Norman Foote performs with local children during a concert at the Port Theatre Nov. 15.

Singer followed laughs

Hearing children laugh was enough for Norman Foote to know he was on the right career path

 

Hearing children laugh was enough for Norman Foote to know he was on the right career path.

The musician was travelling the wilds of Australia with a family of puppeteers, providing musical accompaniment for the puppet show.

It was the first kids show he performed, having met the puppeteers while busking in a city in New South Wales, in Australia. They wanted a new musician to join their tour, and the deal was sealed over dinner.

“They had puppets everywhere and it fascinated me,” Foote said.

They hit the road, the puppeteers in an RV and Foote following in his own vehicle, and toured Australian towns and villages for the next five months.

“It all ended up by accident and I realized it was just a natural fit for me,” Foote said. “It was an amazing experience.”

He used his folk, blues and swing style on children’s music, writing for Disney, Shari Lewis and characters Toopy and Binoo, Max and Ruby. Last year he won the Juno Award for best children’s album for My New Shirt.

That album had a strong Nanaimo connection, featuring John Forrest, a former member of the Vancouver Island Symphony, who produced, co-wrote and played on many of the songs.

The album was recorded at Raincoast Studios, by the late Jerry Paquette.

“I call it my little CD that could,” Foote said.

During his Nanaimo concert at the Port Theatre Nov. 15, he is joined by a 150-voice choir made up of students from Davis Road Elementary and North Cedar Intermediate schools – a choir Foote dubs his ‘wall of sound’.

The children’s teachers – Doug Roszmann and Lesley Croghan – teach parts of the songs and Foote appears to pull it all together. Throughout the actual concert, the 150-voice choir is seated on the stage to watch the show.

“It’s very vibrant,” Foote said. “I’m kind of a modern-day vaudevillian.”

The concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12. Please call 250-754-8550 or visit www.porttheatre.com.

For more information, please visit www.normanfoote.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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