It seems Rosslanders are feeling the absence of the Old Firehall and the musical acts that once populated it, as small-scale outdoor concerts have been popping up around town this summer. One such casual event took place at the Moen household on Saturday night, where local folk group Pickled Thistle shared stage time with Montreal trio Sapo.
The natural bowl shape of the Moen’s garden made for perfect ampitheatre-style seating, and the casual vibe of the affair suited the musical stylings well. Andrew Bennett and his fiddle joined Pickled Thistle duo Janet (accordian, harp and vocals) and Terry Marshall (guitar and vocals) as they opened the show with folky classics.
Sapo entertained the crowd with a mix of earthy music and theatrical interludes. The Montreal-based trio cycled through a variety of instruments, from accordion to ukelele to clarinet, underscored by extremely creative percussion using household items. At one point, percussionist Brownita Chiquita (known in the past as Bronwen Moen) uses mixing bowls, a whisk and an egg timer to keep the beat through a pie-baking story song.
When Bronwen contacted her parents about an upcoming Sapo road tour from Montreal to Vancouver, the Moen’s decided to host the band in their sizable garden as they passed through the Kootenays. It’s not the first time the family has transformed their green space into a stage; the Moen’s son is also a musician whose band has graced the backyard grass in summers passed.
What motivated the hosts to put on a concert? “We haven’t been in Rossland very long,” Mara Moen explains, “We thought it was a good way to get to know people in the community. And now that the Firehall has closed there are less musical acts in town. We aren’t the only ones doing it, there are three or four other families. Now imagine if there were twenty, putting on one concert each? Wouldn’t that be great?”
It’s certainly something for ample-yarded Rosslanders to think about.