Roch Carrier to narrate The Hockey Sweater at Festival Hall
The morning of Feb. 8, Petawawa Library children's librarian Katelyn Schubert (far left) read The Hockey Sweater to two groups of young children as members of the Pembroke Symphony Orchestra (PSO) accompanied the reading with a few hockey-themed tunes. Later that day, the PSO members also performed their musical set (with a reading of The Hockey Sweater) for kindergarten students at Valour School and for all students at Our Lady of Sorrows. The special visits served to promote the PSO's upcoming Festival Hall show that will feature a reading of The Hockey Sweater by author Roch Carrier himself.
An iconic Canadian story about a boy and his hockey uniform will be brought to life at Pembroke’s Festival Hall this February.
It was back in 1979 that Roch Carrier’s beloved children’s book, The Hockey Sweater, was originally published.
It tells the story of a young French Canadian boy who is ridiculed by his schoolmates when he is forced to wear a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey jersey, after his mother mistakenly orders the wrong one to replace his worn-out Montreal Canadiens Maurice Richard jersey.
The simple story recounts exactly what happened to young Roch as a boy growing up in the small Quebecois town of Saint-Justine during the 1940s, where hockey fever abounded and nearly everyone cheered for the Montreal Canadiens.
On Feb. 17, The Hockey Sweater will be brought to life in Pembroke, as 80-year-old Carrier will be visiting Festival Hall to retell the iconic story during two special presentations.
Carrier will begin by narrating the story in French and later in English, while the Pembroke Symphony Orchestra will musically accompany the reading with Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s orchestral composition of The Hockey Sweater.
The music was written in 2012 and has been performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, among other orchestral groups across Canada.
PSO vice-president Kirsten Waymann was inspired to reach out to Carrier and bring the event in Pembroke after being involved with a similar performance of The Hockey sweater in North Bay while she was a member of the North Bay Symphony.
“I’m a professional violinist and four years ago I was playing with the North Bay Symphony and they brought Roch Carrier in to narrate The Hockey Sweater set to music and I was just blown away. He was so charismatic and it was just a fabulous presentation. So for the last three years I was thinking that we had to get him to Pembroke to play with us,” said Waymann. “And with hockey being such a big thing in our area and with Pembroke nicknamed Hockeytown, I thought this would be a perfect match for the arts culture and the sports world to get together.”
Waymann said that Carrier was more than happy to partner with the PSO and bring the show to Pembroke.
“I made contact with Mr. Carrier and we were able to ascertain that yes he would love to work with a small orchestra. he's performed this with the Toronto Symphony and many other professional orchestras in big cities, but he's also humble enough that he will come and narrate with very small communities.”
As The Hockey Sweater has spanned generations, with innumerable Canadians growing up with the story as kids, Waymann expects that the unique show will warm everyone’s hearts and bring back fond childhood memories.
“I grew up in Montreal, watching the Habs on Saturday's Hockey Night in Canada, playing outdoor shinny and I remember reading the story at the library and it just resonated with me so much,” said Waymann. “It’s just a story that so many of us grew up with and love.”
Copies of the book, in both English and French, will be available for purchase. After the show, patrons will also have the opportunity to meet Roch Carrier and have their book autographed.
For tickets, visit: www.festhall.ca/