Music on Main lures Veda Hille away from her busy schedule for its Winter Solstice show

Vancouver's beloved musical theatre artist will be joined by her new vocal ensemble of Lucien Durey, Patsy Klein, and Nicholas Krgovich

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      When the Straight recently reached singer-songwriter Veda Hille on the phone, she was in the midst of an artistic maelstrom.

      “Maybe today and the next two days, I’m in eight-hour workshops on a new musical I’m working on with Amiel Gladstone,” Hille says.

      Their new work is an adaptation of one of Hille’s favourite novels, Kathryn Davis’s The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf. The book took its name from a Hans Christian Andersen tale.

      “It’s about three women in a small town with music in their lives—and how to get unstuck when you’re stuck,” Hille reveals.

      Her earlier musical with Gladstone, Onegin, is going to be presented at the Taganka Theatre in Moscow this month. She points out that it takes a long time to write a musical—Onegin premiered five years ago.

      On December 6 after speaking to the Straight, Hille was about to be interviewed by a Russian television station.

      “That’s a bit of a big deal, I have to say,” Hille says. “I’m quite happy with the direction things have taken.”

      Normally at this time of year, Hille is performing in the zany East Van Panto. This year, she wrote the songs for the production, but because she’s not on-stage at the York Theatre, she’s free to play at Music on Main’s Music for the Winter Solstice at Heritage Hall.

      She describes the panto as “this crazy explosion of joy”, whereas the solstice show is “this incredibly pristine and beautiful musical jewel”.

      “It’s just gorgeous music in a beautiful setting,” Hille says. “It’s just one of those rooms filled with love and music.”

      Hille will play piano with her new vocal ensemble, which includes Patsy Klein, Lucien Durey, and Nicholas Krgovich. Klein and Krgovich have worked with her before, but Durey is a new collaborator.

      Hille says they will perform the Wyrd Sisters’ “Solstice Carole” and a Jane Siberry cover, “The Walking (and Constantly)”, along with Hille’s songs over the years. They include “Miracles”, based on a Bach prelude, from her Little Volcano album, and “Book of Saints” from This Riot Life.

      In addition, the vocal ensemble will debut some music live from her upcoming album, Beach Practice, which she’s been working on with Krgovich. Earlier this year, he put out an album called Plants, which was a collection of Hille’s songs.

      Hille says Beach Practice will be her 25th album, including those she created with collaborators and the theatre albums.

      “It’s a lot of records,” she says. “I am very grateful to still be wildly interested in music. So that helps a lot.”

      Music for a Winter Solstice will also include violinist Chloe Kim and vibraphonist Julia Chien.

      “I know they’re doing Arvo Pärt’s 'Spiegel im Spiegel', which is one of the most lovely pieces of music in the world,” Hille says.

      She credits Music on Main’s artistic director, David Pay, for being an “incredible programmer”, which is one reason why she’s so delighted to participate in this year’s holiday concerts.

      “The way that he approaches music and is sharing music is an utter delight,” Hille says.