"The Circle Widens is perhaps the best known folk-rock group in Edmonton, doing a cross-section of songs which includes The Beatels, Sergio Mendez, Leonard Cohen, and Gordon Lightfoot. "There's so many folk songs - but it's so much fun to do folk-rock", says Susan Lent, the female vocalist for the group. When deciding on a song, they choose what appeals to them. "We don't particularly look for a message", she said. "The boys are really fast at picking up the music". Generally they take a song from the radio and work it up themselves, not using sheet music. Newly added to their repertoire is a composition of their own - The River Song - with lyrics by Bill Pasnak, a University of Alberta student, and the music written by John and Harry Lent.
The Circle Widens was originally started by Susan Lent and John Lent, fourth year students at the University of Alberta, when they were in high school. Their younger brother Harry joined them in 1967, and they called themselves "The Kinfolk". In March, 1968, Greg Vetsch, lead guitarist, was added and later in October his cousin Wayne Vetsch, drummer, joined the group. The name then changed to "The Circle Widens". "There is not really a good demand for folk-rock, but at University there is a fair amount of work", said Susan. They usually play for youth groups, at university, in high schools and at Giuseppi's.
Bob Hunka, who worked on the U of A Activities Board last year, helps John manage the group.
It was through the Students' Union and Jerry Slavick that The Circle Widens were asked to perform with Harper's Bizarre. "We were really excited about it. It was a real opportunity to be appearing with a professional group", said Susan.
The group has a good following of both university and high school students here in Edmonton, and have also appeared in Leduc, Red Deer, Saskatoon, and Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan. They would like to set up something for Klondike Days or the Calgary Stampede, if possible. "We don't see anything in the future to get added", said Susan concerning more people in the group. As for splitting up - hope not", she said.
There is a possibility of a record, since the group did a taping in U of A radio studios over the Christmas holidays. They have also been taping for Coral Sound Studios here in Edmonton. "We like to have a lot of fun on stage. We have the most fun when we can tell the audience is enjoying it", said Susan.
The members of The Circle Widens were: Susan Lent, John Lent, Harry Lent, Greg Vetsch and Wayne Vetsch. "We stopped playing as The Circle Widens around 1970, says John Lent. He continues "A great guitar player called Brian Logan also played with us near the end, as well as a great harp player called Al".
with notes from "The Gateway, University of Alberta" 1969