Wednesday, October 09, 2013

On dancing (eek!)

In exactly one month from today, I will be recovering from having danced in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of people for Kingston's Dancing with the Easter Seals Stars event on Friday, November 8, 2013.

I'm pretty sure "EEK!" is the appropriate onomatopoeia for this situation.

Truth be told, I haven't had a real practice session in 2 weeks, due to a combination of scheduling misfortunes and, well, being ill with that cold/flu/whatever that's making its way around town.

Yup, I'm starting to get nervous.

There's so much to think about! Dress, hair, makeup. Not to mention remembering all the steps, and then executing them with poise and grace and charisma, and to the music to boot! Then there's the fundraising aspect. Trying to get my friends, family, contacts (that's you!) to purchase tickets ($100), or tables of 10 at a reduced rate ($900). Or at least, to vote online by donation ($10 = 1 vote).

Because not only is Dancing with the Easter Seals Stars Kingston an awesome and exciting not-for-profit fundraising event that helps to provide equipment, resources, and opportunities for local children with physical disabilities to live an integrated and independent life, it's also a competition. And you, the people, my audience, get to decide who wins the grand prize: bragging rights.

So while I sweat away on the dance floor (sometimes also known as the tiny bits of useable dancing space in my apartment), while juggling Teacher's College, and thesis writing and editing, and practicum responsibilities and my other Kingston community commitments... Well, would it be too much to ask for you to support me in this endeavour?

Whether you attend the event and enjoy a delicious 4-course meal by famous Kingston chef Clark Day as well as the drink tastings and the entertainment provided by local dance troupes and the competition dances and the open dance floor...


Donate to vote for one of the 7 dance pairs, (personally, I'd recommend voting for me, but all the money goes to the same place, so do as you wish!)...

It's much appreciated. Thank you for your support, and I hope to see you at the Kingston Banquet & Conference Centre on Friday, November 8, 2013.

PS: Vote here! Purchase tickets or tables here!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

On Roch Voisine

When I was a teen, one of the only ways I could fall asleep easily was to listen to the radio. In the summer, I'd fade away to Rodger Brulotte's epic Montreal Expos broadcasts on CKAC 730, but when the Expos weren't playing, or during the rest of the year, I would switch from AM to FM and listen to CKAC's sister station, Cité Rock-Détente, an adult soft rock station that played both French and English songs.

It was Cité that introduced me to Quebec greats like Beau Dommage and Eric Lapointe, as well as French-from-France classics by Charles Aznavour and Michel Sardou. It's also on these airwaves that I fell in love with Roch Voisine.

My first encounter with Roch Voisine took place in Grade 2, when the teachers at the francophone private school I was attending decided that we would sing Roch's "La Berceuse du petit diable" for our school concert. The lyrics were a little complex at times for an 8-year old, but the melody was enchanting. Even now, when the music starts and Roch sings, "Mickey Mouse et ton teddy bear," I'm transported back to my childhood.

The fascinating thing about Roch Voisine is that it seems that he was always slated for success. He fell into music when a baseball injury effectively ended what was to be a promising professional hockey career (I know!). And just like Celine Dion, Roch quickly became a bilingual singer, with hits in French and English. In fact, his second album, Double, was a double CD (so punny!) that included a disc with all French songs and another with all English songs.

You've probably heard "Shed A Light" or "Kissing Rain" or maybe even "Helen", the English version of Roch's first hit, "Hélène". I remember hearing "Jean Johnny Jean" and "J'entends frapper" over and over on the radio. Surprisingly, I remember not liking the song that has become my francophone favourite, "La légende d'Oochigeas." My favourite anglophone song, hands down, is "With These Eyes". I heard it recently and while I don't remember what I related it to when I was younger, it still makes me feel like cry-singing along with Roch.

Why am I going on and on about Roch Voisine? Because he's coming to town soon. This month, actually. Roch will be taking over the Kingston Grand Theatre on October 19, 2013 and I really really really hope he plays my favourite songs. Because there's nothing worse than finally getting to see your childhood idols live in concert and having them play only their modern hits.

I think one of the reasons Roch Voisine left such a mark on me is not just his clever lyrics, or his semi-husky voice, or his ability to write and sing in both French and English. I think it was his determination to keep searching for a career he could love that made me love him. And I mean that in a completely platonic way, of course! As a teen trying to find her way, finding out that someone who did so well for himself also had to struggle to find his way after his first dream ended? I was pretty impressed.

And so when Roch Voisine starts belting "Deliver Me" on October 19th, I'll be right there in the crowd singing along with him. So... Apologies in advance if you end up sitting next to me!