Glass Tiger tops new season of ‘Tour de Fort’

Duane Hicks

Having just wrapped up another successful season with the Peter Katz/Ian Kelly concert Friday night at the Townshend Theatre, “Tour de Fort” already is looking ahead to a new and exciting series starting this fall, which will include Canadian rock band Glass Tiger.
The 2017-18 season will kick off with “The Way We Feel,” a concert celebration of the songs of Gordon Lightfoot, on Monday, Sept. 25.
This is an annual live concert celebration of the songs of Lightfoot now in its 13th year, conceived and co-ordinated by folk artist Jory Nash.
The confirmed lineup coming to Fort Frances includes Nash, Katz, Kevin Fox, Lori Cullen, and Oh Susanna.
This will be followed by Glass Tiger on Thursday, Oct. 19.
Glass Tiger is best remembered from the mid-1980s through the early ’90s for hits such as “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone),” “Someday,” “You’re What I Look For,” “Diamond Sun,” “My Song,” and “My Town,” among others.
“Glass Tiger is, by far, the most recognizable name in the series,” said John Payne, “Tour de Fort” programming and hospitality director, who shares in the programming duties with his wife and “Tour de Fort” secretary, Sheri Payne.
“They are Canadian icons that have toured and been recognized around the world,” he noted.
“We are very excited to have them as a part of our season, and I am sure that they will be the big draw for the series,” added Payne.
Acclaimed blues artist Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar then will take the stage on Friday, Nov. 3.
Vancouver-based indie folk collective The Fugitives will perform next on Thursday, Jan. 18, followed by “Prisoner of Tehran” on Tuesday, Feb. 13.
This latter performance, which is a synthesis of dance, theatre, and story-telling, is a unique collaboration between Marina Nemat and MOTUS O Dance Theatre.
“Prisoner of Tehran” tells the story of Nemat, who was born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran. As a teenager, she spent more than two years in Evin, a political prison in Tehran, where she was tortured and came very close to execution.
Nemat came to Canada in 1991 and has called it home ever since.
Her memoir, “Prisoner of Tehran,” became an international best-seller.
The Dirty Dishes, a Toronto-based, all-female trio, will wrap up the 2017-18 season on Wednesday, April 11 with their special brand of country, bluegrass, and gospel music.
Payne said passports for the 2017-18 series are on sale online at www.tourdefort.com/tickets.php, and also available at From the Grind Up here as of today.
“Tour de Fort” will keep the passport pricing at the “early bird” cost of $100 until Sept. 1, after which time they will be $125.
At $100 for six shows, that translates to less than $17 per show, noted Payne.
While not part of its passport series, “Tour de Fort” will be hosting one more show this season when Union Duke performs here on Friday, May 12.
Tickets cost $15 advance or $20 at the door, and currently are available at From the Grind Up.
‘Incredible’ season
Looking back at the recently-completed passport series, “Tour de Fort” and passports-holders alike were very pleased.
“Passport sales were incredible this season as we sold over 300 passports,” enthused Payne.
“With sponsorship commitments and artist holds, that is virtually a sell-out, which is why we were unable to provide individual tickets for the shows this season,” he explained.
“This is likely to be the case for next season, as well, judging from the reception of the lineup and the initial passport sales at the [Katz] show,” added Payne.
He remarked that “the talent this season was incredible.”
“Start to finish the shows were great,” Payne said. “The audience was very engaged at each show.
“We received many compliments on the season from the audience, and even made it into the ‘Cheers and Jeers’ section of the paper for the majority of our shows.”
The artists also enjoyed their brief visits to Fort Frances, and many expressed an interest to come back for another show.
There were so many highlights this season, it is hard to pick one show, admitted Payne.
“Alysha Brilla was an amazing start to the season [in September], and her delivery and story-telling from the stage was incredible,” he remarked.
Being a part of a national tour for Terri Clark on Oct. 11 also was an honour.
“She was a true professional, and the intimate acoustic show that she brought to the Townshend Theatre was something that you would usually only get to see in a much larger series,” noted Payne.
“Boreal–Tannis Slimmon, Katherine Wheatley, and Jude Vadala–made an instant connection with the audience and have continued to stay in contact with us,” he continued.
The Fitzgerald Family (also known as “Everything Fitz”) created a “buzz” in the audience with their remarkable step-dancing and fiddle playing back on Jan. 22, said Payne.
Meanwhile, Rebecca Perry charmed the audience with her acclaimed comedy, “Confessions of Redheaded Coffee Shop Girl.”
She also performed her show, “From Judy to Bette,” for the residents at Rainycrest when she was here in March.
“This was our first time branching out our series to residents that normally would not be able to make it to our shows, and something that we will be continuing in our future,” Payne said of the “bonus show” at Rainycrest.
The season wrapped up this past Friday with Katz and Kelly, and they “had an instant connection with the audience,” he added.
Payne stressed “Tour de Fort” continues to be a way for people to see “great acts in our community that you normally would not have access to, or you wouldn’t necessarily go see because they are not instantly recognizable.”
“Tour de Fort” also is expanding its focus to bring in diverse acts while working on building its place in the community with things like hosting a show at Rainycrest for the residents.
It also provides a bursary for a graduating Fort High student who is continuing their studies in the arts.
“We have joined forces with ‘Kids and Company’ and the Rainy River District School Board for next season to present a very important show [‘Prisoner of Tehran’] to both our audience and the high school students,” noted Payne.
“And [we] are hoping that this will lead to more opportunities to partner with other organizations in the future.
“‘Tour de Fort’ is a non-profit organization that would not be possible without the generous support we have received from our long list of sponsors, funding from Canada Heritage, the community that continues to come out for our shows, and the incredible team of volunteers that work very hard to bring the arts to our town,” Payne concluded.