Mick Angeles shares his journey through the Lord Mayors Senior Cabaret program.
I became involved in this through information received from BUMS Inc. I thought, this sounded like fun and always love an opportunity to perform.
I sent my registration onto the chief organiser, Chris Fennessy of Epiphany Productions (Aust) and he sent me information about the Cabaret. The idea behind it all is to grant seniors an opportunity to perform at showcases and possibly be picked for the main cabaret in the City Hall. Basically, auditions are run through “Masterclasses” where you perform your two songs and receive a critique from people
who work professionally as singers/entertainers in the music industry. You can use backing tracks, your own instrument or a supplied accompanying piano player.
I attended my first Masterclass at Upper Kedron/Cedar Creek Hall on the 22 July but unfortunately, I didn’t read the brief properly and hadn’t prepared the right material for the workshop. The theme for this year is “Oscar Night” and the selected criteria were Oscar winning songs. They were very nice about it and allowed me to perform my two numbers…..being a newbie! The piano player was not available for this event.
I played Ukulele for my first song which was “I Love A Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt. The Mentor for this workshop was Angela Toohey. She suggested that I get in touch with her brother in law because he too was an Ukulele player and singer. Then she said that his name was Vic Kena. I played my second song, “Cara Mia” by Jay & The Americans on my guitar and it was well received as well. Graham Hall was also in attendance at this Masterclass, so it was good to have another Uke player there.
I attended my second Masterclass on 20 August at the Old Museum Main Concert Hall in Herston. Due to the Covid Lockdown, I was only informed I could attend this workshop about 10 days earlier, so I had to cram to learn two Oscar songs of which I’m barely familiar with, and to add to my stress, I decided that one of the songs would best be played with piano accompaniment. I forwarded the chord charts to Chris Fennessy to pass onto the piano player, Sue, but he informed me later that he couldn’t open the files. I thought I’d try and learn it on my electric piano at home and if all else fails, play it on Ukulele. I learnt the chord structures and patterns and with some helpful tips from Caroline Haig, ventured off to the Old Museum. I was so worried about playing piano by myself, that I literally didn’t sleep at all the night before.
So I arrived at the Old Museum and had to park a fair distance from the entrance which meant a strenuous walk on my one half-good knee, stressing about the piano playing and suffering from a lack of sleep. I walked into the hall where my photo lab and studio used to be. I was a Photographer at the Museum from 1984 to 1986 then we moved to Grey Street. There before me was a huge stage with Kettle Drums pushed to the rear and a huge, black, orchestral Grand Piano at the other side of the stage. My heart sunk and my stress level elevated. I asked Chris if that was the piano we had to play on and he said YES! Then the facilitator came into the room. I knew her name and I thought it was Mrs Knowles little daughter Karen, but it was the actual Karen Knowles of Young Talent Time fame …. Dimples and all. Oh the pressure!
I was the fifth performer up and regrettably, acts three and four used Sue to accompany them on that big, black piano. Sue could really play that thing. I sat at the piano and played a few chords and explained to the audience, “I can play nine different instruments but, I suck at six of them, and one of those is … the Piano!” Karen smiled. Phew!
I played my intro and sang my song on this gigantic, black Grand Piano and I got through without making any “clangers”. I didn’t understand what the Clutch, Brake and Accelerator pedals did on the instrument, but I pumped the accelerator at the end of my song. The song was “Jean” from the movie, “The Prime Of Miss Jean Brody”. Never seen the movie. If it doesn’t have Clint Eastwood in it, it’s not worth watching. A guy called “Oliver” sang it at some stage. Karen said I played the piano like a natural and that I have an instinctive, easy-going personality with audiences. Fooled them.
My second song “Moon River” from the movie, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” (again….no Clint Eastwood in it), I played Ukulele. I liked that song because I heard Andy Williams sing it and he had a wonderful timbre in his voice.
I was then invited to perform at the Lord Mayor’s Showcase at Arana Leagues Club along with a dozen other performers who impressed during the Masterclasses. There were a number of these “Showcases” throughout Brisbane taking place at several venues. As a result of these performances, a fortunate few have been be selected to partake in the Lord Mayor’s Seniors Cabaret Gala Concert at City Hall on Sunday, 24th October 2021. These lucky few will rub shoulders with the experts including Karen Knowles.
Story by Mick Angeles
P.S. Mick is so excited as he was chosen and is one of the lucky ones to perform in the 2021 the Lord Mayor’s Senior Cabaret Gala: A Night at the Oscars. Also performing is Erin Harrington (BUMS member & The Ukulele Rockers) who was a professional mentor for the program this year.
Tickets are on sale now via the Oztix website or phone 1300 762 545. Tickets are $5 each with proceeds being donated to the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust.