Ben Heppner tunes up for show in Sidney

Meet and greet after the show on March 21 at the Winspear Centre

Tenor Ben Heppner is at the Mary Winspear Centre Friday

Canadian Tenor Ben Heppner is coming to Sidney for a show he calls intimate and accessible.

“Doing a smaller show with a meet and greet after, that’s something I’m always most willing to do,” said Heppner of the show coming up on March 21.

“Having … a chance to connect with the audience, that’s something that is really needed for the presenter and for the concert goers. I consider it to be a part of my job.”

Heppner is a prominent fixture in Canada’s music scene. He first studied music at the University of British Columbia and gained national attention in 1979 as the winner of the CBC Talent Festival.

The Grammy and Juno award recipient will be collaborating with John Hess.

“John is both my collaborator and accompanist. I’ve worked with him for past 15 years and he is fantastic to have as a sidekick on the road.”

The first half of the show, he said, will just be him and the piano, while the second half will feature a variation of music including some of Benjamin Britten’s folk songs, folk songs by Spanish composer Fernando Obradors, three separate opera arias and songs by American singer-songwriter, pianist and satirist Tom Lehrer. Heppner will also touch on a piece by a Chinese poet, “but I don’t want to give away too much on that before the show,” he laughed.

He said the show will appeal to a wide audience and he hopes to see them get involved as well.

“Even if you don’t know the folk songs you will still know the music and I think everyone will enjoy it, it’s a very accessible show.”

Heppner has been staying close to home in recent months, focusing on his radio show on CBC but will be ramping up his schedule this spring and summer.

“I’ve been doing some smaller things but it has been fairly quiet for me over the last two months or so which has been nice,” he laughed, adding it felt odd to have to pack up and prepare to travel to B.C. from Toronto.

He’ll be travelling to New York, Vancouver, Victoria, Red Deer and Grand Prairie in the coming weeks.

Heppner’s show is at the Mary Winspear Centre Friday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets, which include a glass of Champagne or wine and a meet and great with Heppner after the show, are available online at marywinspear.ca or by phone at 250-656-0275.