by Scott Roos
pictures by Deanna Roos
This past Saturday, July 31st, on the idyllic Trudel family farm, the Trudel Family held what they were calling a “Jamboree” in front of a modest audience of mostly family and friends. It was a warm day but with a gentle breeze blowing, plenty of shade, and generous portions of top quality performers on stage like Rod Gjerde, Claire Schira and Will Ballantyne among others, it was a very entertaining experience. Ballantyne, from Unity, Saskatchewan, with his Randy Travis-esque country crooning, was indeed a pleasant surprise. For the Trudels, who "headlined" the event, it was the first time all six had taken the stage together in over two years but you wouldn't have known it as they cycled through many of their favourite songs and seemed, in general, to have not missed a beat in the time they've have been spent away.
*Ballantyne was gracious enough to pose for some shots after his set
“I think I can speak for everyone in the family by saying we missed doing this so much. It felt incredible being together. The last time we were on stage as a family together was two Christmases ago in 2019 so our voices were shaky, fingers were slow but it was medicine for our souls. We absolutely loved having some of our good friends on stage and are always blown away by their talent,” said Janice Trudel in a brief conversation after the event.
As restrictions have eased, the Trudels’ story has been a common one. Artists across all genres have missed performing in front of that coveted live audience. Many been able to make due with shows here and there in front of smaller audiences or online, but it just hasn’t been the same. In the case of the Trudels, however, life got in the way.
“This past year and half I found all four kids back home. You would have thought we would have played but we gutted our basement, our music room,” Janice explained, “We have all enjoyed having a bit of time off. Our boys especially do not remember having summers off. We gigged at least 3 weekends a month for the past 12 years.”
It was a great day all around and NSMZ was there to capture a moment in time that won’t soon be forgotten, especially for the Trudels as eldest daughter Janaya prepares to move to Colville Lake in the Northwest Territories. For some, the departure of a band member might prove to be a bittersweet moment but to the Trudels the show will go on and Janaya no doubt will share the stage with the rest of her family sooner as opposed to later.
“Yes, Janaya will be gone for nine months or so, but to everything there is a season. If opportunities present themselves we will see what happens. As any family band knows, you go through different times of shifting and growing. As the kids grew and were discovering their likes and talents, they moved from one instrument to another. When our oldest graduated it was like holding one foot out mid stride and trusting it was going to land on solid ground. We adapted to not having her around and kept playing,” remarked Janice.
In the meantime, Jay & Jo are planning on releasing a new record and have completed the crowdfunding for the project, so there’s still lots to look forward to.