August 22, 2019

Winnipeg
20° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Singer-songwriter's surprise hospital visit, private concert brighten dark time for couple

American singer-songwriter Josh Ritter (left) played a private concert for local fans Daryl Hiebert and Corrie Van Aertselaer at the Health Sciences Centre on Wednesday ahead of his show with Jason Isbell at the Centennial Concert Hall. (Facebook)</p>

American singer-songwriter Josh Ritter (left) played a private concert for local fans Daryl Hiebert and Corrie Van Aertselaer at the Health Sciences Centre on Wednesday ahead of his show with Jason Isbell at the Centennial Concert Hall. (Facebook)

Daryl Hiebert and Corrie Van Aertselaer met for the first time at a Josh Ritter concert at the West End Cultural Centre more than a decade ago.

The story came full-circle this week, when the acclaimed singer-songwriter made an in-person visit to the (now married) couple during his recent stop in Winnipeg.

Hiebert and Van Aertselaer had hoped to attend Ritter’s performance with Jason Isbell at the Centennial Concert Hall on Wednesday, but ongoing health issues made a night out impossible.

Hiebert was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable form of liver and bile duct cancer in late 2018 and has been in and out of the hospital ever since.

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Daryl Hiebert and Corrie Van Aertselaer met for the first time at a Josh Ritter concert at the West End Cultural Centre more than a decade ago.

The story came full-circle this week, when the acclaimed singer-songwriter made an in-person visit to the (now married) couple during his recent stop in Winnipeg.

Hiebert and Van Aertselaer had hoped to attend Ritter’s performance with Jason Isbell at the Centennial Concert Hall on Wednesday, but ongoing health issues made a night out impossible.

Double header a songwriting showcase

Click to Expand
Jason Isbell is a former member of the Southern-rock band the Drive-By Truckers. (Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press)						</p>
Jason Isbell is a former member of the Southern-rock band the Drive-By Truckers. (Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press)

During an evening as intimate as a house concert, Jason Isbell showed his reputation as a gifted storyteller isn’t limited to his lyrics.

The Alabama-born singer-songwriter is funny, although you wouldn’t know it from the heavy topics explored in his music. He didn’t shy away from cracking a few jokes while he bantered candidly between songs at the Centennial Concert Hall on Wednesday night.

Read Full Story

Hiebert was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable form of liver and bile duct cancer in late 2018 and has been in and out of the hospital ever since.

Instead, Ritter came to them — playing an hour-long acoustic set at Hiebert’s bedside at the Health Sciences Centre.

"It was as beautiful as anything I’ve ever experienced," said Jeremy Sawatzky, a longtime friend of the couple who was in the room during the visit. "You could just see that this was a person that really does personify goodness and kindness and compassion, he was very engaged and it was very heartfelt and sincere."

Ritter played a handful of their favourite songs and stayed to talk with the couple about life and family — Ritter has two daughters and Hiebert and Van Aertselaer have three girls under five.

Wednesday’s private concert wasn’t the first time Ritter had interacted with the couple.

Heibert is a graphic designer who has made album artwork and marketing campaigns for many musicians in Winnipeg. Upon hearing about his cancer diagnosis, the local music community stepped up and hosted a benefit concert for the family in April.

In his role as emcee, Sawatzky reached out to Ritter for a few words of encouragement to be presented at the event. He responded with a long handwritten letter.

Sawatzky kept in contact with Ritter’s management team and was in the process of organizing a backstage meet and greet at Wednesday’s concert when the circumstances changed.

Ritter’s hospital visit was a surprise for Hiebert and an opportunity for the couple to find some enjoyment in an otherwise dark time.

"It was sort of this moment that gives you a little bit of hope and a little bit of joy in the midst of a time that is fairly devoid of those types of things," Sawatzky said. "I think it meant a lot to them and I think it meant a lot to Josh… it was an emotional time for everyone in the room."

A Go Fund Me page set up for Hiebert and his family has raised more than $21,000 to date.

— Eva Wasney

Eva Wasney

Eva Wasney
Arts Reporter

Eva Wasney reports on arts, culture and life for the Winnipeg Free Press.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Thursday, August 8, 2019 at 9:33 PM CDT: Fixes typo

August 9, 2019 at 1:45 PM: Adds video

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us