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1982

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CONCERTS & EVENTS

  • January - Rehearsals for London's Burning, Toronto.

  • February - Preparations for Yukon/BC tour, Toronto.

  • March - Watson Lake, Teslin, Whitehorse, Carmacks, Pelly Crossing, Elias, Dawson City, Faro, Haines Junction, Ross River, Destruction Bay, Beaver Creek, Whitehorse, Parksville, Port Alberni, Courtenay, and Campbell River.

  • March - Broadcast from the Orpheum, Vancouver. 

  • April - 8 youth concerts, Hamilton Place, Hamilton. 

  • October - 28 concerts in Cambridge & Huntsville.

  • October - Port Hardy, Boston Bar, Merritt, Dawson Creek, Calgary, Golden, Invermere, Drumheller, Prince Albert, Flin Flon, Thompson, The Pas, Pinawa, Geraldton, and Thunder Bay.

  • November - 2 shows at Pollack Hall, McGill University, Montreal.

  • December - Belleville, Orillia, Waterloo, Grimsby, Guelph, and Port Perry.

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Margaret, Andrew, and Leslie. The Huggett Family Trio is an affordable alternative for communities with smaller budgets.

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Live at the Vancouver Orpheum

LISTEN WHILE YOU BROWSE

This live recording of the Huggett Family at the Orpheum in Vancouver was their last date of a month-long Yukon and Vancouver Island tour. It is the only surviving recording that includes the quotes and witticisms that had become the hallmark of a Huggett Family show. And is an excellent example of the musical prowess attained by the group and its individual members. 

Due to a scheduling oversite on the part of the Orpheum administration, the Huggetts arrived at the theatre two hours before the show to find the Vancouver Symphony in mid-rehearsal. By the time the stage was struck, the Huggetts were left with a scant half hour for setup - barely enough time to unpack all their instruments and tune up before the doors opened.

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The Huggett Family onstage at the Orpheum in Vancouver. Along with sister theater, Massey Hall in Toronto, the Orpheum has the best acoustics in Canada. 

THE FINAL YEAR

Nineteen eighty-two will be the final year of activity for the Huggett Family. Again, work is restricted to a few months of concentrated touring so individuals can pursue their separate musical interests. Jennifer and Fiona extend their studies with new teachers in Toronto and share a house downtown with other musicians. Fiona spends the spring and summer playing in Montreal and with the AFM Cincinnati Congress of Strings. Jennifer flies to Banff for master classes with Hungarian-American cellist János Starker. Andrew continues his work in the recording industry, and Ian enrolls full-time at Waterloo University. Over the summer, Margaret and Leslie drive down to Annapolis in Maryland for the annual viol conclave.


The "A" House is the center for all music rehearsals and activities but now has room to spare. Heather Engli, the family's tour coordinator, moves into the granny flat downstairs. "By summer, it's obvious that this treasured period of our musical lives is ending," recalls Margaret.

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Fiona and Jennifer sequentially spent a summer with the AFM Congress of Strings in Cincinnati.

GRAND CANADA TOUR PART 2

THE YUKON

In March, the Huggett Family flies to the Yukon for a 2-week 28 concert tour organized and fully funded by the the Yukon Arts Council, the government recreation branch, and the Touring Office of The Canada Council as part of their mandate to bring the classical arts to the most isolated parts of the country. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Huggetts to experience some of Canada's most northern and isolated communities.

 

At every stop, the entire population, young and old, turn out for the show - except for on curling night, a Saturday in Faro, when there's a competition, and the total concert audience is eight.  

 

Daytime highs are in the minus 40s. The snow is so cold it grips the soles of your boots and the van's tires. The mountain peaks are more jagged than the southern Rockies, and the sky is brilliant blue.

 

The tour starts in Watson Lake, but there is only one rental Van in all the Yukon at the Avis dealer in Whitehorse. Andrew flies to Whitehorse and drives to Watson Lake to meet the others who fly in the following day during a snowstorm. Highways seem not to be plowed, and numerous vehicles are lying in ditches, many loaded with the household effects of Americans heading up to Alaska.

 

Margaret,"Obviously, we must drive cautiously. This tour will be mostly small and isolated communities, with usually a performance for the children in the afternoon and one for adults in the evening in whatever room or hall will accommodate us all. 

 

On the sixth day, we arrive at Elsa, where we're taken down the Keno Hill silver mine. The geology of the mine is unstable and incapable of supporting modern mining technics and the mine is still operated like it was when in 1880.

 

We wind our way through a wet and muddy warren of tunnels, and descend slippery ladders from one level to another. Finally, 300 feet down, we enter a small dark chamber where a single miner is drilling into the rock face with a pneumatic hammer drill. He takes 30 seconds to say hello and then returns to his work. There's no time to waste when you're being paid by the ton! 

