Hoyt mixes classics with new songs to celebrate the season


Music | by Tamara Harder

Lizzy Hoyt: Ancient Carols For A Winter’s Night
Regina Unitarian Fellowship Church
Saturday 3

Lizzy Hoyt is a classically trained violinist turned fiddle player who blends Celtic, bluegrass, and folk influences to create her own music and perform classics with a modern twist. The Winnipeg-based artist’s Christmas tour, Ancient Carols for a Winter’s Night, showcases a mix of well-known and obscure Christmas carols with a few originals thrown in. Hoyt will perform Ancient Carols for a Winter’s Night with Keith Rempel on upright bass and harmony vocals, Chris Tabbert on acoustic guitar and mandolin, and members of the Regina Pipe Band as special guests at the Regina Unitarian Fellowship Church on Saturday, Dec. 3.I spoke with her in advance of the tour.

Why a Christmas tour?

I love Christmas! I think about Christmas all year round and didn’t understand people who say they get sick of Christmas music. Then, I was in a mall shopping and heard the common Christmas carols on repeat and understood that Christmas music can be awful and repetitive. But it can also be interesting and be used as a vehicle to connect us to another time. Some of the carols being performed in this show were written as pagan melodies that then had Christian words added. I’m very excited to share my personal connection to this music as well as the enthusiasm I have for these songs and their history.

Why did you choose to include members of the Regina Pipe Band in the performance?

I love the sound of the pipes and think they’re a nice addition to a Christmas show. I also like including a local special guest to help make the show more personal for the audience. I think personal connections are so important over the holidays. I also think it’s a nice way to collaborate with local artists and highlight their talents in their own community.

How has your work changed from your albums My Red Shoes (2007) to New Girl on the Prairie (2014)?

On My Red Shoes I considered myself a fiddle player. The album was full of traditional fiddle tunes with only one original composition. Now, I consider myself a singer, a songwriter and a composer of instrumentals. I love continuing to learn the traditional tunes, but I feel it’s important to keep adding to that tradition and keeping it alive with new compositions.

There are some French tracks on A Christmas Song (2011) and New Girl on the Prairie. What made you decide to sing in French?

My grandmother is French Canadian from Gravelbourg. I studied French immersion in school and did an exchange to France when I was in university. As my music has grown and developed, I wanted to make a conscious effort to write and share songs that have a personal connection to me. I wanted to share the French Canadian history that we have and acknowledge that it is part of my roots as well.

You visited 30 countries by the time you were 29. What country is next on your list?

Well, first I have to save some money, but my top three would be Peru to see Machu Picchu, Egypt and Israel.

What is it about Weekend at Bernie’s that makes it one of your favourite movies?

It’s the absurdity of it all. I laugh out loud every time I watch it. It’s so dark and yet so funny.

What’s your favourite thing to cook?

The entire Hoyt family is known for making exceptional salads. So I would have to say a salad. My stuffing is also really good.