by Scott Roos
This past Friday, June 24th, The Station Arts Centre Co-operative in Rosthern presented another concert as part of their “Live and Local” series. This time around, guest performer Dara Schindelka would be making use of the venue’s indoor theatre space. Similar to our last experience at The Station, the ambiance continues to be impressive. As with the more intimate coffee house style performance space that we saw The Local Group perform in a few weeks ago, the 175 seat theatre is also newly renovated. Acoustically sound and ideal for a mid-level talent wanting to stretch their musical legs in a soft seater environment, this venue continues to be one of the Saskatoon and surrounding area’s best kept secrets. Hopefully after concerts like Schindelka gave, the word will get out more.
The show opened with host Joe Callahan playing a brief set accompanied by friend Tim Campbell. The duo played four spirited, jazzy, bluesy, folksy tunes much to the delight of the modest crowd in attendance. One look at Callahan and you can tell a setting like this is not his first rodeo and Campbell was also up to the task. The two men were highly entertaining, each taking turns on vocals, accompanying themselves on acoustic guitars. Once their all too brief time on stage was done Callahan introduced Schindelka. It turns out, Schindelka has been on Callahan’s radar for a few years.
“All of my connections have been by happenstance,” related Schindelka in a brief conversation with NSMZ after the show. “He came two summers ago to see me play with The Northern Air as we were doing some shows that summer. Joe is a music guy from Belleville, Ontario and was just moving into Saskatoon where his kids are. He and his wife went to a Northern Air backyard concert that I was playing at and he found me online after and said 'I'd love to follow your career, help you and do whatever I can to see that you get to do more of your music'. So we've kind of chatted off and on. He's a great mentor for musicians.”
Mentorship is a key component of what Callahan has been doing at The Station since it reopened a few months ago. It’s great to see venues give emerging artists their chance to shine and shine is what Schindelka did. She has a big, almost theatrical voice at times which she comes by honestly due to the musical theatre training she’s had in a former life. There’s also a bit of a 90’s singer/songwriter vibe that comes across similar to an artist like Tori Amos or Ani Defranco and, from a more classic folk angle, an obvious idolization of Joni Mitchell.
Schindelka’s stage presence is also infectious which is probably challenging to do sitting behind her piano. She was engaging in between songs, sharing stories about how each original tune came to be or why the cover that she was about to perform meant so much to her. Her set, made up of many of the songs from her most recent album, entitled Saturn Returns, and previous album Thou Art Loosed was sprinkled with a few select cover tunes as well. She was very thought provoking and captivating throughout.
“ I'm a people person. I love sharing and kind of forging that relationship between the audience and the singer and in those kinds of shows like we had Friday night you know you've connected with the audience because they come up to you after at the table and talk about how they related to my songs and they share with me their own personal stories. you get real time interaction with people listening to your songs and giving you feedback about what it meant to them or different things,” said Schindelka.
Schindelka will be playing next at the Napatak Ramble in La Ronge on July 1st and 2nd. For more info on tickets and the lineup for this awesome festival check out their website: http://napatakramble.com/home/