Michael Gabriel takes the stage at Georgian Theatre in Barrie
A group of local musicians and singers will be participating in a live concert with singer songwriter Michael Gabriel next weekend in Barrie. Some of the proceeds will help Youth Haven. SUBMITTED
A group of local musicians and singers will be participating in a live concert with singer songwriter Michael Gabriel next weekend.
The three groups have been learning and rehearsing his original songs for the past month before they come together for the live show, ‘Michael Gabriel Strings Attached’ - he has also worked each group separately.
“We just had this idea and kept building it - first and foremost it’s a professional show,” said Gabriel, who stages similar concerts, working with groups in communities across Canada and in the US. “It works - my music, strings and choral backing works really well for the style I write.”
He started with a core group of musicians and kept adding to it, featuring local people from each community he performed in.
For the Barrie concert, he will be performing with two musicians from his core group and two local musicians will join him - Margot Hamilton, from Melody in Me, Barrie, will be playing the piano and Louise Martin, director and founder of Huronia Arts Academy in Barrie, will be playing lead viola.
Martin will also be bringing an 18 member string section from her school to perform at the concert. The other two local groups include the Simcoe Singers (25 adult voices) and approximately 12 students from Eastview Secondary School’s chamber choir.
Gabriel, who marks his first time performing in Barrie, said setting his pop music to melodic strings with choral backing takes it to a different level. He has composed all of the music and organizes the concerts for each community. While he is working on the Barrie show, he is also preparing for similar concerts in Winnipeg and Ohio. Prior to each concert, he does free previews, performing solo at local libraries to help build awareness for the show.
“It’s integral to what we’re doing - I’m not a household name but we really have to get the word out (and) the library gets a couple of tickets to raffle off,” said Gabriel.
Born in Vancouver, he came to music later in life - although he did play drums in high school. He worked in theatre, film and television for a while. During his training as an actor, he took a singing class and was hooked. Classical vocal training followed and he marked his first performance as a singer with an Italian folk song in his early 20s. Then, he taught himself how to play the guitar - he loves the finger picking classical style of playing.
Gabriel has performed as a classical singer in Vancouver, has been the lead singer in bands in both Canada and the United States. He’s also released three full-length solo albums as well as one with Strings Attached.
For the past 10 years, he’s lived in southern California. He started Strings Attached in 2011 and it has become his main focus. He travels in an RV from community to community. For the concerts, he plays guitar and sings lead vocals.
Each concert also has a charitable component. Ten per cent of ticket sales will go to Youth Haven in Barrie.
Michael Gabriel ‘Strings Attached’ unfolds on Friday, Oct. 2 at the Georgian Theatre, 1 Georgian Dr., Building C, 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 each, $20 for students, available at the box office, 705-739-4228.
For more, visit www.barrie.ca/Culture/Theatres/Pages/GeorgianTheatre.aspx and www.youthhavenbarrie.com.