For 11 years now, having Acadian favourites Roland Gauvin, Les Muses and Belivo take over Moncton’s Capitol Theatre has become a Christmas tradition in Metro Moncton. What started as only one or two shows a year has grown exponentially, thanks to consumer demand.
The 2012 edition of Noël includes six shows crammed into a four-day span. The fact that the bulk of the shows now have limited ticket availability is a testament to their popularity and, more important, to the talent that graces the Capitol Theatre stage.
An accomplished solo artist in his own right, George Belliveau looks forward to performing with his brothers as a part of Belivo each and every year.
‘It is hard to believe that the show is now heading into its eleventh year,’ George says. ‘In its earliest days, we travelled the show around the province. However, it arrived at a point that performing the show out of Moncton became one of the best options for all concerned.’ George says that to keep the show fresh for the audience as well as the entertainers, the show undergoes tweaks, whether of the sets used on stage, the songs the groups perform, or other details.
‘We are definitely not trying to reinvent the wheel with the show every year,’ he said. ‘We are very fortunate to have maintained such a dedicated following for the show with people returning year after year. There are some holiday songs that we are known for performing that people come to the show expecting to hear, so it is important that we include a significant amount of ‘classic’ songs.’
‘It is mainly in the arrangements that people will notice the difference. For instance, ‘ O Come All Ye Faithful’ this year has been given a bit of a Celtic makeover. The song stays the same, of course, but by approaching the arrangement with a different outlook, everyone gets something different out of the song. That really benefits everybody in the end.’ Despite having had a busy 2012, Roland Gauvin says he looks forward to the annual holiday shows every year. There are songs that are certain to please everyone who attends.
‘We have a big repertoire of material after 11 years of performing these shows,’ Roland says. ‘Last year, we included a medley of hits made famous by the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton Christmas record. That went over extremely well with the audiences. The show is sung in both English and French which is, in turn, something that, regardless of what language you speak, helps to put everyone in the Christmas spirit. When it came to selecting the music that we wanted to include in the shows, there was a natural tendency on all of our parts to include music that we grew up listening to.
‘Overall though, the manner in which the show is built very much sticks to a formula. Les Jeunes Chanteurs D’Acadie sing with us in the first half of the show and as such, the material in that portion of the show focuses primarily upon music that you would be likely to hear in church ceremonies.
‘The second half of the show on the other hand, can probably be best described as being an East Coast kitchen party. That dynamic is something that we have found has worked well for the shows in the past.’ These shows are special for more than just the music, however. They serve as an event of sorts for fans of both Les Muses and Belivo, neither of whom performs throughout the year otherwise.
In 2004, Les Muses stopped actively touring, while in the case of Belivo, George’s siblings chose to pursue full-time careers outside music. Being the lone musical wolf standing doesn’t bother George in the least. He insists that because he and his brothers no longer perform together full time, it lends a special quality to the holiday shows.
Roland says the popularity afforded to their Christmas shows continues to astound the performers. The fact there is so much repeat business year after year is proof people know when they are witnessing something special.
‘It has been wonderful to see how this show has grown over the years,’ Roland says. ‘It grew from one night to three nights and then before long, we were adding matinee shows to help accommodate the ticket demand. I don’t think any of us could have ever envisioned the show lasting such a long time and becoming as popular as it is.
‘People come out to the show year after year though, and it never fails that after many of the performances, people will ask if we expect to be doing the show next year. I think it is safe to say that we will continue performing these shows as long as we are able to do so.’
Article published in the December 12, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript