Volume 12 Week 5

Friday, Feb. 23


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Bob Monette




(Posted 3:30 p.m., Feb. 8)
'ABBA-cadabra' concert pure barber shop magic
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Naomi Pelz leads the Bytown Beat Chorus during their performance of 'ABBA-cadabra' at Orleans United Church on Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

When you think of ABBA you don't necessarily think of barber shop harmonies and vice versa, but the 70s super group and the unique genre of vocal harmony were uniquely combined by the Bytown Beat Chorus on Saturday in their concert production "ABBA-cadabra".

It's been more than two years since the Bytown Beat last appeared in concert on an Orléans stage. The all-female chorus has 37 members who all share a love of barber shop harmony. That love was evident for all to see and hear on Saturday as the chorus, minus three members on leave, celebrated the music of ABBA with the help of special guest member Naomi Pelz who took the audience down memory lane as Lauralee.

The first half of the concert featured such well known ABBA classics as "Take A Chance On Me" and "Dancing Queen" reaarranged by Bytown Beat director Chris MacMartin.

Some of the highlights included "Does Your Mother Know", "Super Trouper" and "Mama Mia" which brought the first half to a close.

After a 15-minute intermission, the audience was treated to a special guest performance by awarded-winning Sweet Adeline quartet "Spritzer" who wowed the crowd with five songs, each of which was a shinning example of the genre.

Special guests Spritzer perform during the Bytown Beat presentation of 'ABBA-cadabra' at Orleans United Church on Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The four women who make up "Spritzer" live in three different cities; London, Milton and Buffalo, N.Y. which made their unbelievable performance that much more unbelievable.

After the magical, musical interlude is was back to ABBA but not before Bytown Beat delivered a spell-binding barber shop version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" that Mr. Cohen himself would be proud of.

The rest of the concert was like a cherry on very delicious sundae. "S.O.S.", "Knowing Me, Knowing You", and "I Have The Dream" set the table for the perfect closing song "Thanks For The Music" followed by a reprise of the opening song "Dancing Queen".

The Bytown Beat Chorus is based in Orléans and practices every Monday evening at 7 p.m. at Orleans United Church. Prospective members must first audition, but no formal music training is required, just a love of music and especially barber shop harmony. To schedule an audition call Chris MacMartin at 613-837-6978.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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