From left, Kathleen Hatley, Pat Edwards and Elaine Francis are The Crinolines. (submitted photo)

COLUMN ON THE ARTS

MINTY: Determined divas: New Crinolines vocal trio aims to bring ‘oldies’ to an audience

Also: DebuTheatre impresses with entertaining plays at Surrey Little Theatre

By Melanie Minty, arts columnist

Have outfits, will travel. That could well be the mandate for a newly formed singing trio, The Crinolines.

Pat Edwards was inspired to form the group after watching Carrie Underwood and friends perform a rock and roll medley. “I loved it,” Pat says. “I wanted to do something similar.” All she needed was two friends who could join her in this endeavor. Luckily, Pat belongs to the show chorus Maple Leaf Singers, home to lots of ladies who like to sing.

The original concept for this trio was to be included in the “little acts” in the Maple Leaf Singers’ show. Well, it is one thing to have an idea, an inspiration, and actually make it happen. Pat’s first effort in forming a trio did not work out, but she did not give up on the idea. And here is the story: Don’t give up on your dreams – especially when you are in your senior years. It is so easy to sit on the sidelines and be swept along. It takes determination and a whole lot of effort to make the magic happen.

Elaine Francis and Kathleen Hatley – also Maple Leaf Singers – have joined with Pat and now form the sassy Crinolines trio – all pink dresses, pearls, blonde wigs and, of course, crinolines. Their seven-minute medley of mostly ‘60s and ‘70s music is set and ready to rock and roll ‘on tour’. A second unsuccessful audition for Maple Leaf Singers did not deter the determined divas. “We had the costumes,” quips Pat.

So far, they have had great fun performing at care homes, anniversary celebrations and community events. “We always get rave reviews,” Pat informs. After a third-place victory (seniors category) in the recent You Got Talent competition in Maple Ridge, The Crinolines are ready to entertain. “We are girl girls, and take turns as lead singer,” Pat explains. Projects for the future: “Christmas with the Crinolines” might be in the works – all they need is a venue.

We have a wealth of amateur performers in our community. That has great value to all of us, whether we can sing or not. I salute The Crinolines, and others like them who are brave enough to stand up and face the music, so to speak. It takes time, talent, training and, of course, a love of what you do. It isn’t easy, especially when you work hard at your art and don’t get immediate recognition. Whoever said stardom was easy?

The Crinolines would love to be part of any musical revue, entertainment presentation, or wherever they can bring their “oldies” to an audience. Do you need a trio? Help get them started. Contact Pat Edwards at 604-753-7614 or email jimandpat@shaw.ca. It’s a crinoline call.

• RELATED: MINTY: It’s time to save Surrey Little Theatre before it’s squeezed out of Clayton.

Providing performance opportunities is key to making our city a mecca for the arts. Theatre programs in our colleges annually crank out hundreds of young actors and stage crafters. There are few theatre companies who hire all these gifted young people. So here I can salute another hero in the performing arts: Margaret Shearman.

For several years now, Margaret has been one of the mainstays at Surrey Little Theatre. Giving brilliant performances onstage apparently uses only a part of her energies. Cleaning and organizing the costume room, directing plays, producing plays and heading the play-reading committee are just some of her contributions. As SLT’s artistic director, she created a whole new venture: DebuTheatre.

As a ‘wing’ of SLT, DebuTheatre was created to give young adults the chance to explore and experiment and to use the facilities and resources at the theatre, in Clatyon. While some things can be done in the family rec room, putting on a play with sets, stage, lights, sound, costumes, props and seats for an audience is something that needs a specific space – like Surrey Little Theatre.

DebuTheatre opened with two one-act plays. Although mentored by seasoned and experienced theatre professionals, the young people (all under age 30, over 18) actually took to the task at hand and have created two plays that are stunningly well done. Shearman says she is grateful for being given the opportunity to run with this idea, and admits to a steep learning curve. “These brave, energetic souls are paving the way for others,” Shearman states.

DebuTheatre runs at Surrey Little Theatre, Thursday through Sunday, until July 20. I highly recommend getting out to see these performances, Legoland and For Never Not Always. I was amazed, delighted and thoroughly entertained with the performances. The subject matter is definitely geared to young adults, but so what. Well done, everyone. Surrey Little Theatre has a past that is being honoured in the present, and outlook is good for the future. Seriously. We will save our theatre somehow. It is important for so many reasons.

Tickets are available online or at the door. Telephone reservations are no longer being used – too many people making reservations and not showing up. C’mon. Show up and be counted. Tickets in advance at surreylittletheatre.com. It’s just that easy.

Melanie Minty writes twice monthly for the Now-Leader. Email: melminty@telus.net.

CLICK HERE to read more columns written by Melanie Minty.

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