Our Story

It started in Jude’s kitchen. Katherine Wheatley, Tannis Slimmon and Jude Vadala, all with music careers of their own, decided to join forces to do a show of winter songs. After many pots of tea and hours of meticulously working out harmonies and arrangements of winter-themed original songs and holiday classics, Boreal did its first show.  That was over ten years ago. Each November and December since then, they've toured their snowy-season project through community halls and concert series across Ontario.

Boreal's show is the perfect antidote to a cold winter’s night. Their songs conjure up vivid sights and sounds that every Canadian would fondly recognize: pine branches bending low, squirrels’ footprints in the snow, winter’s hush, shoveling, the sound of slap shots off the boards. Their rapport, both with each other and with the audience, is warm, friendly, and genuine.

Winter’s Welcome, their debut CD, captures the magic of the live show. Produced by Lewis Melville, it is the ideal accompaniment to a glowing fire and a mug of hot chocolate and it is a must-listen to get you in the mood for the Christmas season. Tannis, Jude and Katherine play all the instruments – guitars, mandolin, banjo, bass, keyboards, percussion – bringing variety, atmosphere and originality to the music and just the right amount of space to showcase the soaring vocals of three of Canada’s finest harmony singers.

“Some of the finest (harmonies) I’ve heard anywhere...” Doug Gallant, The Guardian, Charlottetown
These three Canadian songstresses have dug up old songs and written new ones about the snowy season. Their love of beautiful lyrics, melodies and harmonies, their combined songwriting skills, their tour de force voices, and the joy they feel singing with each other all make for an unforgettable event. Join the others who make it a tradition to come every year to welcome winter at one of Boreal's Shows.

TANNIS SLIMMON's career has spanned more than 35 years. She was a member of the Bird Sisters and has sung harmony for the Rheostatics, David Francey and Grievous Angels among countless others. She earned the 2008 Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Vocalist of the Year. Her solo album Lucky Blue was named one of the Top 10 Albums of 2008 in the Penguin Eggs magazine critics’ poll. It earned a Golden Quill Award for songwriting and was 16th on Galaxie Folk/Roots Channel’s Top Spins of 2008. The song “Ernest, Charlie and Allen” garnered an Independent Music Award for Best Folk/Roots Song.

JUDE VADALA was a member of the legendary harmony trio the Bird Sisters and has released two solo albums. She has sung harmonies on more than fifty musical projects with artists such as Suzie Vinnick, Lynn Miles and James Gordon. Jude presents songwriting and vocal workshops and is one of the co-founders of Guelph’s Hillside Festival.

KATHERINE WHEATLEY performs as a solo artist as well as with the Toronto supergroup Betty and the Bobs and in Wendell and Wheat, a duo with Canadian Country Music Hall of Famer, Wendell Ferguson. Her song “Hallelujah” won a 2009 Golden Quill award and has become a standard in sing-along circles. Her 2010 solo show in Charlottetown was selected "Performance of the Year.” Two of her songs were selected for the new Rise Again Songbook (30th anniversary publication of Rise Up Singing). She has performed on CBC Radio’s Vinyl Café and CTV’s Canada AM. Through her program Youthsongs, she has written over 200 songs with kids and produced over 25 school CDs. Katherine is a singer and zodiac driver for GAdventures in Antarctica and the Arctic.

For more information or for booking, please contact Boreal via the contact page. And please sign up on the mailing list so Boreal can keep you up-to-date!