On Dec. 10, legendary Canadian performer Tom Jackson brings The Huron Carole “Path to a Miracle” to the Esplanade Stage in Medicine Hat and at the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current Dec. 11. The Huron Carole “Path to a Miracle” is a seasonal music tradition spanning more than three decades touring from coast-to-coast.
On Nov. 23, he was on the Empress Stage in Fort Macleod.
Expect an evening of contemporary and signature Christmas music, along with stories creatively crafted by Jackson and award-winning musicians including Tom McKillip, Darryl Havers, John MacArthur Ellis, Kirby Barber and Chris “the wrist” Nordquist. This performance will be one of 17 across Canada raising funds for local food banks and family service agencies.
Jackson, founder of The Huron Carole Benefit Concert Series is a musician, beloved TV personality (“North of 60,” “Star Trek,” and “Law and Order”) and long-time champion for the marginalized. Having experienced life on the streets himself, he discovered music was a way to help others.
During last year's tour, Tom and company were collecting messages of joy. “We kind of had this under-riding theme of every place we went we collected messages and carried those messages,” he said, with the messages being sent from one tour stop to the next destination.
“Path to a Miracle” is this year's theme, Jackson noted. “This comes out of a lot of the work I've been involved in the last year with a lot of the social service agencies.”
“It was really an epiphany for me. I can't overstate it - how peoples' lives can transition from obliqueness to a brightness in such a short period of time, if you give them the path. If they have the opportunity to make a decision and create a mindset they can create love, joy, compassion and empathy. They can do that in a very short period of time,” Jackson added.
With $230 million in combined cash/in-kind value for food banks and disaster relief raised to date, Jackson is currently an ambassador for the Red Cross, has been inducted as an officer of the Order of Canada, received a Juno Humanitarian Award, received a Gemini Humanitarian Award and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.
Jackson said when he gets the chance to talk with someone one-on-one who would like to perhaps change their path in life, “Sometimes we start off crying, but we end up singing.”
“It's not a fantasy to create a path if you know how to. Part of our journey this year, along with delivering a new visual, a new verb for the Christmas spirit – we actually get to engage with the audience in real-time and arm them with a defence against those negative and toxic 'tricksters,'” he said.
Jackson noted this year's tour is blessed with a new and fresh ensemble, as it is each and every year on the road. “The one consistent for me is Tom McKillip, who is my musical director, and has been for 20 years. He usually assembles the group of musicians.” This year, the musicians are from Vancouver.
“Each one of them is an award-winning musician,” he added. “I can't express enough about how this translates for the audience – an energy and a spirit. If you've lost a bit, if it's not as bright - that little flame, that little spark - this will reignite it. If we can reignite the spark, we reignite the flame, we reignite the fire and we reignite the fury of what it means to understand the gift is in the giving,” Jackson explained.
McKillip is an award-winning producer, musician, music director and event producer. He has worked with Lisa Brokop, One More Girl, Aaron Pritchett and Susan Aglukark. McKillip also served as music director of the CCMAs - a nationally-televised annual awards show for twelve years.
Darryl Havers is a 40-year veteran of the Canadian music scene. He is a first-call session keyboardist in Vancouver and has toured with such Canadian luminaries as Doug and the Slugs, Powder Blues Band and Colin James.
In addition to being an award-winning multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, John MacArthur Ellis is also one of Canada’s top record producers known for capturing the hottest sounds in the Americana, Alt Country, Folk, Singer/Songwriter and Roots Rock genres. Ellis has also toured and shared the stage with Bruce Cockburn, Doc Walker, Barney Bentall and Leeroy Stagger.
Kirby Barber has received the “Bass Player of the Year Award” for multiple years and was a CCMA “Bass Player of the Year” nominee. She is also a two-time Juno Award nominee with the bluegrass group The High Bar Gang.
Chris Nordquist has performed with many blues legends including Bo Diddley, John Primer from Muddy Waters and Rick Vito from Fleetwood Mac. Nordquist has been nominated multiple times for the “Maple Blues Drummer of the Year” and is currently the artistic director of the Pender Harbour Roots and Blues Festival.
Because The Huron Carole is fresh every year, Jackson said it doesn't seem cold or it doesn't wear off. “It's just such a joy to be able to engage in real-time with an audience,” he said. “I say consistently and it's so important for me to deliver this message – I love you. I can't do what I do without you.”
“Path to a Miracle” begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $42.25, which includes all fees and taxes. Tickets can be purchased online at tixx.ca.
He will also be in Calgary the following days
Dec. 1: 5 p.m. Calgary, The Grand Theatre, Making Treaty 7.
Dec. 3: 7:30 p.m., Calgary, Bella Concert Hall, MRU Alpha House
Dec. 5: 6:30 p.m., Calgary, Flores & Pine, The Magic of Christmas