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09 NOVEMBER 2021 (TORONTO, ON) – Award-winning singer/songwriter Loreena McKennitt will take to the stage, joined by special guests, for seasonal Solstice concerts on December 17, 18 & 19 in what will be her first live performance since the pandemic began.


The presentation will include familiar favorites from her recording A Midwinter Night’s Dream as well as some lesser-known, winter and Christmas carols from To Drive The Cold Winter Away.


Special guest and Gemini Award-winning actor Cedric Smith will read from A Child’s Christmas in Wales.


Loreena will be joined by her long-time musical companion, British cellist Caroline Lavelle, Stratford-based band The Bookends, local percussionist Graham Hargrove, and Ojibway artist and flautist Jeffrey “Red” George.  


The concerts will be held in the sanctuary of the beautiful Knox Church, a historic building in Stratford whose origins date back to 1844.


“I really wanted to recapture some of the frankincense and myrrh in this music and the process was a fresh reminder of the diversity of so many traditions when it comes to music of the winter season,” Loreena explains. “The songs are rich with abundant references to the natural world and connections to our spiritual and religious bearings; it’s clear that people have always used winter as a time of reflection.”


Concert capacity will be limited to 50 per cent (400 people). Proof of double vaccination will be required and masks must be worn. Tickets will be available online with designated seating areas and various price ranges.


Knox Church is a fitting venue for the concert. As McKennitt writes in her liner notes from To Drive The Cold Winter Away, “As a child, my most vivid impression of music for the winter season came from songs and carols sung in churches or great halls, rich with their own unique ambience and tradition.


Some songs she’ll perform will be infused with the revelry which can come with the season, while other pieces will be less familiar and in some cases date back several hundred years to Ireland and Scotland. “Some arrangements are sparse,” she acknowledges in the liner notes, “but somehow I felt that reflected the dynamics of the fall and winter seasons and that there can be much beauty in such simplicity.”


The Bookends are a Celtic folk band with their own distinctive musical interpretations. Band members performing will include Pete Watson on guitar, Cait Watson on whistle and Errol Fischer on fiddle.


The concerts coincide with Lights On Stratford: Winter Festival of Lights which runs from Dec. 17 to Jan. 28, transforming Stratford’s heritage downtown and park system with luminous art and interactive light installations.


A portion of proceeds will be donated to Stratford-Perth Shelterlink which supports homeless or at-risk youth.