The 60th Anniversary Concert on the evening of Saturday, June 9, at the Betty Oliphant Theatre at Canada's National Ballet School was advertised as "The Very Model of a Gala Evening Concert" - so I checked out my dictionary to see how it defined Gala: what ought I to expect? Gala (noun) - a festive occasion or celebration; (adjective) - characterized by or suitable to celebration; festive.
Did the show we saw live up to that definition? You bet it did!
Mark DuBois began his professional career with the Toronto Gilbert and Sullivan Society more than 30 years ago and, as Canada's premier lyric tenor, was our first choice to headline the evening, and did not disappoint us. With soloists Bernie Lynch, Corinne Lynch, Roy Schatz and Laura Schatz, and a chorus of 22 people recruited from various performing groups in the GTA, many of whom I have seen as principal players, and with the talented and always reliable David McCartney at the piano, we knew we were in for an evening to remember. And that's exactly what we got!...
Mark's first contribution was the ever-popular "Take a pair of sparkling eyes" from The Gondoliers, and in addition to his versions of some of our favourite tenor numbers from the Gilbert and Sullivan canon, he went on to offer us not only selections from Broadway shows (West Side Story, The Phantom of the Opera, Gigi, Jekyll and Hyde and Les Miserables) and operetta (The Merry Widow), but also a Neapolitan song (O Sole Mio), and even an Ivor Novello number from a London revue (And her mother came too). He concluded with a thoroughly delightful rendition of O Danny Boy. All these were received with rapturous applause by a highly enthusiastic audience, who were clearly pleased to have the opportunity of joining in the choruses of many of the G and S numbers offered during the evening.
Mark was billed as an "entertainer extraordinaire", and his presence, style, sense of humour and lightness of touch made us realise how apt a description this is. He epitomizes what the overworked word star really means.
On Saturday night, Mark's star shone in a galaxy which included Corinne and Bernie Lynch and Laura Schatz, as well as Roy, all of whom are fixtures on the Toronto Gilbert and Sullivan scene, and deservedly so...
I began this review by quoting the dictionary definition of the word Gala. I will end by returning to the dictionary. Further rummaging revealed that in Swedish, the verb Gala means to make a sound characteristic of a rooster; to crow. For me, and for everybody else in the audience on June 9, the 60th Anniversary Gala Concert was certainly worth crowing about.