Arts on 817 concludes season four of local concert series

The Fretless, who made their debut appearance in Strathmore, capped off Season 4 of the Arts on 817 at the Strathmore United Church on Sept. 30.

“They were originally supposed to play on Jan. 28, 2022, but then the Omicron wave hit and so they had to cancel their performance,” said Carolyn Steeves, artistic director of Arts on 817. “It was their first time in Strathmore, but they have played in the Calgary area a number of times or in communities close by.”

Steeves said she had a great deal of excitement for the string quartet to be coming to Strathmore. The group specializes in grassroots and folk music.

“They are also all amazing improvisers and amazing musicians, so their concerts are absolutely fabulous. In 2017 they won their first Juno for instrumental album of the year,” said Steeves.

The Fretless have currently been touring with vocalist Madeleine Rodger, who also adds an acoustic guitar to the band. The band by themselves sport two violins, a viola and a cello.

During the concert on Sept. 30, Steeves announced the launch of Arts on 817 season five, which will consist of six concerts over the course of 2022 and 2023.

“The concert series will start in November, then there will be one in December, February, March, April and May,” said Steeves. “Season 4 was a struggle because of COVID-19 … we weren’t able to pull off a lot of concerts, so we are just thrilled to be hosting another season post pandemic.”

Steeves added the audience base for Arts on 817 concerts boasted roughly 100 season ticket holders, as well as those who chose to attend concerts as one-offs. Generally, seating in the Strathmore United Church was close to max capacity for each concert.

“I think our Season 4, which was of course a crazy season being with Omicron, we (still) had around 85 season ticket holders. I don’t know what it will be this time around but it’s nice to have that season ticket base.”

Arts on 817 concerts tend to range in genre from folk to classical music to comedy, but is not limited to that selection.

More details about the upcoming season five will be available through The Vault Cultural Collective’s website.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times