The Northland Barbershop Chorus of the Sault, Ontario Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society is proud to announce its 53rd Annual Show will be presented Sat. April 8th, 2017 starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Kiwanis Community Theatre Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Show info can be found here: http://www.northlandchorus.com/annual-show.html
Background: The Voyageur Era In celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, the Northland Chorus will present a show set in the 1880’s, towards the end of the Voyageur era. The fur trade had been the backbone of an emerging national economy and at the heart of its Canada’s identity as a new nation. Fur had long been the primary currency and its pursuit is credited with opening up the continent’s interior as furs were sought ever further afield. It fell to the Voyageur to transport the furs from outlying ports to market, using only freight canoes and the muscle necessary to travel vast distances in harsh and dangerous conditions. By the late 1800’s, beaver stocks had plummeted due to over-trapping while at the same time, demand was falling as European gentlemen began to prefer silk hats to those made from fur. By the time the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed in 1885, transportation of bulky cargo by canoe had become impractical. The fur trade had come to an end and with it, the Voyageur’s way of life.
The Melodrama: This show is presented using a style of theatre that was popular in the 1800’s when the Sault was new: the melodrama. The word “melodrama” comes from “melos”, the Greek word for music, combined with “drama”. Melodramas were traditionally performed with live orchestral or vocal music accompanying the action. They feature stock characters such as: the heroine, the hero and his sidekick, and the villain – a scheming, black-caped character who menaces the heroine whilst twirling his long moustache in evil glee. Despite dire circumstances, in the end, virtue always overcomes vice. The Northland Chorus has a tradition of presenting a melodrama every 5 years, having previously done so in 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012. In 2017, the action is set at the ST. JOSEPH ISLAND TRADING POST, circa 1880.
Melodramas were and still are characterized by acting which incorporates large gestures and lavish facial expressions, an acting style once necessary so that people sitting in the backs of theatres could follow the action. Modern melodramas are more about having fun and are never intended as passive entertainment. It remains the essence of bringing community to theatre as the audience is encouraged to show its displeasure by booing and hissing at the heartless villain and its delight by cheering the heroine and her intrepid hero as good triumphs over evil.
Show Details: The 40+ man NORTHLAND CHORUS will present 9 songs in traditional 4-part barbershop harmony within an original play titled: “THE LAST VOYAGEUR”, an old-fashioned melodrama written jointly by chorus director BOB SHAMI and noted actor and director, HARRY HOUSTON (who also handles stage direction). The standard melodrama characters are all here: the hero – Voyageur Jean-Pierre André François Gaston St. Marie (RICHARD BUJOLD-VALLEE), the heroine – Erma Tinger (MARIE BUJOLD-VALLEE), faithful friends – Happy Gilbertson (BOB TISDALL) and Mosely Gullible (KEVIN COLLAR), and of course, the nasty villain – Louden Weezelle (CHAS CALAM). Piano accompaniment is by RONY DAL CIN.
FEATURED MUSICAL PERFORMERS
Northland Barbershop Chorus: Now in their 56th year. Bob Shami – Music Director
Headline Quartet – Forefront: World Class Barbershop Quartet from Indiana, Kentucky
and Ohio, they are the reigning 2016 International Quartet Champions, as judged at last
summer’s International Quartet Competition held in Nashville, TN. This is a cappella at its finest! http://forefrontquartet.weebly.com/
All Tickets: General Admission – $28.00* CDN Funds, available at:
- Theatre Centre Box Office* (Station Mall)
- Hess Jewellers (Churchill Plaza)
- Any member of the Northland Chorus Soo Theatre/STARS (534 Ashmun St. Soo, Mich.)
- Tickets may also be available at the door.
For Ticket Information: In Canada, Bob Shami at (705)-253-9574 and in the US, Bernie Arbic at (906)-635-1057
Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Curtain is 7:30 p.m.
* A $4.00/ticket service charge is added by the Mall Box Office to all tickets they sell. Box Office price is $28.00 + $4.00 = $32.00
A major portion of the show proceeds go, as always, to the Speech-Language Pathology Unit at Sault Area Hospital in support of local speech therapy programs. As of this show, more than $88,000 will have been donated by the Northland Chorus to this cause since 1995. Several thousand more has been donated to the Speech Dept at War Memorial Hospital in Soo, MI. Their support of local Speech Therapy Services is in keeping with their motto:
“We Sing … That They Shall Speak.”
The Northland Chorus has set a lifetime goal to contribute $100,000 to Sault Area Hospital not later than their 2019 show. Revenue derived from the annual show is their only source for donations to the Hospital.
More information about the long history of support of the local Speech Therapy services in both Sault’s by the Northland Chorus can be viewed on their website here: