Monday, February 23, 2015

Another ABBA post!

Another ABBA post!
From Stephanie Martin (Dancing Queen #1)

I did have my phone out and took a few pictures in St. Catherine's of this alarming (fire-alarming) ABBA show at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre in the Brock Centre for the Performing Arts on Sunday afternoon.

Here is the offending piece of ringing machinery that was not part of the regular orchestra configuration but started blasting its piercing and very UN-musical tone during Andrea Koziol's end of set Super Trooper. Come to think of it ABBA does have a tune called Ring! Ring! Ring! that was one of their early hits. This is not what they intended, I'm sure!

I was ushered out one of the fire doors to stand out in the cold with orchestra members clutching their precious instruments. We waited 20 minutes while the fire department came in and inspected the building. We had a grand time!

Thankfully our audience stayed with us and we picked up where we left off and proceeded to play our second set and we were on fire! By the time we got to the encore, Dancing Queen of course, the whole place was on it's feet jiving. Even the lady on crutches in the front row was jiving! You can dance you can jive having the time of your life....

She had such a good time she had us all sign her instrument!

Lis Sodeberg signs the crutch

Andrea Koziol signs the crutch (that's Katalin Kiss in sequins!)

Stephanie Martin signs the crutch

Nothing can keep us from ABBA...

I had a wonderful time this weekend singing the music of ABBA with the Niagra Symphony Orchestra and brilliant JnC vocalists Katalin Kiss, Stephanie Martin and Lis Soderberg.  Wicked company, great tunes, very satisfying harmonies, was not a weekend for the faint of heart.  (Read that last sentence again in a scary Vincent Price voice, and then continue.)

We drove through an epic lake effect snow storm to get to the gig.  Whiteout conditions, jackknifed trucks, icy treacherous highways...but even an arctic hurricane couldn't keep us from ABBA.  A surprise mid tune fire alarm did require the complete evacuation of the building into the frigid cold...but even impending disaster couldn't keep us from ABBA.  There were also monsters and aliens that we had to fight off with our bare hands, even they couldn't keep us from ABBA.  (OK, that last part was made up, but I'm an artist...I'm built to embellish.)

Our audiences were nothing short of amazing this weekend.  There was copious dancing in the aisles (even by the lady with crutches in the front row!) and a few feather boas liberally applied to our gorgeous conductor Bradley Thachuck.  As the dust settled, and the fire trucks retreated, I couldn't help but feel fortunate.  Three very sincere cheers for the outstanding Niagra Symphony Orchestra and its' administration.  Three cheers for the fantastic crowds that came out to these snowy dangerous shows.  Three cheers for the killer JnC band that always makes it look so easy, and so handsome.

I can't explain why, in the midst of all this excitement, I didn't have my camera handy.  Alas, I have no pictures...but I decided to draw a very realistic and artful sketch of what you might have seen if you had been there.  Enjoy! 

See you down the road...

Monday, February 2, 2015

Halifax! Not for the faint of heart!

Entry by vocalist Stephanie Martin
Re: The music of Michael Jackson, January 16 & 17, 2015
Jeans 'n Classics with Symphony Nova Scotia

It was cold on the latest JNC trip to the Maritimes. Not just your regular, dead o’ Canadian winter cold, but arctic vortex polar freeze your wind chill face off cold!

We were in Halifax from January 15th to 18th performing with the sublime Symphony Nova Scotia. 

All JNC peeps present: Jeff Christmas, Mitch Tyler, Bob McAlpine (fittingly), Don Paulton, and on vocals this weekend, singing the music of Michael Jackson, Gavin Hope with backing vocals by Stephanie Martin, Kathryn Rose and Lis Soderberg.

We mostly stayed on the inside of the Lord Nelson Hotel and the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium as we prepared and gave our two sold out concerts. Here is the crowd doing the cellphone/lighter rock concert thing to "I'll Be There".

It was a special birthday weekend for me as my son was celebrating his 15th birthday back home in Toronto without the one who actually did all the work giving birth (me!). I got KR and Lis to help me send wishes back home.

Click right HERE to hear and see Steph, Lis, and KR singing Happy Birthday to Oliver!

Still photo of us singing Happy Birthday... to see the video, click HERE.

Also, I had invited my best childhood friend Manon from Montreal to join me in Halifax to celebrate our mutual big milestone birthday (guess which one!) ...Hers was in November, mine in April.

I’ve known Manon since I was in grade 2 and we’ve stayed friends all these years through thick and thin, boyfriends, heartbreaks, husbands, babies, careers, aging parents. We’ve weathered every storm together and this cold Halifax chill was not going to stop us from doing a little sightseeing. We got down to the harbour and walked along the famous Halifax boardwalk, then stopped at the gorgeous new public library and enjoyed a warming cappuccino and spectacular view from the rooftop café.

Time for a quick goodbye at the airport after a great weekend and back to our lives and families! See you next time, Halifax. Preferably in the summer!