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Homegrown talent returning for holiday concert

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Tara Jeffrey

When Preetam Sengupta wanted to organize a holiday concert in his hometown, he reached out to a couple of fellow Northern grads in the music industry.

“The three of us had been talking about getting home and playing a show for the holidays” Sengupta said of pals Andrew Austin and Donovan Woods.

“And then we had Emm (Gryner) jump on board.”

Preetam Sengupta
Preetam Sengupta

Two more artists were added — Robyn Dell’Unto and Ambre McLean — rounding out the Dec. 12 Sarnia Library concert, “It’s Great to be Home … For the Holidays.”

The best part, said Sengupta — a singer-songwriter and founder of Letting Artists Make Art (LAMA) — is that all five performers have a local connection, though Woods had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict.

“We’ve all got local ties,” he said. “That’s kind of why we wanted to put this together.

“Everyone has remarkably different styles, so you’re not going to get the same thing

Emm Gryner
Emm Gryner

twice.”

Gryner, a Forest native, is probably the biggest draw, Sengupta noted.

“She’s played with David Bowie,” he said. “And she’s friends with Chris Hadfield, which, I think is the coolest thing about her.”

Austin, a singer-songwriter from Sarnia, is “that guy that everyone has heard but nobody really knows that they’ve heard him,” said Sengupta, pointing to the former Canadian Idol contestant’s work on everything from Tim Hortons ads to The Family Channel. “He’s one

Robyn Dell’Unto
Robyn Dell’Unto

of my favourite songwriters.”

Dell’Unto, an indie-pop singer-songwriter, is actually from Toronto, but her husband is from Sarnia, where they were married recently.

“She is a killer songwriter and has turned into a great producer now as well,” said Sengupta.

Award-winning singer-songwriter Ambre McLean is known for her live looping on stage, “which is really fun to hear if you’ve never heard it before,” said Sengupta, noting McLean

Andrew Austin
Andrew Austin

lives in Chatham.

“We figured that was close enough to being local,” he added with a laugh. “There’s usually at least a few ‘wows’ coming out of mouths in the audience — she’s just a powerful voice and a really great writer.”

Sengupta, meanwhile, will take the stage with his signature “melodic storytelling.”

“That’s how people have described it, which I think is really fitting,” he said. “That’s what I’m trying to do — tell stories.”

Ambre McLean
Ambre McLean

“It’s Great to be Home…for the Holidays” is at Sarnia Library Theatre.

“That theatre is one of the nicest sounding rooms I’ve been in,” said Sengupta. “This is something we’d like to do as an annual event if enough people want to come.

“It’s a nice way to give back to where we all call home.”

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: It’s Great to be Home…for the Holidays Concert

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 12. Doors open 6:15 p.m., show at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Sarnia Public Library

OTHER: Tickets and more at www.itsgreattobehome.ca or call 226-932-7088. Northern Collegiate students hosting a bake sale fundraiser pre-show and at intermission.

 

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