Biggar Soup-er event

Tomorrow at Plan B, located on St. George Street in Moncton, the first of what will be an annual fundraising function is taking place.

Dubbed the Soup-er Lunch, the event is being held in support of the Moncton Food Depot Alimentaire and is in fact a memorial being held in tribute to Richard Gallant, the father of Plan B talent booker Brock Gallant.

The elder Gallant passed away just two days prior to Christmas 2010.

“My dad and I delivered food boxes every year since we moved back to Moncton in 1994,” Brock begins. “It was one of the Christmas family traditions that I loved most, and I want to share that with my son. Unfortunately donations are down and demand is up, so to make sure we have boxes to deliver, we’re raising funds in Dad’s name.

“Dad loved music and he loved soup. If you asked him how he was doing, he’d often reply ‘Super’ and if he was going out for lunch, you could bet he’d be looking for a good soup. I think this is a fitting way to remember him. He always understood that just because you can’t do a lot doesn’t mean you have to do nothing at all. This will be a modest fundraiser, but it’s what we can do.” Gallant continues.

Providing entertainment for the fundraising luncheon is Saint John’s Mike Biggar. Biggar says that he and Gallant had tried to organize a holiday show last year but when the musician had to back out, the duo resolved that they would make Christmas 2011 work.

“Brock and I began throwing ideas around, trying to figure how to make the event unique,” Biggar says from his Saint John home. “A couple of weeks ago, Brock asked if I was open to playing an earlier show instead of your typical late bar show. The idea of the fundraiser was then floated by me and Brock asked me to be the entertainment. It is going to be a great event, going towards a great cause.”

With a mix of holiday music and original material to be performed, Biggar should have no trouble coming up with enough Christmas-related songs to perform. Last year, he released his first holiday-themed record, The Season, a 10-track album featuring a mix of original material in addition to “classic” holiday songs.

“I’ve done things a little backwards with my career,” he laughs, noting that prior to The Season, he has only a five-song EP to his credit. “It was perhaps a little odd to some to do a holiday record before even getting my first full-length record released. I grew up in a religious home and was basically surrounded by spiritual music which I believe led me to loving soul, blues and gospel music so much. The music I am playing now isn’t all that oriented in religion but I believe there is an aspect of faith that bleeds into the work I do. And of course, with the holidays, there is a natural draw towards the spiritual aspects of the season. Frankly, I always thought it would be cool to write Christmas songs.”

Though he doesn’t have a complete new record of holiday music to share with his fans, Biggar has re-recorded one of the tracks that had previously appeared on The Season. The version of the Biggar’s track Fare Thee Well This Christmas that appeared on last year’s holiday record was an acoustic-based song that Biggar recorded late in the process of completing the record.

“We were in the process of mixing and editing The Season last year when I had this song rolling around in my head,” he says. “I envisioned it as a modern sort of Christmas prayer of sorts and within 30 minutes, the song had poured out of me. Where we were so late in the recording process, the song ended up being bare bones out of necessity. I had always pictured the song being played with a full band though so it seemed logical to go back and redo this song. It has been nice to breathe new life into the track.”

While the track is currently available for purchase on iTunes, Biggar has also delved into the world of the music video, filming a video for Fare Thee Well This Christmas. In the week since posting the video to You Tube (Biggar’s channel is youtube.com/mikebiggarmusic), the video has already accumulated close to 1000 hits.

“So far, I’ve found that having a video has been helping quite a bit,” Biggar says. “I had hoped to get the video set for commercial release but there are quite a few things that you have to keep in mind when you go that route, things like closed captioning and more. So I decided that You Tube could be just as valuable if not more valuable in terms of exposure in the long run.”

Article published December 16, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript