Bondi Resort Blog

Come on into our Blog for a look at the wonderful world we've got to share! With over 240 hectares (600 acres) of wilderness woodlands surrounding the resort, just ten minutes from Algonquin Park, we feature over 400 metres (1200’) of waterfront and beach; boat rentals; summer hiking trails winding through fields and woods; 20 km. of groomed cross country ski trails and snowshoeing in winter; access to nearby snowmobile trails for sledders, and a toboggan hill for the young at heart.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Teaching Birds to Sing and Stars to Shine

You never know what will happen next.
I was invited to attend a function being
hosted in Dwight Saturday evening.  It was a live performance of the semi-finalists in the Long and McQuade Musical Instruments Amateur Singing Contest, with host John Santos.

The host venue was Bristlecone Lodge -- some of you will remember it as Nor'Loch Lodge. It has recently changed hands, and the new manager, Scott Martin, and his wife, have been hard at work to renew and recharge the facility.
It is wonderful to see the Resort back up and operating -- it is an asset to Dwight and all of North Muskoka.

A chance encounter resulted in them offering to host this event. Brilliant, really, as it is a perfect fit for the area and the time of the season.

John Santos, and Zack Werner opening the show
The ten performers rolled into Dwight in the longest stretch limo probably ever to grace that parking lot.

Truth is, I didn't really know what it was about.  While this is the 7th Year for this contest, it has not been on my radar.  Bringing it to Dwight certainly changed that!

Ten year old Adrianna Sarah sang in both English and
Portuguese, with confidence and lovely vocals.
I have to confess that I did not recognize show manager and vocal coach Zack Werner. I should have -- had I been a big follower of Canadian Idol, I would have...  But now I do know. Amazing man.

"It's an incentive for the performers to get out of Toronto. They've been practising for eight weeks, and it's a chance to get out," said Martin, "and a lot of them will never have been to Muskoka so it's something entirely new for them."

Victoria, another of the ten year olds... Wow!
So it was. One of the young performers commented that "It's really lovely up here. But COLD!" She should have been here a month ago...

Bella, 10, belted out some Broadway and simply
The show celebrates diversity and the contestants may sing in any language. In fact, along with the huge prizes up for grabs for the winners, there is an additional prize -- a trip for six people for a week anywhere in the world! -- for the winner singing in a language other than English.

The show is also about youth. The youngest performers were just ten years old, and wow, did they sparkle!  The 'oldest' this year was a whopping twenty years of age, but the show is open to all ages,

Marilee, originally from Ecuador...
It was great good fun. And it was refreshing to have the young singers perform without benefit of glitz and special effects.

No make-up... casual clothing... (the uniting fashion statement seemed to be mukluks and high winter boots -- see comment above about "it's COLD!")

The kids were real, down to earth, and just great.

J.R. (I apologize if I have her name wrong) took
on Beyonce's style and worked it well
The talent calibre was very high throughout the evening.  There is no 'set' style -- contestants sang everything from gospel, through pop, to Broadway.  And a whack of songs in Portuguese and Spanish for extra flavour.

The show was perhaps not so well advertised up here, and there could have been more of the 'locals' out to enjoy it. Hopefully they'll be back next year, and the word will have spread.  

Michael, one of the young adults, captivated the crowd

The winter weather this weekend conspired to mean that a lot of people were out on the snowmobile trails, enjoying the last big bash at the ski hill, or taking in Bowfire at the Algonquin -- so granted there was some competition for activities -- which just goes to show how much goes on in North Muskoka in late March. 
Stephanie, who rocked a version of Black Velvet

So, there it was. For a $5 donation which Bristlecone is donating back to the Dwight Community, we had the most fun evening. We met some great people, were treated to some wonderful music, and were inspired by these kids.  It was a real treat to see the poise and confidence exhibited by these young people. 

Alyssa, who's parents are from Trinidad and
Italy has a powerful, controlled voice. Bravo

I think for me that was the most notable part of this competition.  As well as providing a venue for people of all ages and all nationalities, it provides the contestants with training and a support system that will serve them all well in whatever career they eventually embrace.

Peter, 20, had never sung before he stepped onto
the audition stage. Good thing he did, because
he has a fabulous voice, and got my friend
Jackie's vote for best of the night.

Monica, another young singer enjoying the chance
to shine in a second language
What came to mind as I watched and listened and clapped and cheered last night was an old proverb...

It is better to teach one bird how to sing, than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.

While this contest might be new to me, it is certainly not new to the media. The Portuguese Press was there, a journalist who has been following the show since it's beginnings.

And OMNI television was out in force. In fact, the show will air on OMNI in about two to three weeks, on a program called "Culture Avenue"

So here's to John and Lisa Santos, and Zack Werner, and Stephanie the vocal coach and everyone involved in this contest.  Well done all of you.

John Santos and 2012 Juvenile Category winner
Alessandra Longshaw
And here's to the ten finalists. Run with this. Enjoy this. Learn from this.  While this performance was not judged, and was rather an opportunity to gain stage experience for the singers in a relaxed setting, when they go to the finals next month, it will be all about the red carpet and the glamour. Last year over 1000 people came out for the finals.

At the end of the evening, last year's winner, 16 year old Alessandra Longshaw sang. She is poised and confident, natural and talented.  This is just a tiny snip of her music -- you can go buy her CD when it is completed (it is currently in production, as part of her prize from last year)

thanks for the evening...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing!

    I hadn't known the lodge had changed hands.