Christmas with the Wainwrights and McGarrigles
Photo: Robert Charlebois and Rufus Wainwright during rehearsal. Credits: Gail Kenney
The MUHC Foundation was once again honoured to take part in this special benefit concert. Thanks to the generosity of donors, over $35,000 and counting was raised in support of The Kate McGarrigle Fund.
A talented array of 25 musicians took to the stage, led by Rufus and Martha Wainwright, and Anna McGarrigle. A charming set décor and eclectic holiday costumes filled the theatre as the Wainwrights, McGarrigles and special guests belted out their favourites Christmas classics in front of a packed house
Kate McGarrigle’s spirit was felt throughout the night, as her beloved family and friends paid tribute to this legendary singer-songwriter. An emotional rendition of Kate’s Proserpina sung by her children Rufus and Martha along with their aunt Anna captured the hearts of concert-goers. One month before her passing, Kate gathered the courage to perform her newly-written song at her final Wainwright-McGarrigle Christmas concert held in London, UK in December 2009. Kate also reunited with her group The Mountain City Four, as remaining members Jack Nissenson, Peter Weldon and Anna McGarrigle performed alongside a recording of Kate leading into the opening of one of their songs.
Mother-daughter duo Monique and Michèle Mercure brought down the house with an entertaining rendition of the holiday classic Baby It’s Cold Outside. Quebecois darling Chloé Ste-Marie showed off her incredible talent by singing some of her favourite songs including Petite annonce. One of the evenings’s most anticipated guests did not disappoint. Renowned artist Robert Charlebois dazzled the crowd when he performed some of his greatest hits, such as Je reviendrai à Montréal, Demain l’hiver and Marie-Noël, with Rufus and Martha Wainwright.
The essence of the holiday season was present from the first piano note through to the last guitar strum. Rufus Wainwright’s jazzy version of What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve and stunning rendition of O Holy Night (sung completely in French and without a microphone) were inspirational and heartfelt, and certainly would have made Kate proud. Not to be outdone, Martha Wainwright echoed her brother’s talent, and her gospel take on the timeless classic Mary had a Baby demonstrated her exquisite vocal ability and keen musical sense. Montrealers were introduced to the families’ next generation of singer-songwriters as Lucy Wainwright-Roche and Lily Lanken (daughter of Anna McGarrigle) performed solos in their own right. It truly was a family affair as the youngest of the Wainwright-McGarrigle clan, 2-year old Arcangelo (son of Martha Wainwright) even made an appearance on stage!
An intimate meet-and-greet featuring the performers took place after the show for exclusive $500 ticket holders, who also received a holiday gift bag filled with some of Kate’s favourite things.
With this concert, The Kate McGarrigle Fund has raised over $230,000 since its inception to support research in Sarcoma. A Not So Silent Night once again proved to be a resounding success, and the MUHC Foundation thanks everyone who supported this outstanding cause.
A special thanks to Wienstein & Gavinos and McAuslan Brewing for sponsoring the food and beer served at the post-concert cocktail.
Performers: Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Anna McGarrigle, Robert Charlebois, Monique Mercure, Michèle Mercure, Chloé Sainte-Marie, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Lily Lanken, The Kate McGarrigle Tribute Band, Jane McGarrigle, Chaim Tannenbaum, Joel Zifkin, Brad Albetta, Michel Pépin, Thomas Bartlett, Doug Wiselman and David Berger.