It seems to me that there are two types of Islanders: those who know about The Maud (and, in turn, always try to get to it each year) and those who for one reason or another don’t go to The Maud.
Those who are Maud Whitmore Concert regulars know how much work goes into the show each year, know how entertaining it always is and know how it never fails to be a one-time-only gem of artistic delight.
And the 37th annual Maud Whitmore Concert, which took place this past Sunday night at Confederation Centre’s Homburg Theatre, certainly proved to not only be a success in attendance — associate artistic director Wade Lynch reported near the end of the night that the show sold over 800 tickets, raising over $16,000 for Maud Whitmore arts scholarships — but it also proved to be the kind of enchanting evening that we Maud-goers know is all-at-once typical for what we’ve come to expect and yet, of course, all-in-all truly out-of-the-ordinary.
With 28 performances featuring a variety of instrumental music, singing, acting and dancing — all presented by the cast, crew, orchestra and staff of the Confederation Centre — by the end of the show, it did feel as though we’d all just indulged in a Fisherman’s Wharf length salad bar buffet of entertainment.
With a unique beginning (the traditional start to the show has been Mrs. Lynde stating, “Isn’t it grand? They got up a concert!”), this year, her character was usurped by the host of the night, and star of Evangeline, Adam Brazier, dressed as Mrs. Lynde.
This set the dial to off-the-wall right away, as we were then treated to a surprise performance of “If it hadn’t been for us” by the Confederation Centre staff and crew, which was wonderful in both concept and execution.
As for the main body of works, it is so difficult to break down an overall stupendous concert like this into highlights.
But, if I were to try to do so, from the first half I would have to mention performances like Josée Boudreau’s Life of the Party (a sultry and sensational show tune number near the beginning), With Just One Glance (a pristinely synchronized dance duet by Reece Rowat and Kimberly Truong), Try (a song by Pink that was sung by Andrew McAllister, as the true meaning of the song was emphasized even more when McAllister’s microphone shut off and he then belted out the final chorus in passionate perseverance to the theatre, completely un-amplified), My Party Dress (as Jessica Gallant delivered this epically in character as a hyperactive little girl), Fire Dance (a show-stopping duo Celtic dance number by theatre ushers Danielle and Isabelle Saunders) and Matt Campbell’s heart-wrenching solo vocal performance of Hallelujah.
Highlights from Act Two would include Marcus Nance’s sensational opening number of Summertime; the hysterical “Johnny Vindaloo Presents”; Cameron Francis’ wild and intricate solo tap dance number (that completely bowled the audience over), what I would call the “most impressive bad vocal performance I’ve ever seen” — Susan Henley’s singing of A Word on My Ear; Sandy Winsby’s magnificent delivery of Nessun Dorma and Laurie Murdoch’s hilarious “A Very Serious Performance” — which included the destroying of a stage violin, followed by an absolutely haunting Danny Boy on the saw.
Yes, the saw. Definitely one of my favourite points of the night.
2013 Maud Whitmore scholarships were given out at the end of the night to Seth Johnson, Sean Young, Charles Douglas, Stephanie Hickey, Matthew Campbell, James Carrier and Alicia Toner. Jill McRae, conservator of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, was the winner of the first annual Don Harron Award (Harron was present for the occasion).
And with a bonus finale of Bosom Friends (from the original Anne of Green Gables – The Musical) that featured all the performers from the night singing together on stage, it was a perfect way to wrap up an evening filled with the furthering of dreams and the indulgence in delight.
Next week: I’ll be heading off to see Charlie A’Court at the Old Belle River Church.
Todd MacLean is a local freelance writer and musician. If you have a comment or suggestion for a review, you can get in touch with him at email@example.com or at 626-1242. But he won’t be offended if you don’t.
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