To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Newfoundland Symphony is bringing the pride of Newfoundland, Shanneygannock, to the stage as this year’s NSO Hibernia Gala headliner.

Shanneygannock, Jonathan Monro, opera brothers Peter and Michael Barrett, and the island’s latest country craze, The Secrets, all get to share the stage with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra backing them, making this one of the best, biggest, and most original musical events of the year.

For those bands, it’s a rare treat to have an entire symphony orchestra rearranging their songs; for the crowd, they’re hearing some of their favourite artists in a way they’ve never heard them before. “All Gala guest artists perform their own music backed by the NSO with conductor Marc David. All orchestral arrangements are created especially for the Gala each year by Jim Duff,” says NSO’s Marlayne Hardy.

She adds that feedback from Gala artists and members of the audience “is always exceptional and consistently positive. If you’ve not been, this year is your year!”

Once again, Mark Critch will host the eveningCritch has hosted the event for the last 9 years. “The NSO is very fortunate to have such a good and generous friend,” says Hardy. “What he brings is his spontaneous and incredibly quick humour! It’s like seeing a show within a show.”

As mentioned it’s the gala’s 25th anniversary. When asked to share a memorable moment from the past, she cites a moment from 2012’s gala. “It was the last year that John Crosbie was Lieutenant Governor.  The finale was So Long, Farewell (from The Sound of Music) which was sung to the Crosbies, who were in the Vice-Regal box.”

All the guest artists who appeared in the gala took part in that performance. “The real fun started when Mark Critch made his way up to the box and handed Mr. Crosbie a mic. I believe the tirade started something like this, ‘Listen here, you little son of a Critch, I’ve been waiting five years for this…’”

The 2015 NSO Hibernia Gala will be followed by a post-concert reception in the upper concourse. The event starts at 8pm on October 30th, at the St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre. Tickets are available at the NSO office (722-4441/ for $100. A tax receipt will be issued for the charitable portion.