Breathtaking performances by vocal ensembles and soloists from the Sunshine Coast under the direction of 95-year-old impresario Nikki Weber played to sold-out houses at the Gibsons Heritage Playhouse on July 9th.
The Silver Lining Revue began with local four-part harmony group Sh-Boom, consisting of Mike Weber, Ron Leclerc, Colin Mailey and Allan Nienhuis. The band sang a range of rock ‘n’ roll classics, including a frenzied medley by Roy Orbison that included solos by Leclerc, Mailey and Mike Weber.
Mike himself channeled Elvis Presley for a wacky rendition of Teddy Bear, while Mailey caused audible sighs from audiences of all ages during his rendition of the 1951 ballad Blue Velvet.
The group was followed by the J-Tones, a three-voice female ensemble consisting of Joy Germaine, Joan Vernon and Jan Gillis. Their delicate version of Bye Bye Blackbird also demonstrated the versatility of the pianist of the evening, Miles Black, who accompanied the track on guitar. Germaine returned after an intermission to sing a sultry version of the vintage 1962 Peel Me a Grape.
Nikki organizes the harmonies for the bands and provides ongoing musical direction. During a six-hour rehearsal on Saturday, she sat in the front row of the theater to give commentary and encouragement.
“I’ve been in show biz since I was five,” said Nikki, who was born in the West Indies and moved to Holland when she was 10. “I’ve been doing harmony since I was little. My sister and I were always in harmony. It was good for me during the war because we could sing and have food instead of money. I think music is uplifting at all times.
Nikki’s son Mike is a Sh-Boom staple, and her granddaughter Maddy delivered two powerful solos before being backed by sombrero-topped Sh-Boom members for a rendition of mariachi Y Andale. .
Soloists Jacqueline Allan and Trudi Diening also performed. Allan complemented his singing of seductive numbers like Let’s Do It with service as the show’s emcee. Diening delivered three pieces with such tenderness and precision – particularly in his rendition of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now – that audiences leaned forward in their seats to savor every note.
Besides pianist Black, the backup band included bassist Boyd Norman, saxophonist and flautist Karen Graves, and drummer Kristian Braathen. Braathen, who grew up on the Sunshine Coast, was one of many young artists Nikki recognized and nurtured.
“When I heard him play the drums,” Nikki said, “he got it so quickly. When he was doing that, I said to his mom, ‘He’ll play the drums a lot more than once. » » Today, Braathen is a professional musician and founder of the Kristian Braathen Trio.
During the second half of the show, Brian Harbinson joined Sh-Boom as a powerful soloist on In the Still of the Night. Harbinson will take on a full-time role in Sh-Boom when Mailey moves to Vancouver Island later this year.
Nikki is already planning her next show for a date this fall. “All my life music has been one way or another,” she said, “either listening or doing the arranging.
It was wonderful, lots of laughs and I’ve been there for a long time.