One of the performers taking to the Let R Buck stage at the Williams Lake Stampede this weekend is singer/songwriter Bernadette Ducharme, who has made a name for herself in B.C. with her pure talent and originality.
She writes her own tunes and also puts music to the poems of some of the biggest names in BC cowboy poetry.
Ducharme said that writing music for cowboy poets is incredibly satisfying, Ducharme said. “The first poet I wrote for was a Horsefly local — Bruce Rolph. I put music to his poems The Old Felt Hat and Ghosts of Stockyards Past.
“When Bruce’s family heard The Old Felt Hat they all cried except for Bruce, and people tell me that when they hear Ghosts they get goosebumps and the hair stands up on their arms.
“Mag Mawhinney from Vancouver Island is another cowboy poet I’ve written for, and she said when she heard Ghosts she was literally sitting on the edge of her seat waiting for the next word.”
Ducharme, by request, has put music to 10 of Mawhinney’s poems and has written music for a poem by local cowboy poet Frank Gleason and is working on more.
The current president of the BC Cowboy Heritage Society asked her to take former president and cowboy poet Mike Puhallo’s six books of poetry and make some songs.
On the stage during Stampede weekend she will perform a few country cover tunes and mostly originals or B.C. cowboy poems put to music.
People of all ages, including children, respond to Ducharme’s music.
“I think connection with kids when it comes to country music is so important — keeping it alive for the next generation,” she continued.
“Cowboy and country music is unique and wonderful. Most of the songs I sing are true stories, often with haunting melodies. You’re going to feel something, and that’s important to me.”
“When an audience is engaged it impacts the performer strongly — it makes you want to be there even more. I love and appreciate my audiences.”
Ducharme will have two CDs available at her Stampede performances, Pieces of Me and One Boot in the Stirrup.
She performs at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday and 11:45 a.m. on Friday on the Canadian Tire stage in the Let R Buck Saloon behind the Stampede Grandstand.