Sherwood Park concert to celebrate life of Luke Jansen and music community he loved

This week, a year after the 22-year-old’s sudden death in south Edmonton, friends and family members are holding a concert in Sherwood Park to celebrate Luke Jansen’s life with the sounds of emerging and established folk musicians.

Ariana Brophy, Post Script, Lucas Chaisson, Maddie Storvold to headline Festival Place show

Folk musician and recent University of Alberta graduate Luke Jansen died last year in Edmonton. This week, his friends and family plan to celebrate his life at a concert in Sherwood Park. (Z'Anne Harvey-Jansen)

Music was one of Luke Jansen's many passions. He played the baritone saxophone as a youngster, then became a member of the three-piece folk band North of Here. He was a longtime Folk Fest volunteer and even wrote his undergraduate honours thesis on live music venues in Edmonton.

This week, a year after the 22-year-old's sudden death in south Edmonton, friends and family members are holding a concert in Sherwood Park to celebrate Luke Jansen's life with the sounds of emerging and established folk musicians.

The Festival Place concert is part of an ongoing effort by Jansen's parents to ensure their son's legacy inspires others to create music and find mentors.

"Partly why he became a great musician was through the mentorship of other people," Luke's father, Brad Jansen, told CBC's Radio Active on Tuesday.

"We just realize that that is such an important aspect for any up-and-coming musician, so we want to foster that in the future with the memorial fund that was started."

More than 400 people are expected to attend Thursday's concert. 

Do You Love Your Song?

Ariana Brophy, Post Script, Lucas Chaisson and Maddie Storvold are headlining the show, which is called "Do You Love Your Song?" The name comes from a song lyric Jansen wrote.

Luke's younger brother Ethan, cousin Sam Mueller, and other emerging artists, Kat Zel, Nolia Jarvis, and Keltie are also performing.

Z'Anne Harvey-Jansen, Luke's mother, said she's most excited to watch people share their own ways of honouring her son.

"As parents, you know parts of a person, but his friends and his fellow musicians know another part of his essence and that's a real gift," she said.

Remembering through song

Jansen's father said listening to his son's music — though difficult — has comforted him during the past year.

"It can evoke sadness, tears, but that's part of what we need in grief, to experience those emotions," he said.

Brad and his wife listened to their son's North of Here demo tapes many times, and with the help of Edmonton producer Robert Walsh, they're releasing an album made from that material on Thursday.

Luke took this photograph in Iceland in 2016. It serves as the cover for a forthcoming album made from his demo tapes. (Z'Anne Harvey-Jansen)

The album will be available on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music on Friday.

Luke's music sometimes comes to Brad without warning.

One day, he turned on the radio while troubleshooting the sound system at the end of a church service and heard Tom Coxworth, the longtime host of Folk Routes on CKUA, playing a North of Here song.

"I was just blown away that out of my speakers was my son's voice and I had no idea it was coming," Jansen recalled.

One of the four songs headliner Ariana Brophy plans to sing at the concert is one she wrote for Luke. She said she has struggled to create music since her friend's death last fall, but this song helped her return to songwriting.

Ariana Brophy is one of the headliners for the concert - called Do You Love Your Song? - on Thursday. She was a close friend of Luke Jansen. (Z'Anne Harvey-Jansen)

The concert, she said, will be a unique opportunity to connect with friends of his through music.

"We're all here because of Luke," she said.

"Do You Love Your Song?" starts at 7 p.m. at Festival Place in Sherwood Park. A small number of tickets ($15 each) are still available.