The Making of ZooStreet

The Choreographers

Creating and producing a musical is about being surrounded by talented and creative team members who share the vision of the show. We just got lucky. Some of Calgary's top talent actually found us, through a network of like - minded musicians, and dancers . Because we are NOT dancers and can barely do the two -step, Laurie and I surrendered our choreography dreams over to two talented young women and  made a brilliant discovery. Give people the opportunity to create and do what they are born to do , and magic happens . These two individuals on our ZooStreet Team are Jill O'Connell and Meg Martin. Their creativity blew all of us away! They thought carefully through each move and how the choreography  would reflect the music perfectly, and then, how children could dance all the fun moves themselves. Try making a Zebra look like he was born to Zumba,  penguins  promenade with purpose, and keeping five dancing ducks in a row? They did it! They even made three dancing flamingos into six! After spending years on point shoes and performing Grand Jete, they have brought our animal musical to life with roaring applause from us! Their approach to teaching and coaching our ZooStreet Team of performers has made them role models for young dancers and performers who have dreams of doing the same.  

Out of Our Comfort Zone! "If the Shoe Fits" in YYC

Occasional Notes started  as two girls playing two pianos. That's twice the number of keys to choose from ( 88 + 88 ) for a pretty cool sound . We were unique and still are.  We have discovered, through a few Internet searchs , that we are the only two- piano /two girl wedding music company in North America. This search field was fairly small, I admit , but still kinda cool. Our vision was to change the perception of wedding music and perform a completely customized playlist of songs for each Bride and Groom, ensuring that each song was important to them. We have been arranging and performing these custom songs for couples, their families and friends for seven years and sincerely loving every note and chord played. We have welcomed two talented songstresses, and more pianists to our team, who bring their own talent and expertise to our couples.

So ... why not step out of our comfort zone? Why not spread our wings and challenge ourselves? Why not use all those harmony rules and delve into the unknown world of musical theater? Why? Because we didn't know any better. That 's why. 

Occasional Notes believes in promoting women in the arts . Through a chain of interesting events and fascinating people we find ourselves in the Calgary Music scene, by writing and producing the Musical -   " If The Shoe Fits". This production will help raise funds for Gli Azzzurri ,Calgary Italian Dance Group, to represent Calgary in "Dance the World" -Florida.  The shoe theme for our story seemed  a natural "fit" to represent these talented young dancers, as they do what they love in their shoes. Dance.  

After hours of writing story lines, musical phrasing, and  vocal scores, this modern - day musical comedy features thirty of Calgary's most gifted singers, dancers, actors and  musicians . It is a feel -good production aimed at the importance of being yourself , at being  the best you can be in "your shoes" . Let's face it, all little girls grow up believing the Cinderella myth that shoes can magically transform their lives. Every woman has a connection with her shoes on some level. Shoes are a force for change , a means of shedding the past and buying into the future. So whether it is a new pair of Jimmie Choos, Ruby Slippers, or Crocs , why not try to be our very best? Why not slip on our very best shoes and sing about it? So - we have. 

This musical project has been the most challenging, exhilarating, thrilling, exhausting, labour of love that we have ever  done. Ever. With a cast of award winning performers ranging in age from 10 to 63  (with shoe sizes from girl's size 4 to men's size 12) we have been surrounded by more talent, more patience, more professionalism and more creativity than we could ever have dreamed possible, all for their love of making music. 

The show premiers Sunday February 28, 3:30. We know that you will leave this performance feeling a little happier in "your shoes". Mine are red. And sparkly. What colour are your's?

Making Music in #YYC

If you are visiting our site you will already know who we are - but just in case you kinda stumbled upon us - Occasional Notes is a two - piano duo specializing in designing  and performing custom wedding and cocktail music. Laurie and I are also music teachers and believe in promoting and encouraging young musicians. Music festivals, recitals and examinations are important components in the study of music - but quite frankly they can suck the life out of the enjoyment factor in music. "Magic on Black and Whites" came about from our yearning to get out of the studio and perform. Our troupe of pianists, (students of our's past and present) guitarists and singers  perform for Calgary schools, charities and events - and we are  growing. We have met and worked with most incredibly talented musicians along our way. Two of these musicians took top prizes at this year's Calgary Stampede Talent Show. 

  The winner and first runner up for Stampede Talent Search 2015. Our team members Christian Hudson and Emma Rose.

The winner and first runner up for Stampede Talent Search 2015. Our team members Christian Hudson and Emma Rose.

 Christian Hudson is this sweet guy. He arrived one evening on his motorcycle, guitar (nicknamed Little Martin) strapped on his back , looper in hand to meet and perform for us, and blew us away. He improvises these great unique songs, harmonizes on the spot, and then gives you this great big smile! He is the real deal, with a huge heart - and giving spirit which was evident with the donation of his prize winnings to the Calgary Drop- In Centre. We are more than proud of him, and just can't wait to watch him soar! Thank you Grace Buchanan for introducing Christian to us, for believing in him and  his music. Boy, do you have great taste! (and come home soon - if you are reading this! - we miss you)

Emma Rose graduated this year from St. Francis and after several scholarship offers  has decided to attend McGill University this fall.  Emma has been 1st runner up for the last two Calgary Stampede Talent Shows. This talented songstress with her golden soulful voice, is genuine, professional, and poised. She can take a song line, manipulate it - add some beautiful runs and make it her's. Whether it is Motown, R&B, Broadway, or Ballades - she has a way of surprising us with each rendition. Playing for her is our thrill. 

Emma and Christian both volunteered their time and shared their voices at Occasional Notes, JDRF Benefit June 28/2015 at The National Music Centre. Audience request? "A Whole New World" !  A big "Wow" from the toughest critics  - the kids! Checkout the next blog entry for some fun photos and inspiring stories.

Calgary is filled with talent. As teachers and fellow performers it is such a pleasure to  promote, inspire, mentor, and believe in these musicians. We are constantly learning from one another and although there is a broad range in age in our troupe, we are all just playing music.