It’s a bit like doing genealogy, actually—the surprise of finding out that a distant great great uncle played two games for Les Canadiens back in the ‘30’s, or that your mother’s family came from staunch United Empire Loyalist stock. It seems that any number of delights can lurk about in our shady pasts…
Only this time it involves looking at the groups who have performed on Deep Cove’s stage over its 34 year tenure.
A case in point is our upcoming feature for February 10, the Vancouver-based group Fraser Union. I find it remarkable that one of the earliest members of this group was none other than our own Jill King who was described at our last club as Deep Cove’s grandmother. Jill drew the lucky winning numbers for the door prize raffle. Back in the ‘80s she left Fraser Unionto move to the Island, where she soon became the driving force behind the formation of Deep Cove Folk. How cool is that—a genealogical circle! Here’s the evidence:
That’s Jill at the mic as part of Fraser Union with former members Henk Piket and Tam Lundy circa 1982 gazing off into the distance. Jill speculates that Henk and Tam are probably looking for Roger Holdstock, the one founding member of Fraser Union who’s still part of the group.
And like all geneaologies, there is considerable change as time marches on. Starting out as a 50/50 female/male group, Fraser Union eventually morphed into an all-male form and remained so for about 30 years, doing festivals (Vancouver Island MusicFest, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Filberg and so on), 4 CDs, countless benefits and innumerable folk clubs (including 4 performances at Deep Cove between 1992 and 2012). They became well-known for their dedication to traditional and local folk music.
Now, as it reaches what Roger calls its “mature years”, Fraser Union is back to being a mixed group. Long-standing member Barry Truter and founder Roger Holdstock, have been joined by Kathy Griffin who adds her fine voice and harmony arrangements. This is not only a change in gender balance, but it also signals a shift in musical direction as the group updates its sound to reflect more contemporary tastes. Kathy is the ideal person to carry the Union into this next phase: she was the first female in the acclaimed a cappella chorus The Vancouver Thunderbirds and in the award-winning (otherwise male) a cappella quartet Second Inversion.
So, as it is with family genealogies, we see Fraser Union ducking and weaving with the times, adapting old material to new forms, adding new material, and working creatively to forge new melodic pathways. It will be a treat to see the musical gems that emerge from this new version of the Union. Please come and join us.