). He has released two CDs respectively entitled Prairie Fire: Large Jazz Ensemble Music of Dean McNeill and Mélange: New Music For Trumpet and Piano (http://www.msrcd.com/1294/1294.html). Most recently Dean composed repertoire and performed on the CD Complete Rebirth of the Cool (http://www.cellarlive.com).
A recipient of the U of S Department of Music’s Dwaine Nelson Teaching Award Dean’s past administrative service has included Head of the U of S Department of Music (2004-2009) and serving as a board member on Jazz Canada (i.e. Canadian chapter of the International Association of Jazz Education) and the Canadian Music Centre (i.e. Prairie Region Board).
Garry Gable has been with the University of Saskatchewan, Department of Music since 1994 in his capacity as Associate Professor (Voice). He is responsible for private Vocal instruction and the providing of courses in Vocal Literature, Vocal Pedagogy, Diction for Singers, and is Director of the Music Theatre Ensemble. The winner of the 2011 Provost’s Teaching Award for the Division of the Humanities and Fine Arts, Dr Gable is strongly dedicated to providing the best possible vocal instruction to his students, with the goal of assuring that UofS students are competitive with students from any other undergraduate program. Dr Gable is sought out as a master teacher and clinician for the voice – and is recognized for his ability to get his students to sing naturally, no matter what the style of music. Students of singing at the UofS have gone on to the best graduate and other professional training programs in Canada and abroad, are regular winners in local and national competitions, and have gained success as performers in opera and other venues. Garry, and his wife, collaborative pianist and vocal coach Kathleen Lohrenz Gable, have recently been invited to join the faculty of Bel Canto in Tuscany, an opera training and development program offered each summer in Greve-in-Chianti, Italy.
Garry Gable has performed widely in Canada and the United States and abroad. He is Adjunct Faculty with The Tianjin Conservatory of Music (Tianjin, China), and the Wuhan Conservatory of Music, (Wuhan, China). He has performed with such groups as the Canadian Opera Company, Toledo Opera, the Charlottetown Festival, CBC Radio and TV, symphonies in Kitchener-Waterloo, Victoria, Windsor, Saskatoon, and Regina, Kelowna, and elsewhere. An active recitalist, Garry performs with his wife, Kathleen Lohrenz Gable. Their programs are always varied to include the breadth of classical music from Art and Folksong, to opera and oratorio, to Broadway. They have performed in Canada the USA, Europe, and China. He possesses a rich bass-baritone singing voice capable of a wide range of styles, and in as many as 15 languages (though only fluent in English), from opera to Broadway and including a bit of jazz. Garry is also known for his versatile speaking instrument – and has ventured even into character voices and cartoon voices. On the stage, Garry is recognized for the strength of his characterizations from comic to dramatic roles.
Dr Gable maintains regular associations with a variety of groups pertinent to his work, ranging from Actors Equity and Actra, The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), the Canadian Registered Music Teachers Association, The Canadian Music Centre, and others. These affiliations help reinforce research areas that include a compilation of graded Canadian Art Song, developing ongoing studies into improving communication between student and teacher in the pedagogical setting, developing better ways of creating and understanding pedagogical terms of reference for singers interested in ‘cross-over’ work, and establishing creative alliances that reach national and international borders. His commitment to music and song as a tool for cultural understanding and improved international relations has resulted in recital programs sung in multiple languages – beyond European traditions into areas of the far east, and Central and South America at the moment. The song is a mirror of a culture or society – by embracing the variety of languages he does, Dr Gable hopes that tolerance and comprehension for a different social group can be can be found by appreciating their music and culture. Further, songs (and music generally) are a means of proving our own identity as individuals in a complex and multi-layered society. Singers who are capable of reaching beyond the classical tradition to include popular, folk, modern, and theatrical idioms are better ambassadors for music, and are better interpreters of and for our broader culture.