Olde Tyme Country Wedding a blast from the past

Olde Tyme Country Wedding is the latest production of the popular Heritage Singers which has been entertaining audiences here in Toronto and around the world for the past 32 years.

This original, home-grown production will be presented October 17 and 25 at the PC Ho Theatre for Performing Arts, 5183 Sheppard Avenue East, Scarborough and on December 5, 2009 at Glenforest Secondary School, 3573 Fieldgate Drive, Mississauga.

Olde Tyme Country Wedding is steeped in Jamaican folklore and boasts colourful costumes, the delightful sounds of Jamaican folk music spiced with reggae classics, drumming and dance – all woven into an exciting drama – and, of course, not without the inestimable Jamaican sense of humour. The story is told in the theatre style known as Jamaican Pantomime, which features brilliant sets and costumes for which the style is famed.

The Jamaicanization of the pantomime form was made popular by two performers, the late cultural icon Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley (“Miss Lou”) and the late Randolph “Ranny” Williams.

The Jamaican Pantomime, which was created by Miss Lou, who was also the star performer, developed its own distinctive character as an art form and, over the years, its popularity has often been attributed to the fact that it captures the cultural roots of the Jamaican people with great humour and musical flair.

Old Tyme Country Wedding is a tribute to the many facets of love – of one’s family and heritage, how innocent childhood friendships turn into romantic love and, not surprisingly, the love of food. The storyline and script were developed by Heritage Singers members Valerie Laylor, Grace Lyons (founder and musical director) and Orville Green.

The production is directed by Devon Haughton, whose Jamaica-oriented stage productions are attracting large audiences in the GTA. Grub Cooper, musical director of Jamaica’s celebrated Fab Five band, composed the opening and closing songs.

This Heritage Singers production follows the many others which have all played to sold-out audiences in Toronto over the course of their 32-year history.

Olde Tyme Country Wedding tells the story of Toronto resident Babs Spencer, who is compelled by a desire to visit her birthplace, Uphill, in rural Jamaica, after a 10-year absence. Opposed by her overly protective parents, the assertive young woman makes the trip regardless of their wishes and, to her dismay, finds herself embroiled in a love triangle. The outcome is a true return to her roots, not only to her birthplace but also to a lost tradition – an authentic, ‘olde tyme’ country wedding.

The ‘olde tyme’ country wedding harks back to the 19th century, with unique features including a Wedding Godfather and Godmother charged with responsibilities for the wedding preparations and direction; decorating of the wedding site with boughs from the coconut tree; the ceremonial arrival of the wedding cakes carried on the heads of gaily dressed women in procession; guests paying for the privilege of ‘speechifying’ during the wedding reception and abundant quantities of local foods and drink.

 

The Heritage Singers are a 30-member group that represents a unique component of the Canadian Mosaic. The group has performed extensively in Toronto and across Canada, and has also participated in festivals in Europe, Asia and North and South America.

For ticket Information please call 647-477-1891 or www.heritagesingerscanada.com.

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