Beau Dixon, a featured performer in the Singers’ upcoming Soul concert on February 28, has been very busy in the first weeks of 2015. He’s been touring Canada with Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story, which the Calgary Herald calls “a spellbinding solo show that recreates a true tragedy in Canadian history.”
Dixon plays nine different characters, including a ten-year-old girl, to reenact the heroism of Maurice Ruddick, an African Canadian miner who found himself trapped 3900 metres underground when the Cumberland mine collapsed in Springhill, Nova Scotia. Ruddick and six others were the last to be found alive, on the ninth day after the collapse.
A deeply religious man, Ruddick kept everyone’s spirits up during the days and nights in the dark with prayer and with song: blues, jazz, the popular tunes of the 1950s, and, of course, hymns and spirituals.
That Ruddick’s story is about music expressing hope and equality—and creating both in the human spirit—inspires Dixon. But his play doesn’t ignore the hard truths of racism and worker exploitation in twentieth-century Canada.
Singers and their friends interested in experiencing this remarkable performance will get the chance in early February, three week’s ahead of our Soul concert. In honour of Black History Month 2015, Dixon will present two stagings of his one-man show in Peterborough.