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Diversion Entertainment’s ALTAR BOYZ review by Brian...

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Diversion Entertainment’...

Diversion Entertainment: ALTAR Boyz November 5, 2015 Sensational ALTAR Boyz Will Make Your Day ROCK by Brian Hay This production starts out as a great time and then keeps getting better. The first few minutes have it a combination of dance, choreography, musical delivery, dazzling set and lighting and humour guaranteed to leave people breathless with amazement and laughter. The only question is whether it can be sustained. The people involved with Diversion Entertainment's production of 'ALTAR Boyz'  spent the next hour and a half not only answering that, but also showing it could be elevated to higher levels. The first thing to say is it's FUN-NEEE! Really, really funny. Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker's musical treatment of Kevin Del Aguila's book drives every point of his scathing overview home with a resounding thrust. Boy Bands along with the technology and the material underbelly that permeates peddling of gospel through mass media takes hits ...

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Catch Me If You Can – Reviewed by Brian Hay

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Catch Me If You Can –...

Theatre Sarnia: Catch Me If You Can Saturday October 25, 2014 Ensemble Production Scores Big On Music, Humour And Visual Beauty by Brian Hay (Catch Me If You Can runs until November 1) The thing that sinks in as this show progresses is that it's a lot funnier than what the subject matter suggests. But … why not? The true story of Frank Abagnale Jr. is so preposterous it defies the imagination. Cian Poore plays the main character with a convincing amount of swagger and a degree of charm that insures his like-ability. It doesn't matter that he's a crook because he's an everyman, and also, a nice guy. His portrayal of Abagnale is of a person who wants those close, including his adversary, to be happy and well. In his natural range Poore was excellent, hitting the highest notes and navigating extended passages with authority. He struggled with a few of the tenor sections but ...

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Ottawa Discovers Sarnia Musicians

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Last week I received an interesting email from Kevin McGowan, a former Sarnia resident now living in Ottawa and writing for an on-line magazine called The Revue. Below is the email with his request...   Hi MaryAnne! I'm a fan of your shop (always drop in when visiting my folks in Sarnia), and I'm also writing for TheRevue.ca. I'm doing a series called 49 Above, featuring acts from smaller towns/cities across Canada. I'm wondering if you'd have any recommendations for the Sarnia area? Would be glad to mention your store in the articles, too... Cheers, Kevin Kevin McGowan www.therevue.ca www.twitter.com/therevue www.twitter.com/iamkevinmcgowan Needless to say, I was more than happy to provide him with some names of our local musicians.  I am thrilled to say, he did a store complete with song samples of one of my recommendations - ERIKA & SARA.  CLICK HERE for the link to The Revue. A few days later, Kevin did a story on our ...

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Live Music Cafe: The Sisters of Soul review by Brian Hay

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Live Music Cafe: The Sisters of Soul Saturday September 13, 2014 by Brian Hay There's a reason for the name of this event that honestly never dawned until I walked in the door. The ladies provide snacks to go with the music. They're good ones too. Sandwiches, cubes of cheese, chips, a desert or two and coffee, all of which they make themselves make up the fare. The coffee, according to Fran Schweitzer, is even freshly ground. Before show time one or more of the musicians invariably greets people as they enter to make them feel at home. On stage, the core (for now anyway) seems to be Fran, percussionist Sue Webber, her husband keyboardist and harmonica player George, and singer/guitarist George Ayers. Hedda Doyle and Jaime Keelan augment the lineup frequently to lead numbers and add harmony vocals. Hedda especially, is an exceptional backing singer. Her lovely voice and perfect pitch penetrate and ...

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September First Friday Review by Brian Hay

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September First Friday Review...

The Element of Surprise Project: September's First Friday Event at the Cheeky Monkey Saturday September 6, 2014 by Brian Hay Usually the first thing that grabs attention is the musical dynamic a group has. This time it was the placement of the sound system and the musicians being spread across the entire back end of the store. Mostly players there seem to confine their activity to about half that space. The reasons are obvious. The business couldn't function that way and the band would sound terrible if the volume overpowered the room. That wouldn't be good for anyone but they had it controlled well. That was probably the doing of bassist Graham Dalley who's also a sound man. The next surprise was realizing 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' was their opener and it was followed by hearing how well guitarist Darren Diamond's voice was suited to the piece. Warming an audience to what's going ...

