Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas at the Commodore Ballroom

 The Hitmen

Kent Wallace, Bill Abbott, Tom Arntzen, Rachael Chatoor, James Wright, Shawn Soucy, Nathen Aswell
So last Satuday night I was singing with the fabulous Hitmen at the Commodore Ballroom  which is a Live Nation venue in Vancouver BC. It was truly an exciting end to a fantastic year. 

As I strolled around backstage during soundcheck, it occured to me that just last year I was there filming the Loverboy videos with Kelly Brock, feeling  in complete awe of the venue and the stage that has hosted some of  the most talented artists and exciting concerts this city has seen. Now here I was, about to be front and centre on the same stage with an amazing band being treated like royalty and I even had my own dressing room.
The gig was a blast and the band was on fire. The sound was amazing, the stage was vast and I was completely free to fly, so I did. I felt like a million bucks.
There really is not a lot more to say other than  just share a few pics from the night!
Nathan with his famous Stick ( a bass/guitar combo) and James Wright
(who sat in for Russell Marsland on guitar).

Its awesome playing any gig with Shawn Soucy, a long time dear and trusted friend, I
always feel very secure onstage knowing Shawn is laying down the beats.
No kidding, Tom is just fun onstage, another nutter of a showman I can  play off of and be goofy with.
The horn section just brings thing to the next level! LOVE it!

Watch out for my Vodoo child, watch out for my Vodoo.

I am glad to report that it all went very well, the client sent us a warm email saying he got floods of compliments from the crowd and that he thought it was the best he had seen the band,  he even pointed out the new vocalist was terrific (the new vocalist being me)!

So I ended the year with quite a bang, I am so thankful. This was my last gig of 2009 and it couldn't have been a more fantastic event to close with. I worked hard throughout the last year to get here, I wanted this gig very much, wanted to play with these boys more than anything and I admit I pushed and wished for a long time.  It didn't come easy  but I never gave up, and now, here I am, feeling very much like part of the family. It's been totally worth it. Thank you to the boys for taking a chance on me.
Looking back I am proud, and I am walking into 2010 feeling ready to take on any challenge.
This folks,  is only the begining.

Happy Holidays to you all, be good, be strong, face your difficulties head on and keep your chin up. Things always work out they way they are supposed to.
Talk to you soon........xox

Monday, December 7, 2009

midway, recording, and the final showcase coming up for the League of Rock

The girls of the League of Rock, Vancouver Chapter Session 2.
Nicola, Rach, Loralee

I've had so much fun over the last few outings with the League of Rock, everyone involved is now part of my Wednesday family, and that's just how it feels. :) Today's blog post features both my own pics as well as Sharylin's photos from the first midway session at the Fairview Pub. These photos tell the story of what happened a few Wednesday's ago when the 2nd session had it's first 'live performance' workshop. For this night we had two fantastic coaches who practically spend thier lives onstage Mick Dalla Vee (who recorded/produced my original CD) and Marc La France each were giving all of the bands their thoughts and suggestions in a small group setting after each band finished performing their mini-sets. This was a great opportunity to get a solid heads up on what each band could be fine tuning for the next live performance workshop. It was just a whole lotta fun and I  really noticed  that the returning members had somewhat of a calming effect on the newer ones. I think we all  quite enjoyed seeing each of the bands play for the first time as well. As usual there is a really warm community building that flows in amongst and between the bands and various members.


John Gojevic - Drums
Andrew Huige - Keys/Vox
Allan Keller - Vox
Bill McDonald - Guitar
Mike Rikely - Guitar
Colin Darling - Bass


James Gaffney - Guitar
Nicola Galassi - Vox/Guitar
Robert McFadyen - Drums
Dave Tucknott - Bass
Brian Wright - Vox/Guitar


Danno Brouseau - Vox/Guitar
Mark Hall - Guitar
Robert Boshaw - Bass
Nando Polesel - Drums


Enos Choy - Guitar
Rick Halliday - Drums
Stephen Pallavicini - Guitar
Loralee Parks - Vox
Al Rempel - Bass

Rob Boshaw and Mark (with his brand new  guitar that he won from the League of Rock (and  sponsors Long and Mcquade), during the showcase for the inagural session of the LOR!)

Mike and John

Pallivicini and Loralee



~hahahahaha and they were trying to make fun of US~

And the girls, Yes, yay for the girls! I'm so glad more chicas joined the League of Rock I dream of  a LOR all girl band that can really 'rock it' forming one day, one that we can take out on the road when we all start playing  some of  the cool events that the League of Rock members in Toronto get to play. Yes, make note of this Vancouver,  in Toronto....THOSE bands got to play for the Grey Cup festival, and for some fancy shmancy Yacht club party, just to name two of the events.............. just look at what can be done (and we love and support them of course)!! let's DO that Vancouver!

