Drawing on talent from all corners of the world, a trio of Okanagan musicians are saluting some of the best music of our times.
“This music is timeless. For me it is the music I grew up with and a large part of the population. The current music out today, there is some good stuff, but I kind of feel sorry for anyone who didn’t grow up with the music we did,” said Marty Edwards. “I think it is an opportunity for us to bring it back and share that with different generations.”
A Touch of Class with Edwards, Pam Ferens and Cheyenne will feature music from Etta James, Dwight Yoakam, The Beatles, Michael Bublé, Marvin Gaye, Tom Jones and others on Oct. 18 in Summerland. While some of the music is focused on the sounds of decades ago, Edwards said one of his favourites was recorded by Il Divo, an operatic pop vocal group created by reality TV and music executive star Simon Cowell.
“I guarantee there will be tears for some people. The song Mama, when I first heard it brought tears to my eyes. I am a momma’s boy and she is gone and every time I hear it, it is an emotional thing for me. I started rehearsing just with the lyrics and when I was ready to play it, I couldn’t get through the first verse,” said Edwards.
“When I was finally comfortable with it, I wanted my wife to hear to give me feedback. I started singing and looked at her and I broke down because her eyes were welling up. I had to get her to stand there and not look at me. The very first time I performed the song I made the mistake of looking at a woman in the audience that was obviously someone’s mom, it could have easily been my mom, and it was everything I could do to not break down. So, what I do now is pretty much keep my eyes closed.”
Edwards, who is known for being a Kenny Rogers tribute artist with his act Kinda Kenny, will be singing as himself for the two A Touch of Class shows in Summerland and Vernon on Oct. 20. Edwards, who is from Summerland, has been featured in countless publications and is a seasoned international entertainer who just released a third CD with some of his favourite songs from the 60s and 70s. For the upcoming gig in Summerland, he said they are packing in a couple hours of great songs into the show.
Ferens, who is from Vernon, is a versatile singer-songwriter who began her life-long affair with music as a child performing at a local talent contest. Ferens’ dream unfolded in 1983 when she placed as one of the top two performers in a national music competition along with Canadian recording artist Joan Kennedy. Her success continued leading to a 1995 Nashville recording and CD release in the U.S. and Europe.
Two of her singles, Opposites Attract and Does She, were play-listed and received generous air play and fan support. Ferens continues to write, record and perform her original material live. Her style ranges from Trisha Yearwood, Linda Ronstadt, Jann Arden to K.D. Lang and Patsy Cline.
Ferens recently completed and released An Evolution. The album follows her journey from country roots and blues with a unique contemporary style. She will be singing several of the duets with Edwards that have been a big part of popular music.
“For me, the songs are ones that I really like. You have to walk that line of picking songs that you yourself enjoy performing but also something that the audience is going to remember and have a great memory of,” said Edwards. “If you watch shows like American Idol, one of the first things they say is song selection is so important because that is what people identify with and can sing along with.”
Cheyenne, from West Kelowna, always had a flair for arts and music. She liked nothing more than entertaining people and sang solos in her church at a young age. Teachers recognized her beautiful voice and she entered her first vocal contest in Grade 2. Singing in several popular bands in the Lower Mainland, she won area competitions while thrilling audiences wherever she performs including Richard’s on Richards in Vancouver, and at the Empress Hotel in Victoria. Cheyenne has performed with the Stars on Stage show and the Westbank Country Opry. Edwards said Cheyenne’s rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You will have everyone on their feet.
“I’m telling you I haven’t heard anyone do it better. She has got power vocals and does Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, and to do those songs and do them justice you have to have pipes and I’ll tell you she does them justice,” said Edwards.
A Touch Of Class is in Summerland on Oct. 18 at the Centre Stage Theatre. Tickets are $15 (plus applicable fees/taxes) and available at the Sweet Tooth Café, The Beanery Café and Royal LePage in Summerland or in Peachland at Rocky J’s Beach Hut.