Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. ...Charlie Parker
Charlie "Yardbird" Parker, famous saxophonist from the 40's, spoke from the point of view of the artist, but music also finds meaning in the listener, a receptive tuning fork who resonates with memory as seductive sounds filter through the psyche. My memory cells were activated by the Mantini sisters, Sandra, Ann and Barbara who appeared on stage at the King's Warf Theatre at Discovery Harbour on the shores of Penetanguishene Bay where Mayor, Anita Dubeau, boasts that "the scenery is magnificent and the setting perfect for summer theatre productions."
The melodic trio hails from Niagara-on-the-Lake where they began singing 15 years ago. Now, they tour Canada and the United States with their production of "Moments to Remember"
a trip down memory lane, recalling the great female singers and groups of the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's.
Ann, the self-professed "youngest" sister, provided comic relief as we harmoniously toured through four decades of song. They began with the "Big Band Era" featuring Helen Forrest, I've Heard That Song Before, Kitty Kallen, It's Been A Long, Long Time, Helen O'Connell, Tangerine and Doris Day's Sentimental Journey.
The Mantinis also sang Doris Day's Secret Love and Everybody Loves a Lover. Connie Francis, Patti Page, Judy Garland, The Maguire Sisters, Dinah Shore, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, Teresa Brewer ... wow, we arrived at an intermission swelled with myriad recollections.
In Act Two, there was some heavy-duty hurting music from none other than Patsy Cline,
the Queen of Hurt (Walkin' After Midnight, I Fall To Pieces, Crazy and Heartaches) Do you see a negative trend here? Then Brenda Lee's I'm Sorry. It reminded me of watching Sean O' Casey's Plough and the Stars at Niagara on the Lake's Shaw Festival where attendants should have handed out razor blades at the end for the audience to slit their collective wrists. What a depressing play!
The 60's restored levity. How can you take groups seriously that are
named Cordettes, Shirelles, Dixie Cups and Chiffons? Do you remember any of their songs? Here's a short list: Mr. Sandman, Will You Still Love Me?, Chapel of Love and One Fine Day.
Before the show, we dined at Captain Robert's Table Restaurant located beside the theatre. The buffet was good and a duo played and sang every song that Billy Joel has ever recorded. The cost for the food and theater package was $50, well worth the price.
The next day, we experienced Midland Tours 2.5 hour morning boat cruise on Miss Midland, which traveled through the windswept pines and rocky majesty of Georgian Bay's 30,000 islands, circling Beausoleil Island and passing Honey Harbour's Delawana Inn.
Next, we plan to visit Ste. Marie among the Huron's and Martyr's Shrine. Ste. Marie is an authentic reconstruction of the original Jesuit mission established in Huronia in the early 1600's. Samuel de Champlain and Etienne Brule were the first Europeans to visit Huronia in 1615. The shrine was visited by Pope Paul II in 1984, and it represents a pilgrimage for thousands who wish to commemorate the Jesuit priests who were martyred in Huronia.
The Mantinis' concluding song summed up my attitude. Recorded by Karen Carpenter, its title is, We've Only Just Begun!
Mike Keenan writes for QMI Agency (Sun Media) Canada's largest newspaper publisher, printing 44 daily newspapers as well as a web portal, Canoe.ca. Besides regular columns for the St. Catharines Standard, Welland Tribune and Niagara Falls Review. Mike has been published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Buffalo Spree, Stitches, West of the City and Hamilton-Burlington's View Magazine. His work is found in QMI published dailies such as the Toronto Sun, Ottawa Sun, Vancouver Sun, London Free Press, Calgary Sun, Winnipeg Sun and Edmonton Sun.
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