Tag Archives: Emma Wright

GBCS Battle of The Bands Becomes Music Madness

by Bill Monahan

The bi-annual showcase of musical talent from Georgian Bay Community School in Meaford, known in the past as GBSS Idol, and now Music Madness returns in a new form this year, with the first round of eliminations happening at the school this Friday.

All grades from nine to twelve will be represented in a range of styles that include trios, duos, solos, all-girl and all-boy bands.  Featured performers will include Emma Wright, Mira Woodhouse, Max Breadner and Owen Kearns, and among several other acts adding up to sixteen competitors.

Bands like Tears For Ophelia and the Ted Brownlow Band, and solo artists like Abby Woodhouse and Greg Smith have emerged from past contests at the school.  This year’s show includes performances from Sweet 16 and Elite 8 (the bands, not the basketball teams).  It’s always exciting to see these young performers in their early stages.

This year’s competition has been organized by the students’ Music Council, which gets together every Monday at lunch time to plan events.  It will follow a different format from past, a “bracket” system similar to sports tournaments.  A pair of acts will face off in a series of rounds that eventually will come down to two acts.  Each round is decided by the audience and the favourite will move on to the next round.

In a second show at the school on May 11th, the acts will be narrowed down to the Final 4 and the
Top 2 before the winner is decided.

The first round of competition starts at 7 p.m. on Friday Apr. 13 in the cafeteria at GBCS.  Tickets are $5 at the door.

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Meaford Musical Community Shines In “The Last Waltz”

Review by Bill Monahan
featured photo courtesy of Patti Kendall

On Saturday night at Meaford Hall, “The Last Waltz – Meaford Style” was a celebration of our musical community unlike anything that has been seen before.  A complete sellout more than a month in advance, the show featured a cavalcade of home grown talent that was equal to any visiting talent that has graced this great venue, and the audience loved it.

The template for the show was the famous Martin Scorcese film from 1978 that documented the last concert by The Band, with all of the performers who had been part of that celebration represented here by local talents.  It was actually the 41st anniversary of the original concert, which took place at Winterland in San Francisco on November 25, 1976.  The film set the bar high for a group of local performers who had little more than a month to practice.  They rose to the occasion. The band was tight, often indistinguishable from their model, and each performer who contributed tributes to the other performers did a stellar job.  The energy from the audience matched that coming from the stage.

Jaret Koop photo courtesy of John Scerri

A few of the vocalists stood out with their ability to mimic the originals to an uncanny extent.  Drew McIvor’s take on Doctor John’s (Mac  Rebennack) “Such A Night” had that New Orleans drawl down cold, and Jaret Koop perfectly captured Rick Danko’s anguished vocals on “The Shape I’m In”.

Fran Bouwmann photo courtesy of John Scerri

Fran Bouwman did a great take on Joni Mitchell’s “Coyote” (and even looked the part), and Tom Thwaits version of Neil Diamond’s “Dry Your Eyes” sounded like the real thing.  John Hume reproduced not only the vocal parts but the keyboards (that beautiful Hammond organ sound) with fidelity.

Sandra Swannell photo courtesy of John Scerri

Others added their own special talent to the songs that reflected what they bring to music.  Sandra Swannell’s violin solos on “Acadian Driftwood” and the encore “I Shall Be Released”, and Emma Wright’s vocals on “Evangeline” were spine-tingling standouts.  Chris Scerri’s vocals, of course, are 100% his.  He’s a belter and his style made new versions of the songs he covered.

 

My Sweet Patootie and Emma Wright Join Cast of The Last Waltz

Chris Scerri is lifting the veil on more local performers who will be guests at The Last Waltz.  Along with the band that plays The Band, there are many other performers to reference as part of that concert. In this tribute, all of the performers will be local stars.  This week Chris announces that Emma Wright, Sandra Swannell and Terry Young will be on the program.

Canadian Folk Music Award winners Sandra Swannell and Terry Young, who live in Woodford when they’re not on the road, are currently preparing their annual Harp and Holly Concert Series.  They will joining one of the world’s foremost Celtic harpists, Sharlene Wallace for a series of concerts featuring baroque Christmas songs.  This is a side project from their main gig as My Sweet Patootie, the roots and ragtime band that’s attracting attention in the U.K. from their regular touring there.  Their annual Harp and Holly concert was born out of a love for timeless music that evokes something about the Christmas season that live in the hearts of all of us.  They’ll be playing concerts during the Christmas season at three local venues in Owen Sound, Colpoy’s Bay and Sauble Beach, as well as in Guelph and Oakville.

Being part of The Last Waltz, Meaford Style, gives Sandra and Terry a chance to share music with their community here at home.

“A sense of community,” says Sandra, “That’s what Martin Scorsese captured between the musicians, both on stage and off in the epic film The Last Waltz.” 

Two Communities Meet At The Arena

Two communities will come together at the Meaford Arena on October 12th, the date of the Home Opener for the Knights of Meaford hockey team.  For the first time, the game will be kicked off with the national anthem performed live.  The singers performing the anthem will from our local musical community, a practice that will continue through the season at all home games.

Emma Wright will be singing the anthem at the first game.  She is an obvious choice, not only because of her talent but because she has sung the anthem for several years at the Canada Day ceremonies in Meaford.

The idea originated with Jason Acres, Marketing Director for the team.

“Every year we try to make out program better,” he says, “In years past we’ve had a DJ, but this year we’ll be bringing in someone to sing the anthem.”

To find the singers to perform, Jason turned to Chris Scerri Presents.  Chris was happy to take on the task, a chance for him to do something different from the big shows that he has been bringing to our community.  For him, community is what it is all about.

“It’s a great way of bringing the two worlds together,” he says.  On the one hand it will make local music fans more aware of our local hockey team, and as he says, “hockey fans will learn to appreciate that there is a lot of live music and great local talent happening in our town.”