Traci Kennedy and Lori Holden are known more for their community minded sunny personas, than for being divas. So Traci’s choice of the down-to-earth “Railway City” name for the girl groups she aims to inspire and coach, with Lori’s help, is appropriate. Of course the two will no doubt play up the diva component in good fun – so all in all the "Railway City Divas" name is perfect.
What could be better for young aspiring singers, than to receive coaching and tips from two highly regarded local entertainers, and then provide opening act talent for some of their shows. It’s the chance to develop singing skills, have a good time and be on a fast track to real-life performing opportunities.
The Princess Avenue Playhouse made full use of their new sound system this past weekend with performances by Quartette Friday, and by popular local entertainers, The Sheridan Band on Saturday and Meg Barber McTaggart on Sunday.
The Quartette show, sold out well in advance of Friday’s engagement, was also a celebration of the many improvements made possible by a generous donation from the estate of Dorothy Palmer. The gift has enabled the theatre to make upgrades to roof, stained glass, sound system, stage and more.
Executor Andrew Gunn was on hand Friday evening to present a plaque commemorating Dorothy Palmer’s donation. Elgin Theatre Guild president Peter Leack noted the Guild’s delight with the help - upgrades which had been planned to take place over the next several years, have suddenly been possible in a matter of months.
Andrew Gunn highlighted the last sentence from the plaque, “Let members of the Elgin Theatre Guild and all others who perform here do so secure in the belief that music and theatre are significant parts of what constitutes the good life in this community.”
Members of the four-woman Quartette and their excellent back-up musicians presented a line-up Christmas music which showed off their rich harmonies, and also demonstrated just how superb that new sound system is.
At show’s end, Quartette member Sylvia Tyson complimented the quality of the theatre for music, noting that in their travels over several years Quartette has found that such lovely, small venues are becoming fewer in number. She reminded the audience how important it is for the community to give the Playhouse its on-going support.
The Sheridan Band
Here is the full text from the new commemorative plaque.2011-2012
The renewal and restoration of the Princess Ave. Playhouse was made possible by a very generous donation from the Estate of Dorothy Fay Palmer (1925-2010).
A graduate of St. Thomas Collegiate Institute, Dorothy Palmer taught elementary school children in Eden, Sparta, and at Myrtle Street School in St. Thomas. An accomplished pianist and singer, she particularly enjoyed her role as music instructor in the schools and as a member of church and community choirs. Mrs. Palmer lived her whole life as a resident of Elgin County.
Let members of the Elgin Theatre Guild and all others who perform here do so secure in the belief that music and theatre are significant parts of what constitutes the good life in this community.
For more about the Elgin Theatre Guild and upcoming shows, visit www.elgintheatreguild.ca
The first Rotary Music Festival took place in St. Thomas in 1952 – it has continued almost every year since, giving thousands of local musicians opportunity to share and develop their talents by competing with others and receiving tips from qualified adjudicators.
The tradition continues from February 27th to March 2nd 2012 when the 58th Rotary Music Festival will host hundreds of musicians in a wide range of classes, at several venues in St. Thomas.
Before heading into 2012, though, the work of festival volunteers is to distribute the syllabus and get the word out in order that musicians can get themselves registered before the December 19th, 2011 deadline. That’s when event organizers can begin to line up the competition venues and let competitors know their performance times and locations.
It was Christmas Time with Stephanie McIlroy at Coffee Cultures in St. Thomas, Thursday December 4th as she treated the packed coffee house to her new song, It’s Christmas Time plus a selection of her traditional holiday favourites.
Between festive tunes, Stephanie reflected on the special meanings the songs have for her. Then she called upon the band to join in, with “Lets rock this coffee shop!” - which they proceeded to do. Stephanie carried the crowd along through performances of her own songs and a number of well-known popular hits. Launching into Queen of Hearts, she enthused, “I love this song,” and the audience clearly loved the McIlroy and band rendition of it and others throughout the evening.
Stephanie’s talented band includes Rick Van Rycheghem
(bass guitar & banjo); Jeff Mifflin
(bass guitar); Rick Chrysler
(drums), all from the Chatham-Kent area.
Photographer Mark Girdauskas
was on hand to rock and get some great shots of the evening. See the sampling below, then visit his website to see more.
Read Anita LaRue’s article about Stephanie McIlroy in the 2011 Holiday Edition of Relish Elgin
. Visit her facebook page for the latest news, and download It’s Christmas Time
for enjoyment over the Christmas season; if you have an upcoming event calling for some crowd-pleasing music in a wide range of genre, give Stephanie a shout via manager Jennifer Mott (519-639-4744).