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Get your croon on! Shaw Festival wants to find Ontario’s next great crooner

Media Release #15

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, May 21, 2013 . . . Can you croon a song like Sinatra? Sing out a sultry tune like Billie Holiday? The Shaw Festival is celebrating the opening of Guys and Dolls, this year’s musical, with Luck Be a Crooner Tonight: unleash your inner guy or doll – a contest to find the next great crooner. The renowned repertory theatre company is inviting amateur singers over the age of 13 to upload a one-minute or less to Vimeo or YouTube of themselves singing Luck Be a Lady from “greatest of all American musicals” Guys and Dolls. The submission must be a solo, unaccompanied a capella performance and created without professional assistance. The contest is open to residents of Ontario; limit of one (1) entry per person and per email address.

Contestants have one minute or less to wow a panel of four (4) esteemed judges, all musical professionals: The Shaw’s Music Director Paul Sportelli, Jazz FM’s Heather Bambrick, and Sarah Slean and Royal Wood, internationally renowned artists with Yamaha Canada Music Ltd.

The winner will receive the following prize package:

  • two (2) Platinum tickets to a performance of Guys and Dolls at the Shaw Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake during the 2013 season;
  • the new Broadway Cast Recording of Guys and Dolls (CD);
  • Shaw Festival swag bag from The Shawp;
  • an opportunity to meet the cast of Guys and Dolls;
  • hotel accommodation (one room, based on double occupancy, including breakfast) for one (1) night in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON at a one of three Vintage Hotels; and a
  • Yamaha Audio System (TSX-112).

The total approximate retail value of the Grand Prize is $1004 CDN.

How to enter:

Contestants must upload a video of them singing Luck Be a Lady Tonight and post it on the Shaw Festival Facebook page (www.facebook.com/shawfestival). Open to Ontario residents only. For complete eligibility requirements and full contest rules, visit www.facebook.com/shawfestival and click on the Shaw Festival contest tab.

Contest Closes:  June 14, 2013
Winner Announced: early July 2013

The Shaw’s 2013 season runs until November 3 and continues the theatrical conversation with a potent and diverse playbill that is entertaining, challenging, surprising and unique, featuring  Our Betters, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Enchanted April, Major Barbara, Faith Healer, Peace in Our Time: A Comedy, The Light in the Piazza, Trifles and Arcadia.

For tickets or info about The Shaw, visit: www.shawfest.com.

The Luck Be a Crooner Tonight: unleash your inner guy or doll contest is sponsored by Jazz.FM91 and generously supported by Yamaha Canada Music Ltd. and Vintage Hotels.

Judging Panel

Heather Bambrick – Jazz Vocalist & Broadcaster

Heather Bambrick is the host of Jazz FM’s popular morning show Wake Up … with Heather Bambrick. She is a winner of the National Jazz Award for Vocalist of the Year and Broadcaster of the Year and is in demand as a performer, educator and host. Ms. Bambrick was a founding member of the Beehive Singers, whose debut recording won them a Jazz Report Awards for Best Vocal Group. Both of Heather’s solo CDs (It’s About Time, and Those Were The Days) were nominated for Best Jazz Recording at the East Coast Music Awards. She has twice been honoured as Broadcaster of the Year awards at the National Jazz Awards.

The native Newfoundlander is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, and is currently on faculty at Humber College. Additionally, she is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator at music festivals across Canada.

Sarah Slean

Over the course of her 15 year career, Sarah Slean has made eight albums, starred in two short films and a movie musical, published two volumes of poetry, held exhibitions of her paintings, written two string quartets, and shared the stage with five of the country’s leading orchestras. During that time she was nominated for three Junos, two Geminis, and her records have been released in over 10 countries world-wide. 2002’s Atlantic Records debut Night Bugs, co-produced by Hawksley Workman, delivered a bona fide radio hit in Sweet Ones, a song that has since been covered twice on Canadian Idol. The release of 2004’s critically acclaimed Day One heralded the beginning of a promising career in France, garnering national radio play, several key festival slots, national tours and an appearance on the hit television show Taratata – as well as tours in Germany and Sweden.

