by Stephen Dafoe
Family entertainer Norman Foote returns to Morinville Oct. 20 for a 7 p.m. show that will kick off the Morinville Community Cultural Centre’s 2016-2017 Kids’ Series of shows. The upcoming Halloween-themed performance, Foote’s second time at the venue, is a free performance under the Town’s Theatre Matters banner.
Norman Foote began his career as a street performer in Australia when he was 20. While in Australia, he developed an interest in puppetry and physical comedy through his association with a traveling theatre troupe. Today, Foote combines all three disciplines in his concert series throughout North America.
Foote will not be performing solo in his upcoming Morinville show. The award-winning performer works with music teachers to assemble as many as 100 students to take part in the show as his animated wall of sound and melody.
“They are part of the show, and it’s a really interesting mix because it brings a lot of excitement,” Foote said. “This particular show is wonderful because they are all dressed in costume. I always think that Halloween is the most creative time of year when you think about it. My show is more on the friendly side [of Halloween]. We’re not trying to scare the kids, but there are so many costumes they come in. When you see a choir, and they’re all dressed in various costumes; it’s such a sight to behold. And then the enthusiasm and excitement are quite high. They really perform and bring the show at a really interesting level.
But the children joining Foote on stage are not the only performers. The entertainer says he will conduct his choir and the audience who get to participate as well.
Foote is somewhat reluctant to call his musical assistants a choir. Rather, it is all part of the concert performer’s theme and philosophy – everybody sings.
“This year I called my show Everybody Sings, and – really – everybody does sing,” he said. “It’s all about celebrating your own voice. Music is not a competition. A lot of TV shows are making music into such a competition and music for youth – it’s not. ‘Every voice is different and every voice counts’ is really my slogan.”
It was a variety of musical voices that counted in the development of Foote’s own music career. An extensive record collection in his parent’s home, including Elvis, Sinatra, Jolson, Nat King Cole and Harry Belafonte helped form his style.
“If you ever heard a Harry Belafonte concert, the audiences sings from the very beginning until the end. They know all the songs,” Foote said. “A lot of my shows are called Norman Foote and Everbody Sings. It’s about acknowledging your own voice and everybody counts.”
Foote is hoping people of all ages will come out to experience what he is sure will be wonderful energy in his all-ages show.
“Parents end up loving the show as much as the kids,” Foote said, adding he is looking forward to returning to Morinville.
Tickets are no charge and are available at the cultural centre box office on a first-come-first-served basis.