A blast from the past on P.E.I.

Sally Cole scole@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on February 21, 2014

With storm after storm pelting snow and ice on Prince Edward Island, residents are looking for new ways to escape from winter.

One new offering is a musical production called Happy Daze to be held at Park Royal United Church in Charlottetown on March 1.

Beginning with a hearty chili/soup supper and a sundae bar at 5:30 p.m., the meal is followed at 7 p.m. by the Park Royal Radio Show, featuring music from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

The show aims to transport the audience back in time with music performed by well-known Islanders who put their own take both on the performance and the person being portrayed. The musical mood is enhanced with a stage that is set up to resemble a radio station of that era, as well as a box of appropriate props borrowed from the Young at Heart Musical Theatre for Seniors.

And then, there’s that boisterous band of volunteers, including both on-stage performers and those behind the scenes.

“It’s going to be a night of golden oldies with all-star performers, hosted by Ocean 100 DJ Ron Gillespie,” says Hank Stinson, one of those performers to be featured in the show with his wife, Rowena.

Well-known for his work at the Charlottetown Festival, the actor says his family is happy to share their talents.

“I play Billy Nelson and Rowena plays Beverley Everly, so we’ll be doing some music by Willie Nelson and the Everly Brothers,” says Stinson.

Backing them up will be the FM G-Gees, a guitar group that meets Friday mornings at the church.

In addition, there’s an impressive lineup of vocalists, organized by the church organist/choir director, who will add their talents to the show.

“Valerie MacKenzie knows a lot of people who love her and are willing to come and perform at almost a moment’s notice. So we have Dave Altass from the Blue Crystals, Sylvia Mutch, Hannah Rollwage, Judy and Joan, Among Friends, Step By Step, Teachers in Harmony and Friends, who will be singing musical selections from the different eras,” says Stinson.

Special guests include Sheridyth MacNeil and Kevin and Cyndi Proude.

Gillespie is also looking forward to the talent-driven night.

“I will be the DJ, but mostly I’m introducing the local acts that will be performing. It’s going to be fun,” says the Ocean 100 radio announcer.

Keeping with the spirit of the evening, everyone is invited to come dressed in period costumes.

“Bobby socks and poodle skirts, Brylcreem and bell bottoms are welcome,” says Stinson, adding the event is a fundraiser for the church.

“We were looking for fun fundraisers, and Valerie MacKenzie came up with this idea,” says Stinson.

Besides supporting the church’s heat and light fund, a portion of the proceeds will go to the Sherwood Elementary School breakfast program, says Donna Carr who, with along with Stinson and MacKenzie, is a member of the fundraising committee.

“We’re hoping that the event will bring spring a little bit earlier to P.E.I.,” says Carr.

Sally Cole is a features writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at scole@theguardian.pe.ca or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054.


If you are going

What: Happy Daze

Where: Park Royal United Church, Charlottetown.

When: March 1. Chili/hearty soup supper at 5:30, concert follows at 7 p.m.

Admission: Tickets are $10, adults, $5, children and are available from Donna at 894-9656 or Proude's Shoes, Charlottetown.