By Niomi Pearson – Ladysmith Chronicle
On Friday, Sept. 23, Allison Crowe and Lena Birtwhistle will share the stage for a celebration of love, music and home.
According to Crowe, the Autumn Show got started when local resident Jayse Van Rooyen sent her a letter about the upcoming anniversary of Sue Bonde and Guy Wolfe, Van Rooyen’s mother and step-father. The couple are avid Crowe fans and Rooyen was eager to surprise them with a special concert.
Crowe, who’s company, Rubenesque Records celebrated its 10-year-anniversary in August, was happy to agree to a performance, as she was already coming back to visit her hometown of Nanaimo to do some recording.
“I had been planning to do some sort of show at some point somewhere,” she said.
Cue in local musician Lena Birtwistle, who has opened for Crowe’s West Coast concerts for the past five years, and a show was born.
“It will be a heartfelt, moving night,” Birtwhistle said. “A lot of laughing, lots of very powerful music and probably a lot of good vibes.”
Both Crowe and Birtwhistle will perform their sets on guitar and the church’s grand piano and plan to play a mix of originals and covers.
“That will be really awesome for me. The only time I ever get to play on a grand piano is when I’m opening for Allison,” Birtwhistle said.
Birtwhistle recalls feeling both nervous and excited during her first time opening a concert for Crowe.
“I thought ‘Wow, she’s so powerful’,” she said. “We connected then and we’ve stayed in touch the whole time since and it’s so great to see her every time she comes back because she’s so fun and quirky.”
Like many musicians, Crowe was gifted with a passion for music at a young age.
“I always loved it and when I was little I grew up around a lot of music,” she said. “At family parties I always saw people playing music and I wanted to do that myself, and then I did. I was performing professionally before I graduated high school.”
“I was always into band and all the musical classes and theatre, often, to the detriment of my studies.”
Now a resident of Newfoundland, Crowe tours primarily Eastern Canada and Europe but is always eager to come home to friends and family.
Allison Crowe and Lena Birtwhistle perform at the Ladysmith First United Church September 23. Advance tickets are $20 general admission ($22 at the door) and $15 for students and seniors ($17 at the door).
They are now available at Bean Time Cafe, Salamander Books and Toad Hall Emporium.
“It’s such a thoughtful event,” Birtwhistle said.
“It will bring out a lot of happy people that really want to show their support not only for the music but for Jayse’s parents as well.”