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The Wardens bring stories and songs to BCLT

An upcoming night of music and storytelling by Canmore-based group The Wardens will give a rare glimpse into the lives of Canada’s national park wardens.
Stories and Songs
(From left) Bradley Bishoff, Ray Schmidt and Scott Ward draw on their personal experiences working in Canada’s national parks to perform songs as The Wardens.

An upcoming night of music and storytelling by Canmore-based group The Wardens will give a rare glimpse into the lives of Canada’s national park wardens. The Wardens – comprised of singer/songwriters Scott Ward, Bradley Bischoff and Ray Schmidt – will perform for the first time at Bert Church LIVE Theatre (BCLT) Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. “We take you on a journey from the mountaintop to the valley bottom and everywhere in between,” Ward said. The intimate evening of ballads and harmonies draws heavily on the band’s years working in Western Canada’s national parks, where the trio got its start by performing interpretive shows at campgrounds for what Ward called, “a ready-made audience...of a hundred people or so, twice a week.” “We are three real national park wardens,” he said. “[Bischoff] and I are retired, but we worked in Banff National Park for over 30 years each. [Schmidt] is still a national park warden in Glacier National Park.” Drawing on that experience, the Wardens relay gripping tales from the job featuring grizzly bears, mountain rescues and back-country horse travel. Each story segues into a related song written by one of the band members. “While we’re talking, behind us is running a large slide show that’s timed to the songs we’re singing and the stories we’re telling,” Ward said. The show, he added, is designed for attentive listening. The Wardens perform exclusively original material, but after 10 years together, Ward said they have developed a decent-sized following throughout Alberta and British Columbia. A few of the songs have become “Warden classics” – guaranteed to result in a singalong among the band’s fans. “Our jobs as wardens has mostly given us really good fodder for writing interesting songs about our experiences,” Ward said. “Working in the mountains, in that environment, we’ve met very interesting characters that we can write songs about, we’ve had interesting situations. We have the connection to the land that we try to get across through our music and our stories.” While they have performed in the area a number of times, Ward said this is the first time the Wardens will stop in Airdrie. He added he’s sure audiences will enjoy their one-of-a-kind show. “We’ve always had really positive responses to our shows,” he said. “I’m confident [Airdronians] will have a really good time.” Tickets for the show cost $25 and are available at ticketpro.ca. As a bonus, anyone who purchases tickets for The Wardens and the Nov. 21 performance of Jake’s Gift will receive a 25 per cent discount.