 

We start our return climb to the surface. On the way back up, I am compared to a weasel as I clamber up and down the ladders. I assume this is a compliment! 

 

The next day we're in  Dawson City, where the buildings are listing in the unreliable permafrost. We visit Robert services log house and hear all about diamond tooth Gertie who sang to the miners ninety years ago.

 

Six stops later is Beaver Creek, where the Alaska Highway reaches the US border. This town is so small that we play for everyone together. The children are particularly intrigued by Jennifer's description of an Elizabethan lady's dress. We retrace our journey back to Whitehorse. Here, the headmaster is so pleased with how his children enjoy the show that he gives us the school handbell as a gift of appreciation. I still use it to call people to the table at mealtimes."

 

The Huggetts fly from Whitehorse to Vancouver and book into the historic Sylvia Hotel on English Bay. They have two free days before beginning a two-week tour for Overture concerts. 

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After a fine night's sleep, the Huggetts are ready for their two-week tour of the Yukon.

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Jennifer plays the viol for school children in Faro, Yukon.

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Margaret, Jennifer, Fiona, and Andrew in Dawson City which was built during the Klondike gold rush and made famous by authors Robert Service, Lack London, and Pierre Burton.

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Fiona in Watson Lake looking for Toronto in the famous "How Far From Here?" sign display.

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Haines Junction. Children make a wonderful audience the world over, always fascinated by the instruments, costumes, and stories.

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Margaret "The Weasel" Huggett, Andrew, and Fiona surface after an hour 300 feet below in the Elsa silver mine.

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The Yukon News, Monday, March 1, 1982

Huggett Family here to entrance Yukoners

Together, the Yukon Arts Council, the government recreation branch, and the touring office of the Canada Council have banded together to bring to Yukon the Huggett Family, a group of internationally known Renaissance musicians. |

For 12 years now, the Huggett Family has travelled across Canada and around the world, indoctrinating doubtful audiences into the world of 'Renaissance' music.

Anyone who has heard them previously knows what a treat their visit will be. They sing, they dance, and they play. With entertaining stories, quotes, and anecdotes, the colorfully costumed Huggett Family transports their audience back to the 16th Century, unfolding the secrets of the courtly age of the Renaissance.

This season, the group will perform more than 100 concerts across Canada -- 14 of which will be performed in Yukon. Their program for this tour is Renaissance Delight which features colorful tales, costumes, music, song and dance, and a fine sense of the theatrical.

The Huggett Family consists of parents Leslie and Margaret and three of their four children: Fiona, Jennifer, and Andrew. A typical evening with the Huggett family evolves around a theme - the court of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, or the time of Shakespeare. They enter in elaborate costumes and proceed to draw the audience into a bygone era with anecdotes, authentic dances, and delightful music. They all sing and play a gamut of instruments, with each piece forming a different ensemble. This early music, which can sound like stale musical leftovers, suddenly comes alive through their imaginative and expert presentation. The family has put a lot of work into their creation — they have studied with the finest Renaissance experts available. They learned how to sing and how to dance and even spent time learning about the social scene in those days. 

The term early music is a catchall one, covering six or seven centuries of history, during which Europe changed beyond all recognition. Starting with the Middle Ages, spanning the Renaissance and the Baroque

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periods, early music offers awealth of musical genius, and although the Huggett Family tends to favor the RensaisSance must, they are equally at home with Baroque and Middle Ages. Because of this versatility, they sometimes include all three time periods in one program. They give their audiences a lesson in history through music and their tales, which are amusing without having to resort to today's one-liners. Alan Gillmor, critic with

the Ottawa Citizen wrote of the Huggett Family "Musicianship sagacity witty and attractive; I now urge everyone with even the remotest love of music to hear this remarkable family." Anyone who has heard them before can only echo his words.The Huggett Family will be appearing in Watson Lake, Teslin, Elsa, Dawson City, Faro, Destruction Bay, and Whitehorse, beginning a two-week tour on March 1 in Watson Lake. 

VANCOUVER & VANCOUVER ISAND

The  Huggetts ferry over to Vancouver Island and drive through a stunning forest of redwoods to present evening and school shows in Parksville, Port Alberni, Campbell River, and Courtenay. In Courtenay, the sponsors take Andrew, Jennifer, and Andrew out sailing to see the famous California sea lions. Every winter, the sea lions return to the small rocky islands that dot the bay to feed on herring that have returned to spawn.

The tour ends in Vancouver, where a CBC concert is broadcast live from the Orpheum. The acoustics are excellent, and the audience is very responsive. The recording is the last recording made of a Huggett Family show.

