Music has literally been the soundtrack for Shane Wiebe’s life.
From finding his wife, to being on a national TV show to realizing he can pursue music as a full-time job; Wiebe has been on quite the musical journey.
“There are these experiences that the gift of music brings into our lives that is so enriching,” said Wiebe, who will be performing in Penticton on July 17. “The contentment that comes from doing both what you love to do and what you feel you have been called to do, from a faith perspective, is just uncharted. I’m in such a wonderful chapter of my life. While in Canada, it is very tough to make a living doing music, we are incredibly rich in experience and we feel so blessed.”
Growing up singing in church choirs and playing piano in recitals, a instrument which he admits to hating as child, Wiebe ate his words when he turned 14. The tools he picked up from playing the piano made it easy for him to perform in front of his school, which prompted his music teacher to encourage him to join the Abbotsford Senior Chamber Singers the following year. He then was given the chance to travel with a choir in Europe.
Wiebe made plans to work on the oil rigs, but ditched those when his father passed away and he went straight into post-secondary.
Singing became more of a hobby until he received a call from a girl that had been on that European choir trip with him looking for someone to accompany her on the piano. The pair blended well, became great friends and eventually Wiebe married Angela Bensler. A few months after the wedding, music came knocking again when Wiebe was urged by friends to try out for Canadian Idol.
“I always call that the hip check that changed the course of my life,” said Wiebe. “I used to really bug my friends who are musicians and were trying to make a go of becoming musicians professionally. It was always get a haircut and get a real job kind of thing.”
Wiebe indulged his friends and tried out, climbing to a top five spot on the CTV show, affording him the privilege of working with artists like Lionel Richie, Gordon Lightfoot and Debra Byrd.
“After Canadian Idol a good friend of mine said ‘Now what are you going to do with this?’ I thought nothing. It has run its course, it was fun, but now time to get a real job. My friend said you will always wonder if you don’t try and that was nine years ago,” said Wiebe.
Along with his wife, he formed The Wiebes, an award-winning duo that has released four studio albums. They have received numerous Covenant Award nominations and wins, have been seen by millions on TV and found themselves on the Top 50 Canadian Adult Contemporary radio charts among artists like Michael Buble and Elton John. Shane said they are “unapologetically Christian” but promise something for everyone in their live show. Their latest release, The Hymns Collection, leaves room for listeners to sing along and picked up Inspirational Album of the Year at the Canadian gospel music awards last November.
“We will be performing an assortment of stuff from our releases. We like to have a lot of fun with it. I don’t think it matters what walk of life you are in you will find something you enjoy at our show. Angela and I are never afraid to have a great time at our show,” he said.
Although their tour schedule doesn’t allow them much time in Penticton, Wiebe said he can remember camping in the Okanagan as a kid and calls the area “God’s country.”
“Spending hours playing on the beaches and nervously scanning the lake for Ogopogo. Now I can pass on the tradition by freaking my kids out about it too,” he said with a laugh.
Admission to The Wiebes 7 p.m. concert at the Church of the Nazarene on July 17 is by donation.