back into time and experience a 1940’s big band concert as it
would have been broadcast “live to air”. Holly Larocque and
the Mark Ferguson Orchestra do for big band what Andre Rieu
does for Strauss presenting a musical niche with glamour,
panache, humor, and top quality musicianship.
This sentimental journey
with Holly Larocque and the Mark Ferguson Orchestra leaves
audiences feeling energized, refreshed and wanting more!
Big Band Broadcast
starring Holly Larocque and the Mark Ferguson Orchestra is a
joyful and high-powered return to the golden age of radio
broadcasts from starlit ballrooms. The show follows the design
of those long ago evenings when glamour was king and big bands
ruled the airwaves.
The audience is
invited into a time warp with the first strains of the
13-piece Mark Ferguson Orchestra and their opening number "Singin'
With the Big Bands", and guided on their sentimental journey
by the forties style patter of the engaging Radio Announcer.
The tunes comprise classics of the Big Band era … "Don't Sit
Under the Apple Tree", "Stardust", "In the Mood", "And the
Angels Sing" … along with a few surprises and novelties along
the way. True to the period, the show is interrupted at
appropriate intervals for those vital words from "vintage"
sponsors and each venue is acknowledged with complimentary
station call letters.
The Band is
showcased with solos, specialized introductions, and
entertaining choreography. The arrangements are true to the
originals in form and atmosphere but are advanced into the new
millennium with the added advantage of Mark Ferguson’s
singular arranging style.
show is of strong impact with its traditional placement of the
musicians, its re-created vintage bandstands, microphones, and
the excitement of Miss Larocque’s specially created gowns,
wigs, and jewels.
The format of
the show varies according to the venue, being fully capable of
placement in a concert hall with intermission, a ballroom
setting with programming divided into three sets, or the
unusual but highly effective scenario of an hour-and-a-half
without a break.
The Big Band
Broadcast starring Holly Larocque and the Mark Ferguson
Orchestra leaves audiences feeling energized, refreshed, and
Passion for Big Band Music
Here are Holly Larocque's
comments on why she wrote The Big Band Broadcast and her
passion for this show and music.
"My passion for the music of the
1940's is longstanding and deep seated. As a small child, in
lieu of bed time stories, I played a nightly musical game with
my father, himself a World War II vet, wherein he would hum a
tune that I would have to identify and complete. Hence: the
beginnings of repertoire!
This was added to, researched,
and polished over the years as I amassed a large body of
material on the 1940's and on the music that unified nations
and won a war. In 1995 I had the chance to create and star in
a recreated WWII troop show backed by the Canadian Forces Band
that toured Canada to enthusiastic response. It was on this
project, my personal tribute to our amazing veterans, that I
met Mark Ferguson, who was the chief musical arranger, and a
partnership as well as a friendship was founded. In 1999 Mark
and I were commissioned to create a concert in salute of the
RCAF POW’s of WWII, further cementing in our minds that the
time was right for the return of a true big band. Calling on a
team of hand-picked, top-flight musicians, the Mark Ferguson
Orchestra was born.
the glorious tradition of glamorous broadcasts from starlit
ballrooms we aim to give audiences the experience of what it
would have been like to attend a 1940's big band concert just
as it might have been broadcast "live to air". However the
music and sound of yesteryear are given new life with the
singular Mark Ferguson sound and the unique vocal stylings of
Holly Larocque. And, though our music is grounded in the
1940's, every now and then we bring our own interpretation of
the 1940's sound to more recently minted tunes and even to
some of our own Ferguson/Larocque compositions.
It is a never ending joy to us
to bring our music to audiences, and a particular pleasure to
see it so enthusiastically embraced by a new, young
generation. I’m awfully glad for those early musical games.
They have proved to be quite a gift."
