As usual, we started our season with Fall Retreat in September - at the Delta Airport Inn again – and then we got going right away with performances.
On September 27th we performed at the Hotel Vancouver as part of UBC’s 75th Anniversary. This event was the Great Trekker Gala, honouring Pierre Berton. One of our numbers was Hail UBC, the old school song written in 1931 by Harold King (Education ’32), and arranged by Cortland specifically for the event.
Phoenix performed twice in November. Our regular fall concert, “Just in Time” received a glowing and effusive review from the Vancouver Sun, and we felt justifiably proud. Our next event was in the Open Space Gallery in Victoria. The concert had been set up by a past UBC music student, Dick Payne, a year in advance, and was sponsored by Canada Council. By the time the concert date came around, Dick had left the country and we arrived to…an empty gallery. Open space, indeed! Deb phoned some relatives in the area, and we ended up performing for a whopping 13 people. Still, we received $1000 for our troubles, it was a beautiful concert and we definitely had a great time on our little road trip!
For our Christmas concert we tried out a new venue, The Vancouver Playhouse, and we had new promo photos taken. Plus, we released our very first recording, With a Song in My Heart! CBC had intended to release the recording of pop arrangements by Ron Smail, Cortland Hultberg and Paul Nash, but funding cutbacks had put the project on hold. So, Phoenix stepped in, purchased the recordings from CBC and released them on – wait for it – cassette tape! To wrap up the Christmas season, we performed live on CBC’s Early Edition Christmas Eve show, as was our custom. Nothing like a 5:30am call time on Christmas Eve! Luckily, the folks at Early Edition were always spectacular hosts and the coffee and treats were plentiful.
For spring, things continued at a crazy pace. Our retreat in January found us back at the Delta Airport Inn, preparing for our next recording, a Christmas album. For three days in February we met at Little Mountain Sound’s new studio and laid down the tracks for Christmas Is… our first Phoenix CD! In March, we performed at Graeme Wearmouth’s grad recital. April was a busy month for Phoenix. Aside from our own spring concert, we also participated in St. Mary’s Mozart Festival, and the Shaughnessy Heights concert series.
Our final concert took place in Kelowna for the Kelowna Philharmonic Festival Society in July. There was some consternation when we discovered the hotel had lost our reservation and had no room for us, but we ultimately managed to find another hotel. Favourite line… Hoot turns to Barb, who is hugely pregnant and says, “Hey Barb – there’s no room at the inn!”
For our final event of the year, the Beer BBQ on August 18th, we tried a new, more kid-friendly location at Maple Grove Park. Imagine our surprise when Barb arrived with 8-day-old Jane in her arms, as she wasn’t expected for another month! It seems Barb was just being practical – there wasn’t time for another month of pregnancy. After all, the next Phoenix season was just around the corner…
In 1990/1991 Phoenix was…
Rosemary Lister (Lindsay)
Leanne Patenaude (Dalton)
Deborah Mehes (Gibson)
Marcel van Neer
Brian (Hoot) Gibson
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