DEBRA LYNN PHOTOThe Wardens played the Gate House Theatre in Port McNeill on Nov. 14.

The Wardens play the Gate House Theatre in Port McNeill

The evening was not only a night of music, but also of storytelling.

The Wardens, a critically acclaimed Banff folk/roots/western trio, played at the Gate House Theatre in Port McNeill Nov. 14.

In their music, the former park wardens, ie. “government cowboys,” encapsulated the life of patrolling Canada’s national parks on horseback.

The evening was not only a night of music, but also of storytelling about the many odd, remarkable and unusual happenings in the backcountry.

Their repertoire included material about the renegade warden “Old Bill Neish” from the early days of the park, the restoration of the buffalo population, fighting forest fires, their admiration for the beautiful vistas of their workplace, and even including a lament about the new breed of park wardens with their master’s degrees and PhDs and diet preferences that include veganism, vegetarianism, gluten free foods and “omega threes and antioxidants.”

The group includes retired park wardens, Bradley Bischoff and Scott Ward, as well as dispatcher and avalanche specialist, Ray Schmidt.

They were joined for the evening by fiddler Scott Duncan. With approximately 30 audience members in the intimate setting of the Gate House Theatre, it felt like a neighborhood gathering around the table in someone’s kitchen, with easy interaction and plenty of laughter.

The concept, that they are doing it “not necessarily for the money” has high historical, cultural, and even environmental, significance. If they would bring themselves closer to their mics and project more energy and emotion—as did their fiddler in his spotlight performance—they could have a good chance of making some green.

– Debra Lynn article

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