"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


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Step 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!

The 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.

Visually the 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 wanting more!

Holly's 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.

In 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

"they are 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 LarocqueHolly Larocque         

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 series.

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 Escape” fame.

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 FergusonMark Ferguson

Mark Ferguson has over twenty years of experience in the music industry, working as a pianist, trombonist, composer, arranger, producer, and educator.

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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For more information visit www.hollylarocqueentertainmentinc.com



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