NAC Presents Sessions: An opportunity like no other for Canadian artists and audiences.

Lynn Miles © Scott Doubt

Lynn Miles felt it the moment she walked on stage at Southam Hall for the first time in her career.  The JUNO award-winning singer/songwriter was there to rehearse her songs and new orchestral arrangements with the NAC Orchestra.

“I felt so supported and comfortable,” Lynn shares.  “The rehearsal felt easy.  This was a new experience for me and the Orchestra had my back all the way.”

The rehearsal was a success and so was the concert that followed.  “I got so much love from the audience,” Lynn recalls. “To play in my hometown in what is essentially my Carnegie Hall with the NAC Orchestra backing me was a career highlight I’ll never forget.”

The concert was part of Sessions, a new series from NAC Presents where Canadian artists perform with the NAC Orchestra in Southam Hall.  “Many artists are looking for something different in their careers such as the opportunity to perform with an orchestra,” says Heather Gibson, Executive Producer of NAC Presents.  “Sometimes they come with charts, sometimes, as in Lynn’s case, we commission them.  This adds another layer to an artist’s repertoire in that they now have those arrangements to perform with other orchestras.” 

Lynn chose Peter Kiesewalter, a musical director in New York City, to orchestrate her songs for Sessions.  “I gave Peter free range and he did some grand arrangements,” says Lynn.  “There were horn parts in there I never would have imagined.  To hear someone else’s vision of where your song can go is really exciting.”

Heather says providing opportunities like this one for Canadian singer/songwriters is the epitome of what she wants the series to be.  “It gives artists a new look at their songs and a greater scope to their art form,” she says. “Lynn has a massive repertoire of her own material but she’s never done something like this before.  I hope it will open new avenues for her.”

Sessions also has benefits for the Orchestra, exposing them to potential new audiences and providing them with the chance to do something a little different from their usual repertoire.  “We got such positive feedback from the NAC Orchestra,” Heather says.  “They were really pleased with Lynn’s performance and the opportunity to get to know more of the Canadian fabric of this side of the music industry.”

There will be more Sessions in the future – Heather plans to present three or four concerts a year – and she encourages fans of both the artists and the NAC Orchestra to attend.  “It’s something special you won’t see again,” she promises.  “It’s a chance to see an artist and the Orchestra in a different light, to experience high quality art in a unique environment.”

Meanwhile, Lynn is thankful for the experience.  “I’ve been coming to the NAC since I was 17-years-old.  With Sessions I got to stand on the same stage as Leonard Cohen which was hugely inspiring,” she says.  “I want to thank everyone involved in giving me this opportunity, including generous donors.  You gave me one of my best times on stage.”

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