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Command Performance is a roaring success

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The Command Performance of the Giant Steps Band's Caravan to Cuba at the Hamilton City Hall's Earl Cameron Theatre Saturday last was a resounding success. Really we should go further without any reservations terming it a spectacular, colourful, fast-paced ending to a high-calibre year of fundraising aimed at getting to perform in the Havana International Jazz Festival in December.

Producers Dale Butler and Darlene Hartley embraced other creative minds in presenting a wide spectrum of talented Bermudians and highbrow performers from abroad in a variety of back-to-back religious and secular productions that often left supporters with ‘what's next' sentiments.

The Command Performance was just fantastic, as we stated above. That was from the moment the curtain was raised on Max Maybury and his Giant Steps band on a stage that was beautifully decorated with plants, umbrellas and chairs created like a real nightclub cabaret. Guests seated at the tables were the performers themselves.

The first half had ten acts but took just 40 minutes. Maybe we should state eleven acts, counting that of Darlene in her role as the show's Emcee. Her introduction was a trip down memory lane, for those of us who could remember the old Clay House Inn and other famous night clubs like the Jungle Room, Ecarte Club, Chilli's Patio and Ratteray's Grand Stand in Somerset. Each performer when introduced by Darlene as if they had come just directly from one or another of those clubs.

The band opened with “Caravan”. First up (and we really mean ‘up') was tap dancer Mitchelle “Live Wires” Trott. He has to be seen and heard to believe how he does his dance. He was followed by The Dragon Girls who were so professional they could easily go on Broadway. But not to be outdone was Tauria Raynor who sang “Ye of Little Faith”; followed by Ricky and Gresheana Spense who did a fast paced salsa number displaying their wealth of wealth of experience.

They were followed by the United Dance Productions only to be led across the dance floor in an elegant ballroom step with Walter and Joanne Ingham, to an original Max Maybury tune. Max disclosed later in the programme he has produced 16 original tunes, each amplifying a different ‘step' in its name, like step over, around, under, etc.

Playing to an applauding house were Elca Maranazana who sang “Natural Woman”, and La Tosha Codrington, singing “Cry Me a River”. It was left to Darlene Hartley, who doubled up, as she always does, but this time as emcee and cleaning woman. She portended to give a striptease act, but shed only her cleaning garment, rags, broom and all before giving a ringing version of “Fever” that brought smiles to the audience and set the band on fire.

The second half of the programme opened with two colourful dances from The Bermuda Filipino Association and Club 2000. This was followed with excellent songs from the globe-trotting Canadian visiting star performer, pianist Mary Ancheta, backed by the Giant Steps Band.

The audience roundly applauded her version of Duke Ellington's famous “Take the A Train”, “Nardis”, and “On Green Dolphin Street”, to name but a few, all indicating that Mary was ‘hot' and likely to be back.

The Command Performance was under the distinguished patronage of the Hon Premier Craig Cannonier and Mrs Cannonier. He was sharp, when called upon to give recognition to the band's first drummer Clarence “Tootsie” Bean, presenting him with a plaque.

“Tootsie” then took a starring role in the final item on the programme, The Sax Attack Orchestra featuring Max Maybury, Calvin Simons and Aaron Spencer.

The Bermuda Dragon Girls on stage
Dancers from the Bermuda Filipino Association
The Command Performance actors
The distinguished Command Performance patron, Premier Craig Cannonier with visiting Canadian International pianist Darlene Hartley and “Tootsie” Bean who was cited for his performances as the first drummer of Giant Steps Band.---Photos by Ira Philip

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Published November 09, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated November 08, 2013 at 7:42 pm)

Command Performance is a roaring success

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