MUSIC PREVIEW: Henderscheetz at The Winspear

On November 2, the Winspear is hosting an unusual project.

Henderscheetz is the vision of one woman, Grace Sheetz. Following her husband’s premature death, she returned to songwriting and embarked on a journey which eventually finds her filling Edmonton’s premiere concert hall debuting the album that is the results of her efforts. All proceeds from the concert and the record, called 39, will go to the charity Samaritan’s Purse.

So, what led Grace to embark on this project? She’s “doing it in honor of [her husband] Warren [Henderson]’s memory,” Grace explains, but “we’re donating all the money to Samaritan’s Purse.

“They have a fabulous water project called ‘Turn on the Tap’. A scientist from Calgary figured out how to layer sand and organic matter in a small concrete box (to put inside of homes in developing nations), so that the dirtiest water poured into the top would come out clean (by the time it is filtered and dispensing out of the bottom) ... and he even patented the technology so that it can only be used in a charitable manner to help others.” There’s a video of how the technology works here.

The Winspear is certainly an auspicious venue for launching any project. But according to Scheetz, “There was no question in my mind ever about doing it anywhere else. As a musician and a music teacher I”m so proud of the Winspear Centre, that we have an international concert hall that rivals the world’s best in quality, right in our own city.

“And so I thought ‘if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this to the utmost of my abilities, I’m going to put on a show that’s really worth people coming out to and in a venue that some people in our city still haven’t experienced yet. I’ve talked to people coming to the concert who’ve said this is the first time they’ll have been at the Winspear: they’re really excited."

Grace “kept the whole project very very quiet for the longest time. I was doing this on my own, feeling my way through it originally. In that first year and a half after Warren died, I started writing music. In the eight and a half years we were together, I didn’t write a single song. Before that I’d been songwriting my whole life. For eight and a half years I was just so happy I didn’t bother writing one song in that time.

“Then after he was gone, and I was alone in our house missing him, writing helped fill the void. They just came, so rapidly, a real variety of songs. I wanted to do something with them, and wasn’t sure how to go about that. I got a little advice from my cousin who’s a program director in radio. He just said, ‘if you’re going to do a CD, do it really really well so that it’s radio ready. Otherwise it’s not worth doing’.

“Shortly thereafter, I hooked up with MuzikHaus recording studio down in Three Hills Alberta. They brought more people on board to help add to my vision.

“When I still hear the songs, they’re stil the same. That was my only concern, with handing them off to others, was that they keep the integrity intact.

“I’ve never had a genre in mind when composing the music because I didn’t know it was going to go this far. We’re calling it country, but it’s definitely country rock with some pop woven through it.

So far, Grace says, “We’ve gotten a lot of grassroots interest in the event, and it sounds like a lot of people will be coming.”

But this concert is not the end: “After the event is over, we’re going to keep selling the album 39 and we’re going to keep pushing to get airplay and maybe even produce a video.

“Every penny of profit for this project, from now to the end of time, goes to Samaritan’s Purse. If we sell a million copies, all that money goes to the ‘Turn On The Tap’ project.” Because of this, the concert and the album’s debut is sure to continue to impact people for a long time.

more in Music Preview     |     posted Nov 1st, 2010 at 6:30pm     

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