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Searching for sea lions. Who knew you'd smell them long before you'd see them!

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Fiona, "Gone Bananas." Andrew, Jennifer, and Fiona are taken for a sail on the Courtenay sponsor's boat.

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Jennifer in Vancouver, ground zero for numerous western tours.

HAMILTON PLACE

In April, back in Ontario, the Huggetts spend a week playing in the Studio at Hamilton Place, performing young people's concerts based on the music of Shakespeare's plays.

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The Huggetts have prepared specific programs for various age groups, and the young people are bussed in for the one hour shows.

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In 1982, young people's concerts were important to all classical artists touring Canada. They help offset travel costs and, most importantly, help build future audiences in areas of the country with minimal access to live music.

LONDON'S BURNING

In consultation with George Zuckerman and Overture Concerts, Margaret  and Leslie create a three-person Huggett Family Trio show for communities who can't afford to sponsor the whole group. George has sold 28 matinee and evening performances. The tour starts in Port Hardy at the top of Vancouver Island and zigzags its way east. The last concert is in Geraldton, Ontario. 

Margaret: "There were some challenges. Being only three, we could not use our existing repertoire. Over years of research, I'd come across many three-part pieces we'd never used. Unfortunately, I'd not anticipated that we would need them one day, so they weren't immediately handy. However, with a bit of digging, I was able to find them again. This would be their time in the sun. 

The second challenge was finding an overarching story for the show's backbone. The year before, needing a theme to sell the show, we'd come up with the show's name, London's Burning. We had no idea what the show would be about at the time. Now, a year later, Leslie wrote a semi-dramatic script based on the 17th-century diary of Samuel Pepys. The three of us would represent characters from Pepys's writings, with Leslie playing the part of Pepys himself. My primary character was Pepys's quarrelsome wife, not a part I felt comfortable portraying. In the end, we ended up redrafting our Henry VIII show which had been so successful at the Shaw Festival."

Diarist Samual Pepys wrote extensively about his life in the 17th Century. When Margaret was told she would be "playing" his quarrelsome wife, she had to put her foot down, and a new theme for the show was sought.

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The London's Burning tour zigzagged its way across Canada, starting in Port Hardy, B.C., and ending in Geraldton, Ontario.

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A vivid entertainment, direct from England, capturing the spirit,wit and intrigue of Renaissance Europe.

Promotions for London's Burning were created a year in advance of the tour with no concept of the show's content. The actual show was written six weeks before the first concert in Port Hardy, B.C. 

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Margaret drives up to Thompson, Manitoba, 761 km north of Winnipeg. Everyone gets a turn at the wheel.

MONTREAL & ONTARIO

In November, the Huggetts joined forces with the Tudor Singers in Montreal for two concerts at Pollock Hall. The program includes sacred English music by Gibbons, Morley, and Bird for viols and voices. The Huggetts also play some of the iconic Holborn suites, and the 22-voice Tudor Singers perform a number of a cappella madrigals. The program is conducted by Wayne Riddle and is broadcast by CBC. 

 

 

It's December, and time once again for the Huggett's annual Ontario Christmas tour. This year they visit Bellville, Orillia, Grimbsy, and Guelph. Lastly, the final concert of The Huggett Family's 13-year odyssey is to an enthusiastic crowd in Port Perry. 

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MISCILLANEOUS MOMENTS FROM 1981

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Margaret under the redwoods on Vancouver Island. Spring is well underway, in total contrast with the -40 degree highs in the Yukon.

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Andrew, pacing it out in The Pas, Manitoba.

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Jennifer and Fiona, ready to descend the Keno silver mine in Elsa, Yukon. The mine closed in 1989.

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Margaret and Andrew visit the SS Keno, which sits frozen in dry-dock in Dawson City. In 1960, it was the last paddle steamer to ply the Yukon River.

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What touring in Canada really looks like. The road to Thompson, Manitoba.

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Margaret and Jennifer enjoy the Takhini Hot Springs just outside Whitehorse.

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The Huggett Family on stage at Destruction Bay

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The snow bank is so high the Huggetts almost missed their turning.

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The Roxy Trading Post.  If they don't got it, then you probably don't need it.

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Early music comes to Dawson City.

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Leaving Elsa for Dawson City, a 5-hour drive.

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Leslie, the photographer, took 90% of the Family's publicity shots and most of the pictures on this site.

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After the show, Leslie shows some curious students the snipped drinking straws used during the performance to demonstrate how wind instruments work: the shorter the straw, the higher the pitch!

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Day one of the Yukon tour. Nobody can remember the significance of the license plates.

Stopping for gas in Moose Creek, Yukon. Always "fill 'er up" before you leave town.