- Holly Larocque
"Over two hours
of music from the ‘40s (and a few updated derivatives thereof,
notably “Singin’ with the Big Bands”), had the appreciative
audience entranced from the first note of this nostalgic
survey of the big band era." - James Wegg
"this show is one of those rare events where it’s a pleasure
to be in the room with so many skilled artists thrilling a
capacity house and dredging up memories from times gone by …"
- James Wegg
absolute pleasure. The music is the forties… a special period
of unique jazz; the presentation is innovative. Miss Larocque,
the announcer, the conductor and soloists play off each other
in a tangible display of mutual enjoyment. Larocque’s vocals
exude personality and verve, something reflected by the entire
musical group." - Danny Gaisin, Oakville Today
Holly Larocque ranks as one
of Canada’s most versatile performers. Presently starring in
the international television series “Homes By Design”, seen in
Canada on the HGTV Network, she made a return to her musical
theatre roots as author, co-creator, and star of “Past
Forgetting”, a sparkling recreation of a World War II troop
show. Following its world premiere in commemoration of the
fiftieth Anniversary of the end of the war “Past Forgetting”,
backed by the Canadian Forces Band, embarked on a hugely
successful cross Canada tour.
Her television credits
include her well known starring role in “Under The Umbrella
Tree” seen in world distribution on the Disney Channel, as
well as the CBC specials “Holly Larocque : It’s About Time”
and “Christmas Holly”.
In addition to a range of
television script writing, she has written and starred in her
own one woman show “Holly : from Broadway to Brussels” at
Canada’s National Arts Centre, and co-authored and starred in
“Umbrella Tree Live”, the stage spin-off of the long running
She is a featured personality
in photographer Michelle Valberg’s book “Dare To Dream”, a
compendium of exceptional Canadian women, and appeared along
with Karen Kain, Veronica Tennant, and Mary Walsh in the
premiere of the prestigious “Stage For AIDS”.
A Disney nominee to the
Daytime Emmy Awards and a DuMaurier Search For Stars winner,
Miss Larocque has costarred in concert with Broadway legend
Carol Channing, and written and starred in the 1999 “RCAF POW
Broadcast”, a work commissioned by the RCAF POW’s of “Great
Her unique musical project,
“The Big Band Broadcast starring Holly Larocque and the Mark
Ferguson Orchestra”, has just completed its first television
special on the CBC network, and will be touring North America
beginning in the Autumn of 2006.
Mark Ferguson has over twenty
years of experience in the music industry, working as a
pianist, trombonist, composer, arranger, producer, and
He has performed with many of
the world’s great artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony
Bennett, Gil Evans, Nelson Riddle, Dionne Warwick, Natalie
Cole, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdink, Rosemary Clooney, Carol
Channing, Rob McConnell & the Boss Brass, Holly Cole, and the
National Arts Centre Orchestra. Mark also tours regularly with
the Funk Brothers of “Standing in the Shadow of Motown” fame.
As a composer his credits
include the CBC television series Life & Times, Cottage
Country, and On the Road Again. Mark has written a
film score entitled Transformation for the Canadian
Museum of Civilization and created the music for Corel’s video
editing software Lumiere. His original compositions are
featured in Treehouse Television’s series Toy Castle,
advertising jingles for radio and T.V. and in the recordings
of various artists.
Mark has written musical
arrangements for a wide range of groups including the RCMP
Band, the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces, the HMCS
Stadacona Band, the Edmonton Armed Forces Band, and his own
latin-jazz ensemble Los Gringos.
Mark and Holly Larocque began
their musical collaboration with “Past Forgetting” the
recreated World War II troop show which toured Canada in 1995.
On New Years Eve 2001 they launched their current Big Band
project which has delighted audiences in such diverse venues
as the glamorous Theatre du Casino du Lac Leamy, the Ottawa
Jazz Festival, and in various locations on tour through the
spring of 2004.
As a music educator Mark has
taught trombone at Toronto’s York University and Humber
College, piano at Ottawa’s Carleton University, and piano,
arranging, and jazz improvisation at the Chelsea Bridge Summer
Jazz Camp. He has directed the University of Ottawa Jazz
Ensemble, and has served as a jazz clinician at high schools
and universities across Canada.
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