Virtuose lives up to its billing
The entire audience of 500 people at Friday night’s Virtuose, le spectacle concert stood again and again, hands clapping wildly, to applaud singer, pianist and all-round entertainer Gregory Charles and his three young classical musician protégés.
The concert was the only Ontario leg on the 16-stop cross-Québec Virtuose tour, a chance for audiences to experience live the remarkable talent of the young musicians Mr. Charles presented in his TV series, telecast earlier this year on the Radio-Canada network.
Alexandria was selected because one of contest’s finalists was 17-year-old cellist Noël Campbell, from Alexandria, who wowed the TV program’s audience with his technical prowess and raw spicatto attack.
The others performers were violinists, 14year-old Laurianne Houde from Lévis, Québec, and Marjorie Bourque, 18, from Saint Georges de Beauce.
The program was a crowd-pleasing mix of classical and popular music with the young musicians performing classical solos and accompanying Mr. Charles as he explored pop, jazz, and finally, film theme songs shouted out by the audience.
What may surprise those who attended the concert is to learn that there was no rehearsal for the performance.
According to Gabrielle Campbell, Noël’s mother, Mr. Charles knows their repertoire after working with them on the TV program. On stage he call outs what they will play next and the show moves along.
The three young stars, who played with Mr. Charles at Place des Arts August 13, also recently recorded a Christmas album with him to be released in a few months.
Noël Campbell is looking at a very busy autumn. On Sunday, his parents helped him with his move to Montréal. Over the next months, he will be performing in the Virtuose concerts in Val d'Or, Saint-Eustache, Terrebonne, Gatineau, Châteauguay, Drummondville, Trois-Rivières and Laval.
Also, on September 3, he will be performing as a soloist at le Sommet des Arts et de la Musique de Longueuil.
In June, Gregory Charles was invested into the Order of Canada. At the ceremony, he was praised for his “infectious energy, creativity and dedication to ensuring that the performing arts and culture thrive in Canada and abroad.”
The Montréal-born recording artist, television personality, actor, teacher, concert-hall singer and pianist was a child protégé himself, winning a national piano competition at age seven that catapulted him into the limelight where he played with some of Canada’s most prestigious symphony orchestras.
It would seem that Mr. Charles is now on a mission to use his talent and charisma to nurture and provide extraordinary opportunities for Canada’s next generation of classical music talent.
VIRTUOSE: Gregory Charles strikes a mock serious pose as he promises the audience “just one more encore” at Friday's dazzling Virtuose concert at Église Sacré-Coeur in Alexandria. With him are series finalists, Alexandria cellist Noël Campbell and...