On October 23, at the Empire Theatre and Centre for the Performing Arts in Belleville, the Quinte Arts Council (QAC) and Shaer Productions are producing another exciting concert – BelleVegas III – Hipper than Ever! Building on the success of the previous two concerts, BelleVegas – This is Hip! and BelleVegas II – Hip for the Holidays, we are expecting record crowds to this year’s event, as it has proven to be very popular.
BelleVegas III- Hipper than Ever! is a variety show featuring musicians and singers performing with Variety, The Dance and Show Band. Each will pick songs from Variety’s extensive playlist, then take the stage with the band for an incredible night of music and entertainment.
Variety’s lineup of musicians includes Wendy Shaer, vocals; Neal Mattice, lead guitar; Lance Jeffrey, drums; Andy Coffin, trumpet; Tim Roberts, bari/tenor; Roger Chong, trombone; Duncan Cooper, keyboards; and Dan Shaer, vocals/tenor/keyboards/drums. For this special event, two more horns from The Power Connection, Variety Band’s alter ego, will be joining in.
Guest artists joining them are Jeanette Arsenault, Lenni Stewart, Tim Hunt, Tim Campbell, Kim Dafoe, Debra Tosh, Susan Walsh, John and Jenn Miller (Power Connection), Sam Brady, and MC Rick Zimmerman.
Audiences will recognize Susan Walsh from Belleville Theatre Guild musicals, singing with The Commodores Orchestra and Frank Howard Orchestra, years of performing with the five-piece vocal group Harmonie, an amazing decade of rockin’ and rollin’ with The Cadillacs Showband, and directing, producing and performing in the annual For The Love of a Song fall fundraiser since 2007. Susan is a recipient of QAC’s Arts Recognition Award.
Jeanette Arsenault is a singer/songwriter who has independently released seven solo albums, plus one with her trio, Trinity. Her songwriting touches on social issues, patriotic themes, humourous views of life, women, children and good old-fashioned values. She had sung for our Canadian Olympic athletes both in Salt Lake City in 2002 and in Athens Greece in 2004, and for the Olympic Torch Relay Celebration in 2009.
An accomplished singer/songwriter and entertainer, Lenni Stewart’s repertoire and vocal style concentrate on two main genre groups – traditional jazz and boogie blues, and country rhythm and blues, with her two bands, Lenni Stewart Trio and Manhattan Rouge Jazz Trio. “Like a fine red wine, Lenni’s sound is full, vibrant, smoky and sensual…,” states J.D. Carpenter, jazz poet and award-winning Canadian novelist.
Sam Brady will be back on the BelleVegas stage, with his dynamic energy and enthusiastic vocals. Sam is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Belleville where he leads the weekly song singing as well as sharing his vocal talents when Rotarians get together each year for the annual weekend trip to help out at Camp Merrywood, an Easter Seals Camp for children with disabilities.
Mezzo-Soprano, Kim Dafoe is Arts Department Head at Centre Hastings Secondary School in Madoc and no stranger to concert halls and theatres of the area. Stage and solo credits include work with The Kingston Symphony, The Kingston Summer Festival, The Kingston Grand Theatre, The Quinte Symphony, The Stirling Festival Theatre, The Trentones, For the Love of a Song, The Westben Arts Festival Theatre, Tweed National Theatre, The Belleville Theatre Guild, Bridge St. United Church and Opera Buffa.
From David Clayton Thomas to the songs of The Eagles, John Miller’s full tenor voice can sing them all. A lead singer at heart, John can own the stage but also loves to lend vocal support to every voice he meets. John is currently the lead male vocalist for the Power Connection – Rock Horn Band. John has also sung with Variety Dance/Show Band, and his own band Quarterline. He’s appeared in several Shaer Productions of musicals including: Superstar, I’ve Heard That Song Before and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat. And in the St. James Players production of West Side Story.
Jennifer Miller is an outstanding vocal talent who can deliver a heartfelt ballad or a kickin’ rock tune. Jennifer is the consummate entertainer who is at home playing a variety of instruments, or on the theatre stage playing a role in shows such as Annie, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music and many Shaer Production musicals. She is lead female vocalist for the Power Connection – Rock Horn Band and has sung with Variety the Dance & Show Band and Quarterline.
Tim Hunt is a singer, songwriter, entertainer and Founder of Musicians for Hope. He spent much of the 80s and early 90s recording original music, then set his sights on live performance. Tim created Solitary Man, a world-class tribute to the music of the Neil Diamond and has performed under that stage name since 1991. Tim recently formed a new band called The Getaway, performing hits from the 60s through to today.
Wendy Shaer is an experienced vocalist, with both live bands and theatre. She is the lead female vocalist with Variety the Dance & Show Band, The Power Connection, and the Dan Shaer Big Band. She played in many Shaer productions including Mary in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, Mother Superior in The Sound of Music; the Broadway version of A Christmas Carol; and was Narrator with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Wendy is also a past vocalist with the Ron Merringer Big Band.
Guitarist, singer and songwriter, Timothy Campbell is a renowned performer in Quinte. He owns Keynote Studios and has helped to instruct and produce many aspiring and professional musicians. As the producer of the radio show Handmade Music, he helped area artists gain access to the local airwaves. A co-founder of Musicians for Hope, he continues to use his talents to respond to his neighbours in need. He is a founding member of many groups – Sands Of Time, Bentwood Rocker and All You Need Is Love and is actively recording and performing, both solo and with the Timothy Campbell Band.
Debra Tosh is thrilled to be invited invited back to the BelleVegas stage. She is a very familiar face in Quinte, as an actor, director, producer, singer and successful realtor with Re/Max Quinte Ltd. Brokerage. Debra has performed on many stages, including The Empire Theatre, The Belleville Theatre Guild, the Musical Gifts Series at the Belleville Public Library and for corporate and private events. This Belleville native has volunteered countless hours to her community and helped raise funds for many organizations. She has received a directing award at The Eastern Ontario Drama League Festival and an Arts Recognition Award from QAC.
Rick Zimmerman studied theatre at Ryerson University in Toronto, and began his professional career in theatre in 1975 as a mime and puppeteer. He has worked on stages in Toronto and throughout Ontario, in summer stock musicals, workshopped new plays, and toured Theatre for Young Audience productions from Moose Factory Island to Sioux Lookout. Rick has also produced and performed for corporate and special event weekend presentations, and, with his partner in Toronto, was part of one of the first “Murder Mystery Troupes” in Canada. He is one funny guy with great wit and timing.
Show producer, Dan Shaer, has over 40 years of experience as a musical director/band leader/conductor/arranger and performer. He toured extensively as a professional musician in the 70s and has since gone on to lead The Music of Your life Orchestra (1980s), which later became The Dan Shaer Big Band. He was the drummer for the Commodore Orchestra for 9 years, and currently leads Variety the Dance and Show Band and The Power Connection. Dan has two degrees in Music from Queen’s University and is the driving force behind all of the Shaer Production musicals and bands. Dan also created and produced Canada Rocks – A Musical History Tour. He and his wife Wendy owned The King Street Centre for the Arts. Dan is thrilled to be working again with such a talented group of vocalists and musicians.
Don’t miss this incredible night of music and entertainment that will have you bopping in your chairs and dancing in the aisles. Tickets are $25 each, plus surcharges and tax, and are available at http://www.theempiretheatre.com or by calling 613-969-0099.