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Sisters of Soul Review by Brian Hay

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The Sisters of Soul: Wind and Music at Kenwick Park Wednesday August 27, 2014 Maybe it was nature's way of saying summer's winding down and the great open air musical events should be taken advantage of. Who knows? Chilly temperatures didn't stop the Sisters of Soul from putting on warming show for the good sized crowd that turned out. Drummer Sue Webber and singer guitarist Fran Schweitzer along with keyboardist George Webber and singer/ guitarist George Ayers combined for an eclectic set that flowed easily from material by Norah Jones to work by Lennon and McCartney. Hedda Doyle, a regular member, came up for the last two songs and filled in a canvas showing the musical landscape their different voices cover effectively. Hedda's voice is robust and sonorous with suggestions of power to spare. She'd be perfect for impassioned and heartfelt ballads. Fran's is well suited to upbeat and playful material. Her performance ...

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Diversion Entertainment: NEXT TO NORMAL – Review by...

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Diversion Entertainment: NEXT...

Diversion Entertainment at the Imperial Theatre: Next To Normal 0 runs August 7 - 9 & 14 - 16 Nightly at 7:30 pm Friday August 8, 2014 performance review by Brian Hay Henri Canino practically ran away with this show. More on that later. From the ground up Diversion Entertainment's production of 'Next To Normal' is a piece of music theatre that excels on all levels. The set, mostly conceived by Cian Poore, combined functionality and abstraction beautifully. Centring the staircase between two tiers provided four areas for activity. Having it run from a wide lower part to a narrow top is an idea that's so simple it can only be described as genius. The configuration formed an arrow leading the eye up and out while the exaggerated perspective that resulted enhanced the illusions of separation and distance. The device also "widened" the spaces between the four corners on both levels. Angling the outer ...

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July 2014 First Friday @ Cheeky Monkey by Brian Hay

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July 2014 First Friday @...

There was definitely a festive summer vibe in the air during the July 4th First Friday at Cheeky Monkey.  The fact that is was perfect weather enhanced the dance-able music provided by THE DRIFT.  Below is a review written by customer and music aficionado, Brian Hay.  The first time Brian heard The Drift was during ArtWalk when we hosted several local bands outside the front of Cheeky Monkey.  The Drift being a relatively 'new' band of 3 seasoned musicians, Brian notes the changes he noticed between June and July's performances. Also adding to the nights high spirits was the smiling, friendly face of Alison Mahon here selling the  "SARNIA 100 YEARS" books.   This is a gorgeous book commemorating Sarnia's 100th anniversary, researched and written by the History Committee, a sub-committee of the Sarnia Centennial Celebration Committee.  The book includes more than 120 striking historical images of the city as well as ...

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Theatre Sarnia’s Sound of Music – Reviewed by...

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Theatre Sarnia’s Sound...

The Sound of Music Theatre Sarnia May 2014: Directed by Richard Teskey Theatre Sarnia: The Sound of Music — Who Could Resist IT? Saturday May 3, 2014 by Brian Hay From the reaction of the near capacity crowd at the opening night of Theatre Sarnia's production of 'The Sound of Music', nobody. And who'd want to? The music Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote for the book by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse that chronicled the story of the Trapp Family Singers is among the most infectious and enduring of the 20th Century. The story itself warms the heart. Theatre Sarnia had a tall order with this one though, and some "technical help" from theatre gremlins giving them an early halloween didn't make things any easier. More on that later … The first thing the company did that addressed the difference between their production and the film was following the book and playing the first scene ...

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Our First Taste of Opera with Measha Brueggergosman

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Our First Taste of Opera with...

I admit it - I am an opera novice.  Over the 30+ years of being in the retail music and movie business, my first hand experiences in the opera world are limited to seeing Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis in Toronto several times, watching a DVD performance of Madam Butterfly and selling the occasional opera CD or DVD.  I say all this so you will read this review of Measha Brueggergosman's performance at Imperial Theatre on March 6th with a grain of salt - I may sound like I don't know what I'm talking about. First off, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to good friend Holli G. for the gift of 2 front row tickets to see one of Canada's, maybe the world's, best know sopranos.  We certainly are familiar with who Measha Brueggergosman is from her many appearances on TV including singing at the opening ...

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