The Windsor arts and theatre scene has heard the works of Sam Poole for a few years. He’s lent his skills to several local theatre companies, including Kordazone, University Players and most recently, creating music for an original adult Christmas musical from Post Productions.
So how does someone like this graduate from University? With a bang, of course.
For his graduation project, which he’ll be graded on, Poole chose to recreate the Jason Robert Brown epic musical theatre piece Songs For A New World, which was originally released in an off-Broadway production in 1995.
Poole’s version of Songs For A New World will be open for public performances on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 1 and 2, 2019) at 8pm at the University of Windsor’s School of Creative Arts Armouries Building (37 University Ave W.). He’s bringing along a four-piece band and four of the city’s brightest young singers to pull it off.
519 Magazine was invited to a rehearsal this week to check it out and audiences are in for a musical treat this weekend when the live performances and the educational grading begins.
Songs For A New World is not an easy soundtrack to pull off. It musically bounces from theme to theme with some of the most vocally demanding parts out there. He’s put a lot of faith in his singers to help him graduate, but each one of them has incredible skill.
Female singers Sara Fontaine and Kaitlyn Karns provide much of the feminine in the show – Fontaine was fabulous during Stars and the Moon and Kaitlyn Karns pours the emotion in I’m Not Afraid of Anything, a song that is quickly becoming a signature piece for her (she performed it at Cabaret For A Cause earlier this year.
Micheal Roy offered touching vocal performances in his romantic songs like She Cries and I’d Give It All For You, while Benjamin Doncom offered a bit more colour with his flashy characters in songs like The Steam Train and King Of The World. Doncom will also be performing with Tiffany Taylor and Nikki Knight at a Windsor Express pre-game concert as part of the 519 Premium Concert Series on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Even during a rehearsal, it was obvious that this piece takes a lot of skill and effort to pull off – and it’s certainly not the usual fair for a graduation session. Poole rocked the piano for the whole show, offering minimal vocals to open and close the show. His playing was smooth and commanding – all he needs it the flashing coat with tails and it’d feel like a grand show on a grander stage.
The accompanying band was solid, with Alex Aideira-Leite on bass, Michael Karloff on synth, Nicholas Baddeley on drums and Vanessa Harnish on percussion.
Songs For A New World is an unforgettable experience. The music is stunning and the vocals are mesmerizing – it’s certainly more than just a performance to get graded on, it’s a performance to set the tone for an incredible career ahead.
Catch Songs For A New World while you can, this Friday and Saturday (Feb. 1 and 2, 2019) at 8pm at the University of Windsor’s School of Creative Arts Armouries Building (37 University Ave W.). Tickets are $15 and available at the door or at http://www.uwindsor.ca/music/533/songs-new-world.