My dad’s family is from the Cypress Hills and I spent the first seven years of my life there. For that reason alone, Maple Creek was on my tour list.
But I also knew that Maple Creek has an arts scene. It stretches back a ways, but there are new things happening, too. There’s a new art gallery, called the Broken Spoke, that we visited while we were there. And Maple Creek has been busy restoring the historic buildings in town, which speaks to the importance locals place on their culture and history.
I had a hunch we might get a few extra people because of this arts scene That hunch was correct – along with my extended family, their family, and a couple of other people I knew, we did get a few strangers. And they loved the show and got what we were doing.
The venue itself was also lovely. I booked a room at the Jasper Centre, an old brick building that was originally an elementary school (I think I went to Kindergarten there for part of the year, and took ballet lessons in the same building). These days it’s a museum, and they rent rooms for meetings and events. I paid $45, which included coffee and tea and about three hours of time.
Cathy, who took the booking, thought the ballet room would be best. When Carmen did sound check, I realized this was the perfect room for us.
Carmen’s voice and guitar vibrated along the tin ceiling. It sounded like she was singing in a cathedral. I wished we’d brought something to record that show, to capture that angelic reverb. It was so unexpected and beautiful.
I think every singer-songwriter from the Prairies should try out this room. Cathy is lovely to deal with, and sings herself, so she has a good idea of what musicians needs. It’s also worth asking her how to promote the event beforehand.
A highly recommended venue.