Arts & Culture

Music is good for the soul

By Lorraine Graves

Published 10:58 PDT, Mon August 21, 2017

Sibel Thrasher is on deck and, if the weather’s good, literally on the outdoor Tank Deck at The Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site as part of their “Music at the Cannery” summer series Friday Aug. 18 at 6:30 p.m.

If the good weather holds, the concert is outside. If inclement, the cozy warmth of the wooden indoors welcomes listeners and perhaps people with an urge to move too.

“I want everybody to come out have a good time. Let me see you smile and if you feel like dancing, dance,” says Thrasher with gusto.

Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Thrasher chose Richmond after a month touring BC with The Platters, the group famous for “Only You” and “The Great Pretender” amongst 20 other top 40 hits.

“I love Richmond. I’ve been out here--it seems like forever. When I first came out here, I came with the Platters. That was 1985. It was supposed to be one month. Well, at the end of that month they said, “We gotta go back home and I said ‘No, I’m staying right here.’ and I’ve been here ever since.”

Asked why she choose Richmond in particular? Thrasher answers with a question: “Have you ever been to a place that just feels good and you want to rest your body and it just feels good?”

Thrasher has a long and rich history in the Lower Mainland. For instance, she recalls a well-known 1984 Fats Waller musical that was supposed to run six weeks, but ran for two years at the Arts Club in Vancouver before touring to sold out houses across Canada.

“Ain’t Misbehavin’ --we did eight shows a week, two shows on Wednesdays and two shoes on Saturdays and had one day off. But it was great fun. It was like going to a party.”

Popular not just with the public, Thrasher was recognized by her peers in the performing community when she was inducted by the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2004 and given a star on the Walk of Fame.

As a caregiver for her husband, Michael, Thrasher says, “I do a little bit of gigs. I don’t want to sing too much.”

Starting her last third of life, Thrasher says, “I’m not ashamed of my age. I was born in ‘49. I’m 68 in December and I feel great even though it gets a little hectic. I get really tired so any chance I get to sit down I do. I’m mostly with Michael in case he needs something.”

Having been brought back to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery to perform again, Thrasher recalls other gigs in Steveston at the ANAF 284 club on No 1 Rd. at Chatham.

”I was there when the band was there, The Midnight Eagles, and they were fabulous. I sat in with them. Everybody is so nice and I went on the day when they had the meat draw. That was so cool. I won. Of course I went for the ribs.”

She’s looking forward to performing there again this fall.

What can people expect on Aug. 18 at the Cannery?

“I’m going to do some jazz, some blues and might just pop in there and do a little bit of Motown, and I might do a little bit of gospel,” says Thrasher. “Singing is good for the soul. As long as I can make somebody smile, it’s worth coming out.”

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