Known as the “high energy band” from Winnipeg, “House of Doc” did not disappoint the small but enthusiastic audience at Cornell Farms last Saturday evening.
The barn was really rocking as the young musicians skillfully incorporated elements of roots-folk-bluegrass-gospel-blues-old-time-Celtic and Canadiana music to produce a contemporary sound that quickly had those in attendance tapping their feet.
Coming from a Mennonite background, Dan Wiebe and his sister, Rebecca Harder, have been singing along with the entire Wiebe family, on Sunday mornings since their early childhood. Along with Rebecca’s husband, Matthew, and David Graham, the newest member of the band, this talented quartet amazed the audience in the barn with some close-knit four part harmony. Although the “House of Doc” members are all extremely skillful of various instruments such as; banjo, flute, penny whistle, mandolin, guitar, fiddle, bass and accordion, and their instrumental agility is a joy to listen to, the groups’ strength still lies in their “stripped down” a cappella style.
Traditional songs such as “Children Go Where I Send You” not only highlighted their vocal abilities but touched the hearts of everyone in attendance.
Equally poignant was a song called “The Poet” written by Matthew Harder in memory of his grandfather. Although he tended to make light of his background, Harder’s love for his family, shone through this wonderful piece and several others.
“The idea for this song came to me as the cousins all stood around our Opa’s coffin,” he explained. “He was the poet laureate of our family and as much as we dreaded his long winded recitations, we would have given anything to hear just one more poem from the poet.”
After explaining the background of this touching song, Harder invited the audience to sing “Amazing Grace” as he sang the lyrics he wrote in tribute to his grandfather. The results left those in attendance almost breathless.
“House of Doc,” named for the homestead of their grandfather, David “Doc” Schroeder, filled the barn on Saturday, July 31 with their energy, their musical abilities and their obvious love of family and received a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd for their efforts.
The group ended with an amazing piece based on a familiar Mennonite hymn and an old Irish drinking song both of which shared a common melody.
Although it seemed odd to some that these two songs should be combined, the arrangement showcased the obvious musical talents of this remarkable group and left those in attendance wanting more.