So, moving on here,  this was the first outing for the bands and it was a great success, the perfect warm up to the Yale midway which happened a week later and was also an exciting big success of a night. The Yale is a little bigger and brighter and the energy level went up an notch. Rob and Topher officially announced me as the host of the LOR show's in Vancouver so that was quite exciting to kick that off! Though it really was such a blur I hardly even recall most of what I did up there. I do recall that the bands did extremely well and they  all seemed to impress our super coaches (LOR music Director/drummer) Topher Stott and (musician/songwriter/producer) Tal Bachman . The cool thing about the second midway live performance workshop is that the comments are delivered over a microphone so the whole group was able to hear the advice to each band after they performed their songs. The coaches had a lot to say to the bands and they had the audience laughing out loud at times, effectively, we all were able to learn from their comments as well as our own observations.  It just was a great night all around and the bands are more than half cooked now. I wholeheartedly predict that the finale is going to ROCK people!

Next week, Topher is back to record with the bands at Nimbus Recording studios and I can't wait to be there for some of those sessions as well. The first time in studio for many people is very exciting and I love to witness it and be a part of it,.......... talk about good energy flying around, ~woot~ it's always a very cool night, the 'in the studio' night! 

And finally, I MUST mention that the FINAL SHOWCASE is coming up on Wed the 16th of December! All the bands play all of their songs and they will all be polished little diamonds sparkling for the audience at the Yale. SO many people said to me the last time after the first showcase, that they would love come to the finale the  next time....SO you have now been informed!  :)   Please note, for the first finale showcase  the Yale  was very busy so take this tip, don't arrive late if you want an actual seat where you can see something, don't say I didn't warn you. 
Doors at 6, first band starts at 6:30!

See you there!

Final note:  if you have a musical loved one on your Xmas list, I think a LOR membership is the perfect Xmas gift. The new session starts in January!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Merry Ho Ho ~ Canuck Place children's hospice....


Last Monday was the official tree lighting ceremony at Canuck Place children's hospice and I was honored to be able to provide some of the entertainment for the event. (My friend Rae gave me the heads up about the event so I emailed them and asked if I could be helpful.) The Vancouver Bach choir was the main focus of the night and they sounded just heavenly as they stood on the front steps near the tree and delivered their exquisite harmonies. They truly delighted the packed house full of CP supporters and VIP's who were invited to the event.
 The Vancouver Bach Choir and Fin!
The property is quite large however and near the side of the house under the gazebo was another mingling spot where all the treats hot chocolate and coffee were being served. The chior could not be heard  all the way over there so, the organizers requested I provide some carols for that busy area. I was thrilled to say yes!

I asked two of my dear gal pals to join me Layla Naomi Vaugeois and Kimberly Baskerville (who are both very busy singers working in this city). Layla sings at the Roxy nightclub in downtown Vancouver, if you have ever been to the Roxy on a Wed-Thurs-Friday night, you have seen Layla rocking it with her band Troy's R Us. Kimmy is part of the legendary March Hare band.
  Kimmy, Layla, Rach
The girls and I decided on our wardrobe, got together over a glass of wine and ran some songs together before showing up to Canuck Place. There was a lot of laughter and straight up silliness between us which carried on throughout the whole night right up till the very end where we were skipping through the xmas lights and doing cartwheels on the grounds. I love these girls! We really enjoyed singing together too, and the crowd was so warm and appreciative........ it was just a joy to be a part of the event.

  Rehearsing tunes and picking our parts!
  ~Carol Time~

We even got to jam a song with Canuck mascot Fin!

When you are  in the city this December do take yourself a little detour to check out the beautiful grounds of Canuck Place. They did an amazing job decorating the grounds and as the story is told, the Vancouver Canucks themselves dedicated a whole day on site, helping to hang the tens of thousands of Christmas lights that now sparkle throughout the property. What a team! What a facility! I'm just thinking before I sign off on this post, if you are looking for a place to make a charitable donation to this year, you may wish to consider supporting Canuck Place. They do a world of good for so many families. How special would it feel to know that you helped  provide a little bit of comfort to families who are facing the most difficult time in their lives.


With love and hearts............Rachael xo

Friday, December 4, 2009

stop the bullying.......

Oh my  it's been a busy week, I have much to tell but because I have been so busy and I am way behind in sharing things,  I can't even post the most recent event  right yet, what I have to do is go back to a long overdue video. Considering my past week which included a car crash, some big stupid bills, a sick cat who needs medicine and dealing with the snarky receptionist at the vet as just some of the highlights, I think a revisit to the World Kindness Concert is very timely.  I could do with the energy of these amazing people right now so I am quite glad this was next on my list.

