As more and more Canadians roll up their sleeves to get their second COVID-19 vaccine, Halifax Musical Concerts suggests a third that requires no needle. Instead, this “vaccine” is intended for your soul, brought to you through the power of music.
We’ve got a repertoire that explores transitions in relationships, reuniting relationships either romantic or friendships and the basic human need for connection that we’ve been so starved for. – Christopher Wilson
First seen at The Carleton in October of last year with Broadway or Bust, Halifax Musical Concerts’ upcoming show should have been the company’s third. Like so many other arts groups, though, the pandemic had other plans.
“We had a sold-out show called Cocktails and Candy Canes at the beginning of December, but then we hit the second wave, and it was cancelled,” says Halifax Musical Concerts’ artistic director Christopher Wilson who also lost out on a similar gig in Charlottetown.
But that was then and this now, and Wilson is back at The Carleton for two nights this month with an appropriately titled new show, Musical Connections (A Vaccine for the Soul).
“I’m someone who loves a good alliteration and I originally wanted to call the piece ‘COVID Connections’ but someone pointed out that perhaps having COVID in the title might not be the best idea for marketing,” says Wilson with a laugh.
Instead, Wilson substituted the word musical while retaining his original sentiment by adding the subtitle in parentheses. The result is a collection of songs from the musical theatre canon that reflects the good and bad of relationships and connections.
“We’ve got a repertoire that explores transitions in relationships, reuniting relationships either romantic or friendships and the basic human need for connection that we’ve been so starved for,” he says.
While Wilson may have chosen the theme for Musical Connections, the musical theatre artists he will perform alongside helped select the songs. They will include an eclectic mix from shows such as Thoroughly Modern Millie, Frozen, Into The Woods, and Little Shop of Horrors.
Joining Wilson onstage are Halifax-based artists Dominque LeBlanc, Rebecca Guilderson and David Light. Chuck Homewood will accompany the four artists on piano.
Light is particularly excited to be returning to the stage as the past 17 months have been the longest he has gone without theatre since he started performing. One of the songs he will sing, Waving Through a Window from Dear Evan Hansen, continues to have a special place in his heart and represents the theme well.
“I had first listened to the Dear Evan Hansen album around the time I lost a friend to suicide, and something about that song has always made me think of them,” he says. “After losing a few more people during COVID the lyrics still ring true. We all can relate to feeling isolated and alone after the year we’ve had.”
Wilson hopes that any lingering feelings of isolation and loneliness will also begin to wane as the group rebuilds a connection with their audiences. “I’m glad that we’re performing at The Carleton where there is a sense of closeness and intimacy,” he says.
Musical Connections (A Vaccine for the Soul) plays The Carleton (1685 Argyle St, Halifax) on August 3 and 4. Visit thecarleton.ca for tickets and information.