Bessie Wapp, Nelson’s 2015 cultural ambassador, performed a song for city council at its meeting on Monday.
To open each of its monthly Committee of the Whole meetings, council takes a few minutes for a performance or demonstration by a local artist.
Accompanying herself on accordion and standing beside the mayor’s chair, she sang When it Comes My Turn, by David Myles.
“It’s about keeping joy in one’s heart as we age,” Bessie said in an interview.
It was not an entirely new experience for Bessie, who says she performed for Vancouver City Council about 15 years ago.
“Our council in Nelson was attentive, smiling, and present,” she says. “I remember in Vancouver they were reviewing their notes, trying to get a little more reading done as I sang.”
Bessie has a busy year coming up, with a regional tour of Bessie Wapp and Friends, her band that plays “eclectic acoustic folk blues eastern European jazz.” She’s also part of the line-up for the Kaslo Jazz Etc. festival.
And she’ll be going further afield, to Vancouver for a development workshop for the musical theatre group The Only Animal, and to Lithuania for a residency to present Hello I Must Be Going, her one-woman stage production about five generations of women in her family who experienced war and fled their homelands.
And back in Nelson, Bessie has a lead role in Jorinda, an ambitious Nelson Community Opera production coming up in the fall.
As for her performance for city council, “My only regret is that I forgot to wear my Cultural Ambassador sash,” she said.
“But the accordion probably would have hidden it anyway.”