Soothing low-tones float through the crowd as they gather on stage alongside the performer and his acoustic guitar, illuminated by tea-light candles as he sits atop the rafters.
The Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society presents William Prince Nov. 29-30. Prince is the first performer in the Society’s 2017/18 on stage concert series.
“With the audience seated cabaret style on stage, our on stage concert series allows for audiences to relax and enjoy an up-close and personal concert in this intimate venue,” said Keyanna Burgher, audience development officer.
Prince’s performance marks the first time the Society has brought in an on stage performer for more than one night.
“It always sold out so fast,” Burgher said. “It’s such a cool experience and we wanted to give more people the opportunity to see it.”
With a 2017 Juno Award for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year for his debut release Earthly Days under his belt alongside a Western Canadian Music Award for Aboriginal Artist of the Year in 2016, a nomination for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year at the 12th Canadian Folk Music Awards and a Sirius XM Natoinal Aboriginal Music Countdown Top 40 chart-topper in the form of his single The Carny, Prince has garnered national-renown and respect in his folk-roots career.
“Prince is an honest storyteller at heart,” Burgher said of the Peguis First Nation in Winnipeg product. “Delivered with smooth baritone vocals, his powerful lyrics communicate personal histories as well as the First Nations’ seven sacred teachings.”
And it’s his up-and-coming nature that the Society sought for their on stage concert series.
“It’s always a Canadian artist and they’re always up-and-coming,” Burgher said. “We hope to expose Vernon to new, great music.”
Drawing inspiration from country-icon Johnny Cash — once saying that Tennessee Flat Top Box is the reason he learned to pick the strings — Prince’s voice is reminiscent of Canadian singer/songwriter great Leonard Cohen. However, it’s Prince’s iconic and unique style that has helped carve his path as a troubadour in the indigenous music scene.
In support of local indigenous students, Prince will hold an exclusive workshop for a group comprised of Seaton Secondary Aboriginal Education and Okanagan Indian Band Cultural Immersion School students Wednesday, Nov. 28.
“It’s kind of inspiring for kids who are interested in music. He’s a super easy going guy. He loves kids; kids love him. He’s a storyteller,” Burgher said.
“If you listen to his music, you will realize that you have to go.”
Prince takes the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre stage Nov. 29-30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for William Prince: On Stage Concert are $30, available through the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca. Tickets include a complimentary cocktail form Okanagan Spirits.