Renowned family entertainer Fred Penner will be performing at the Rainy Lake Square here tomorrow (June 14) from 6-8 p.m.
Admission is free but it is recommended those attending bring along a lawn chair.
The Winnipeg-based artist, who is touring Canada, performed at the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival before arriving in Fort Frances. Then it’s off to Stouffville, Ont.
“It’s pretty sporadic,” Penner admitted. “My touring tends to bounce around a bit, depending on the events.”
He added the tour will take him coast-to-coast as he performed in Whistler, B.C. earlier this year and will be in St. John’s, Nfld. in August.
“It’s continual national touring,” Penner remarked.
The Rainy Lake Square performance is billed as family-friendly, and will showcase both tracks from his new album, “Hear the Music,” and old classics including “Sandwiches” and “The Cat Came Back.”
Earlier this year, Penner’s new album won a Juno Award for Children’s Album of the Year for 2018.
“I never anticipate anything in life and I never thought that I would even be in the category of Juno Award-winning anything when I began the career in the early ’80s, late ’70s,” Penner said.
“I do what I do because it’s important to me.
“I see the value of it in the eyes of the parents and the children and the grandparents,” he added.
The album, released late last year, features original music and collaborations, as well as Penner’s own children, who supplied some of the back-up vocals.
“It was a very–as projects are–a very collaborative process and it’s getting very positive responses,” he noted.
“Hear the Music” is the 13th album for Penner, who has been entertaining children–and adults–for more than 45 years.
When asked what gives him the drive to continue performing, Penner said it’s the audience’s continued support.
“If the phone isn’t ringing and people weren’t excited about seeing me in performance, then there would be no point in doing it,” he reasoned.
“It is all about entertaining, bringing a message to an audience, to the families, to the children.”
Penner also feels his late 1970’s release of “The Cat Came Back,” and then the children’s television show, “Fred Penner’s Place,” on CBC in 1985, sparked a popularity that has carried throughout the years.
“This circle of life, if you will, that’s carrying me along as the generations grow up and have their own kids,” Penner remarked.
“I’m very honoured to have been part of lives for as long as I have, and that continues to grow as the parents now want to give their kids what they had,” he added.
“I lucked out on that one, I think.”