Monday, January 26, 2015

Thanks Omaha! (A blog entry by Katalin Kiss)

Entry by vocalist Katalin Kiss
Re: A Night at Woodstock, January 17, 2015
Jeans 'n Classics with the Omaha Symphony

Katalin Kiss

It was a lovely weekend in Omaha Nebraska in many ways.

I had the pleasure of doing the music of Woodstock on January 17th to a packed house at the Holland Performing Arts Centre, which seats 1200 people.

Omaha's Holland Arts Performance Centre, our office for the day...

My partners in crime on this show were (Left to Right): Neil Donell, Rique Franks, Jean Meilleur, and our special guest Dave Dunlop. 

Neil DonellRique Franks
Jean MeilleurDave Dunlop

Everything lined up quite nicely, starting with on-time flights (gasp!), and weather that was a lot warmer than Toronto.

The accommodations were stellar, which included our own little kitchen. Along with the kitchen came a lovely package of microwaveable popcorn that pleased me to no end. It's the small gifts that make the world just a little happier for me.

In the 4 or 5 times I've been to Omaha, we've always been greeted by the sweet smiley face of Kristin Patch, Artistic Manager of the Omaha Symphony. Always eager to make sure we were happy, she set us up with some great food backstage, and a brief little tour through the quaint Market district, pointing out the best places to eat.

Omaha Symphony's fabulous and friendly Artistic Manager Kristin Patch.

I never fail to appreciate these opportunities to travel with the people I work with and the people I get to meet. Music has always been a  big part of my life, and it's experiences like the one I had in Omaha that remind me that I'm one lucky girl.

Thanks Omaha, and hope to see you again sometime soon.
Love, Katalin.

The Green Room... tasty backstage lunch at soundcheck / rehearsal!

In the front: Paul DeLong (drums) and me (Katalin; vocals). Back row, left to right: Jean Meilleur (vocals), John Regan (keys, host), Dave Dunlop (guitar and vocals), Rique Franks (vocals), Darryl Stacey (bass), Peter Brennan (guitar/King of JnC!), Neil Donell (vocals).

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy 2015 - Kathryn & Rique in a Double Whammy New Year's Eve!

Hi friends, Happy 2015!

Kathryn Rose here.

The women of JnC are all pretty close, and we can often be found hanging out even when we are not on the road.

Rique Franks and I do a few things together at home in Toronto... a very scenic 6k nature walk in her midtown neighbourhood, Bikram hot yoga classes, egging people's houses and running away... the list of favourite common pastimes goes on.

Rique and I were not on the same New Year's Eve show this year. But we were both on 2 different exciting concert trips that Jeans 'n Classics had this year for New Year's Eve, and (along with Katalin Kiss on my gig), we were outnumbered by the men of JnC for both of our shows. That meant for a lotta lips to kiss at midnight! ;)

...Comparing notes afterwards, we thought we'd join forces here, for a joint Blog entry.

Here's mine:


Back to Back: the music of Billy Joel and Elton John in Reading, Pennsylvania, with the Reading Symphony! Kathryn Rose

Smartphones have made it very easy for the women of JNC to answer the all important musical question, "what are you wearing for the show?" 

Before most shows, no sooner is the question uttered before a photo of sparkly outfit #01428369.87 goes hurtling through cyberspace from one phone to another. Sparkly variations are culled, shortlisted, and one or two make the final cut, and we have a plan; suitcases are packed, and shows are performed.

This past New Year's Eve, Katalin Kiss and myself turned the Sparkle Factor all the way up to 11:

Preview of Katalin's dress
Preview of Kathryn's dress indecision

Katalin's treadmill nor the edge of my bed don't really do these dresses justice... here we are on the day... you'll see I chose the silver jobby... 
(but the black dress did make an appearance at our post show dinner/champagne hangout, didn't get any shots of that!)

Our dresses in action!

Katalin's dress was originally a vintage '80s dress she spotted and snapped up, with the foresight to have the long hem shortened and the sleeves taken up to 3/4". Great vision, Miss Kiss!

Some rehearsal shots, at the pretty Santander Performing Arts Centre: 

Love this one of Katalin

Okay, I'll add some boys...

Don Paulton
Jean Meilleur and Darryl Stacey
Who's cuter than Jeff Christmas?

When we rolled into town, our driver pointed out the tall Christmas tree on a street corner near our hotel, saying that the tree had made the news as one of the saddest Christmas trees in North America, being compared to Charlie Brown's infamous Christmas tree.

I couldn't help but take a stroll over to take a closer look after rehearsal. Poor thing, it's not so bad. Maybe a little droopy. But very tall!

Aw, don't you just kind of want to hug it?

Before I sign off... a quick thought on two of my favourite topics, Coffee & Massage:

Road Tip for (good) Coffee Lovers:
Originated by Lis Soderberg
Endorsed by Kathryn Rose
Activated by Katalin Kiss in a moment of need on this trip!

If you love coffee, and hate bad coffee, get a pack of these. Especially if you travel. Bad coffee is rampant on the road. Next time you are drinking a cup of inferior coffee, add one or part of these little puppies into your cup of brown water, stir, and enjoy the fact that you now have something no one else around you has: a better cup of java, at least by half.

And lastly...

What on earth is looks like something... for the bedroom...?

This rather assuming-looking device may draw stares in the airport, but can provide much relief to your sore bits and bobs while traveling. If you don't believe me, ask Don Paulton! He allowed me to use it on him in plain view at the Philadelphia Airport on Jan 1, to the curiosity and possible jealousy of the rest of the band, and world at large. I used to have 2 of them, but lost one on a plane a few years ago.
That's it from me...

Happy New Year!
xo kr


Fine Jean, be that way.


Rique's NYE concert blog entry:

Shaken Not Stirred in Lima, Ohio (with the Lima Symphony) Rique Franks

We had a great NYE show in Lima, Ohio.

It was my co-star Gavin Hope's first shot at the Bond show and he did us proud.

[Neil Donell usually sings the male lead on this show; David Blamires has also been an awesome pinch hitter.]

After an epic Odyssey of a travel-day getting there, we flopped into our beds and were welcomed by the bright morning sun on New Year's Eve day.

Rehearsal was almost more fun than the show itself thanks to the brilliance of the symphony and exuberance of conductor, Crafton Beck. With Steve Heathcote driving the beat, Peter Brennan on guitar, Mitch Tyler on bass and John Regan as always doing a great job on piano and as emcee, the show went off without a hitch. We received standing ovations both at the end of the show and after the encore.

The Lima Symphony's Executive Director, Elizabeth Brown then took us to the Met, a local fine dining establishment owned by former Chicago residents, Nicole and Ron, to ring in the new year in fine style.

That's the fair Elizabeth, 3rd from the left, beside me. 
I had one of the best meals I've ever had in that restaurant, and one of the biggest most delicious martinis, aptly named The Bond!!

The downtown core is filled with beautiful old buildings that have not yet all been revitalized the way they have in Toronto.  One such building, Lima Square, was completely vacant and chains draped the front door.

I cannot help but think that Lima had a glorious past.

One remnant that has survived and is thriving is the original Kewpee Hamburger joint.

Cars still line up down the street to get a burger and fries. Once inside, you're greeted at the counter by lovely old gals who have probably been working there since they were fresh out of high school 65 years ago.

As you can see, this place is so BEYOND! Steve Heathcote simply can NOT!!
- I have to say it was the best burger I've ever had.

I can't wait to go back to Lima again!

Happy New Year!


See you out on the road in 2015!
(Upcoming Concert Dates)

xo Kathryn and Rique.