The World Kindness concert  was something I covered on a kind of special assignment for Kelly & Rach's All access pass. The concert was amazing, the video has been made and I can't wait to share it with you but not before I confess at how dissappointed in myself I am..... I actually LOST the footage of the finale!! Come ON Rach. My heart fell into my shoes when I figured that out because the finale featured my dear friend Tiffany Hambrook, who is the sweetest most soulful beautiful person ever and quite possibly feels the world deeper than I do in an 'everybody and everything' kind of way. I had been waiting to see Tiffany sing live for a long time, and I can't believe that when I finally got the chance to feature how fabulous she was is in a video of mine, I lost the footage. Sorry Tiff, I owe you one. xo

All is not lost however, because I can refer you to Thesa who was also filiming the event. THANK goodness someone else was there filming. I've not met her before but  I emailed her and asked her for footage to use and she very kindly offered to send me whatever I needed. Our formats are very incompatible however and it was too much for me to co-ordinate, so the next best thing I figure is to feature Thesa's video with her view of the  finale here on my blog,  let's just consider Thesa's video as part two....... and please do say hi to a new 'video kid' in town Thesa Pakarnyk (she's also a singer)!

So, what is the world kindness concert?  Basically  a group of INCREDIBLE singer/songwriters, musicians and performers who are brought together to put on a magnificent concert aimed at raising awareness about bullying. Brock Tully is the man behind the curtain and being a man of many talents, he is also up front and centre stage. Brock is a published author and travelled speaker and his story is quite incredible. He tours around the continent on his bike (a pedal bike) going into schools telling kids in a very engaging & moving manner, just how and why they need to be kind to one another. I don't know very many souls who are as gentle as Brock Tully yet still hold the passion and will  to move people and encourage change.

Brock assembled a group of like-minded individuals, all as talented as the sun is hot, and put on a show that I was quite excited to shoot. Some stand-outs for me, Shari Ulrich. Shari has always  just mezmerized me whenever I see her onstage,  I just adore watching multi-instrumentalists and especially people who can  improvise and play along to most anything, and be so good and natural at it. Watching her play is not only just pure musical joy, it's like going to school in a way. I am so pleased to see she has a brand new Cd out  (and just in time for Christmas) with a name that certainly speaks to me, it's called 'Find our Way'!

Then there was the legendary Susan Jacks, and the supremely gifted songwriter Ron Irving both of whom I wholly enjoy everytime I have the chance to see them live (I've blogged about Ron Irving and his songwriting before). I was also very delighted to see Cecile Larochelle when I got backstage, she is a lady whom I have only recently met but she was a standout from the first introduction. If you haven't met her already, Cecile is a dynamic performer, an accomplished singing coach and as I learned on that night, an inspirational presence to many as the leader of a choir of talented singers. Michael Vincent was also there singing songs from his recently released CD including one of my favorite's  of his which is his version of What's Goin On. (click on his name to hear the song)

There were a number of performers whom I had not met before and it was inspiring to listen to all of them, they each brought their own unique voice and energy to the night. Anna Beaumont, Ivan Boudreau, Denise Hagan , Veronica Iza, Aaron Junior Turner, and finally but possibly most noteably  Michaela Slinger a 13 year old dynamo of a singer whom I suspect we will hear a lot more of in the future. All I can say about her is, wow~!

The band should be noted as well because these fab singers could not do it without them.....Bill Sample ~ Brian Newcombe ~ Shawn Soucy ~ Eric Reed

It was a beauty of a night, I can't say enough great things about it. Do watch for the World Kindness Concert to come around next year and please,  and if bullying is a problem at your kids school, consider asking your principle to invite Brock Tully to bring his heartfelt message and program to your children and community.

Be kind people.........with love, Rach.   xoxo

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

enough make me cry, Up your Watershed in Williams Lake

~Up Your Watershed / Williams Lake~

~Holly Arntzen and  Me~

More than 250 students from Kwaleen, Nesika and Cataline elementary schools came together last week at the Gibraltar Room in Wiliams lake for a mass concert in praise of nature.

The concert, called Up Your Watershed, was the culmination of weeks of work by individual teachers with their students, that was buffed up in workshops this week with Artists Response Team, Voices of Nature professional musicians Holly Arntzen, Kevin Wright, Shawn Soucy and Rachael Chatoor.