Sarah’s music has also been featured on both big and small screens in the US (Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, Party of Five, Murder in Small Town X). 2008’s The Baroness debuted at #1 on iTunes Canada and spawned three national tours, winning accolades and support slots from such artists as Alanis Morissette and Rufus Wainwright. An EP of its outtakes entitled The Baroness Redecorates showcases Sarah’s remarkable talent as a string arranger – an aspect of her art that she continues to develop on the new double album Land & Sea, for which Slean has penned four original scores for 21-piece string orchestra. With the production might of renowned Canadian songwriter Joel Plaskett on “Land” and award-winning film composer Jonathan Goldsmith (Away from Her, Casino Jack, Take This Waltz) on “Sea”, the resulting ambitious

double-disc plays on contrasting aesthetics and perspectives. In Sarah’s words, “Land is a celebration of all that is worldly and temporal; the human dramas we participate in, the struggles, the unusual, and at times uncomfortable wonder of being a separate, individual consciousness.  Sea emerges from that within us which is eternal… the sense of a timeless unified consciousness.  It is the dawn of a clear perception that the universe, in all its staggering diversity, is one.”

Paul Sportelli – Music Director, Shaw Festival

Paul Sportelli is currently in his 15th season as The Shaw’s Music Director. Mr. Sportelli’s growing list of credits at the Shaw Festival includes musical director/conductor and co-writer for Maria Severa and Tristan, music director and conductor for Ragtime and My Fair Lady, One Touch of Venus, and many, many more. He made his Broadway debut conducting Aspects of Love and his Massey Hall debut conducting a 32-piece orchestra performing with Colin James and his Little Big Band. Mr. Sportelli has also conducted at the Skaneateles Music Festival (NY) and was musical director for Harbourfront World Leaders galas for Stephen Sondheim and Joni Mitchell. He received his Bachelor of Music degree and Performers’ Certificate from the Eastman School of Music and his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. This season at The Shaw, Mr. Sportelli is the musical director for Guys and Dolls and The Light in the Piazza.

Royal Wood

Royal Wood’s career has been established with critical acclaim and impressive musical achievements. His latest release We Were Born to Glory debuted in the Top 25 charts in Canada and was recently nominated for “Adult Alternative Album of the Year” at the 2013 Juno Awards. The single I Want Your Love reached No. 1 on the CBC Radio 2 charts for three solid weeks, and remained in the Top 20 for 14 weeks straight. His videos for Not Giving Up and The Glory both found heavy rotation on Much Music. His music has been used in several TV and Film productions, including major TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Being Human.

A 2011 Juno nominee for Songwriter of the Year, a past recipient of the iTunes’ Songwriter of the Year, and finalist in the International Songwriting Competition, Royal has been asked to co-write with such notable artists as Randy Bachman (BTO, Guess Who), Colin James and Wayne Petti (Cuff the Duke).

His abilities as a producer and an arranger were recognized on his 2010 release The Waiting, when iTunes and CBC Radio 2 named his record one of The Best Album’s of the year. His records have been released worldwide on Maple Recordings/Universal and Rounder Europe, and he has successfully toured in Canada, USA, Germany, France, The Netherlands, UK, Ireland and Italy. Wood has also supported national tours with David Gray, Sarah Harmer and Serena Ryder.


Yamaha Canada Music

Yamaha Canada Music has been a dominant force in the music industry providing award-winning musical instruments, ranging from brass horns, strings, woodwind instruments, acoustic and electrical guitars; digital and custom drum kits to digital and acoustic pianos. Proud supporters of young and new artists, Yamaha Canada Music has supported numerous festivals, scholarships and funding for music associations as well as donations for charitable organizations and non-profit programs encouraging the importance of music education. Yamaha Canada Music is a longtime supporter of the Shaw Festival and has been proud sponsors of their organization over the years.

Shaw Festival

The Shaw Festival is a theatre company inspired by the work of Bernard Shaw. We produce plays from and about his era and contemporary plays that share Shaw’s provocative exploration of society and celebration of humanity.

Please visit our website at www.shawfest.com/news for other Shaw Festival media releases.

Image Bank

Our digital image bank features 300 dpi photographs of the 2013 season handbook photo illustrations, members of the Ensemble, photographs of our theatres, Bernard Shaw and the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. To access our image bank, please contact:

Odette Yazbeck
Public Relations Director
905-468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222

Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Coordinator
905-468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2224

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