~ I have explained in greater detail what the Up your Watershed Tour is about in an earlier post, right here!~

Today, I'm sharing this video note to the kids, and below, I've included some of the  pictures I took last week which  should give you a glimpse of what our days leading up to the big show were like while hanging and working with the children !

~video note, this is a heart I send out to ALL of the kids~

SO, day one and we wasted no time at all getting to work! We went to two schools each day at first and spent a few hours at each. Here we are in the gym with the kids and the teachers, going over the songs and blocking out the concert.

~Holly Arntzen and Keven Wright are the creative force behind this whole operation, everything runs just tickety boo in this outfit. Part of the brilliance of this concert is the learning element that is inherent in the participation. Here, Holly and Kevin are reading the song introductions that the children wrote themselves. ~

~It was so cute, the intros that were chosen to be read out onstage, were read by the children who wrote them. They were so sincere and thoughtful. I'm not at all kidding when I say this, these kids had me very misty eyed several times throughout the week~


~more rehearsals~

~auditions for the solo parts~

~Shawn was named the official leader of the Salmon People~

~Shawn Soucy, Kevin Wright~

~Kevin had those kids in the palm of his hand~
~I think my guitar and bass look ideally suited for this gig don't you?~

~Holly, moi, and  our totally adorable, especially helpful  host Bev, out on a tour of Scout Island which is maintained by the Nature Trust.   Bev Anderson and Marg Evans (not pictured) play a major role in the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society, they are great supporters of the Up your Watershed program.

~peaceful and pretty~

Bev  from the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society invited the band  out to lunch at the Gecko Tree Cafe. By all accounts this turned out to be the best little eatery in Williams Lake, we went there 3 times in 3 days because they served up such delicious and fresh food.
(which is just what you want when you are out on the road)
Finding fresh food on the road...... it is like finding fairy dust, you become very thankful for it.
I think that if we had known about this place on the first day, we would have eaten there even more frequently than we did.
So, it was 8 thumbs up for the Gecko Tree!


~rehearsal morning, day of the show the kids are briefed by Holly, the energy is high, the room feels exciting, they can see now, this is a real show.......she has them entranced!~

~the Gibraltar Room~

Holly Arntzen
~show night was a thrill, the kids were ON~
(there will be promo DVD's of the concert if you would like to see the show)

Kevin Wright vocals, percussion, sax, bass
Shawn Soucy, drums, percussion, vocals
Rachael Chatoor vocals, bass, guitar

~totally awesome kids (and a gorgeous big hug for me from Danika)~

~more awesome kids~

~THANK YOU for all the treats and love you gave us all~

~after the show we signed a lot of autographs~

I was personally so very impressed, witnessing Holly's pure musicianship and magic while she is onstage performing. She is flawless, like liquid, just being the music. Not only is it fortunate for the children to be around her, but for me as well. I will learn so much from her as I go through this process. Already I've been required to push myself farther than I am comfortable going, already I have fallen and picked myself up. There was no reproach just encouragement. I can see there are things for me to learn here, and to give.  I seem to be ideally set up to fill some of the holes that the  project needs filling and that is important to me, perfect.  I feel so awkward just taking. It's much easier on the soul to give back in some way,  it feels right.  And so what do I do? I share the project online, in my own special way, so that other schools and children may see how fulfilling a project this is, and perhaps, you want your school to be a part of it.

Interested to know more?
Talk to Holly and Kevin through their website, or come to a show.
More shows upcoming...... Surrey (Dec. 3 - Bell Performing Arts Centre), Vancouver (Jan. 21, 2010 - Norman Rothstein Theatre) Vancouer (Mar. 2, 2010 - Vancouver East Cutural Centre).

Thanks to the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Fraser Basin Council for thier support!

So after the show, still basking in the glow of it all, the band joined a super cute and sweet Shirley from the Daybeak Rotary Club (who was a big help in this whole project)  for some after show chillax-ing Williams Lake style. We were discussing difficult situations where language barriers were clearly an issue, and I found it interesting when Shirley asked us if we knew what hand gesture  could be most  universally used to diffuse any difficult situation where language could be a barrier that would create misunderstanding?

 We all gave our guesses which ranged from a hand held out for a handshake, to the indian placing his hand high in the air in the classic  'how', to the hippie love peace sign....... every one could be mis-interpreted somewhere for some silly reason. All except one........ .

Keep that in mind, it may come in handy one day.

I promised my friend Rae that I would say hi to Green Lake when I passed it. This was shot from a swiftly moving car shortly after I caught the one single teeny tiny sign  on the whole 6 hours of road that pointed the way.  And I said, " Hi Green Lake" as I drove past!
I have many complicated missions to achieve in a day you know. :)

Rach xo