Though the hustle and bustle of the week leading up to Christmas was in full swing, hundreds of folks were more than happy to take a break and head for the Savoy on Sunday night for a wonderful evening of musical joy. The Three Pianos, consisting of Stephen Muise, Aaron Lewis and John Aucoin welcomed a jam-packed house for what was to be a Christmas Carol extravaganza that included the country, jazz, rock and traditional sides of the season. They wasted no time in getting the crowd into the spirit of the festivities with a jazzed up version of Away in a Manger and Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem, feet were tapping and shoulders swayed throughout the audience as the boys let loose with these old standards and no one seemed to mind one bit. For the first of many audience participation songs it was the 12 Days of Christmas, and there was no need for twisting the arms of anyone to join in.
Aaron Lewis delivered the beautiful Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, a favorite found on the Three Pianos Christmas CD. Then came an audience favorite , guessing the movie from which several Christmas numbers came, followed by a country medley, and music to skate by.
It is hard to believe that the Three Pianos have been together almost 10 years, starting with a small crowd of just over 200 in St. Michael’s Church hall in New Waterford to playing to packed venues across the Province today. There was much irony to talk about on Sunday night, with the boys having just returned from playing the Marigold Centre in Truro. Former manager of the Savoy, Donald Ferguson is now at the helm of the Marigold and he was instrumental in persuading The Three Pianos 10 years ago to make it more than a one time event in New Waterford. Also of note is the fact that the original grand piano at the Savoy had come through 2 separate fires over the years and was in very poor condition. So several years ago The Three Pianos held a fundraising concert to purchase a new piano for the Theatre. The old one was sent away to be reconditioned and to their amazement that very piano is now also a part of the Marigold Centre so it was a truly full circle moment for the trio during their recent performance.
I must say the vocals of Aaron Lewis were in fine form, with some notes reaching the rafters. Each and every one of his solos was absolutely outstanding as he poured everything into both vocals and the keys. Stephen Muise as always led the group through each segment with humor and sentimentality; and of course the respect for John Aucoin was evident both from those on stage and off, and as has become tradition, he was unafraid to don that big red suit for one of the more comic driven segments of the night as everyone slipped on their Christmas hats and joined in the fun.
There was an Elvis Christmas set and a song by Eddy Arnold that took 4 years to make it into the program, ‘Christmas Can’t Be Far Away’ that was well worth the wait.
No Three Pianos show can end without Johnny Aucoin taking centre stage on the grand for his Floyd Cramer medley and Sunday night was no exception. The crowd rose to their feet twice for a very loud and extended ovation. A spectacular finish, and a wonderful way for folks to return to the reality that it is but days til Christmas and so much yet to do!
The Three Pianos will be doing a 6 date tour in the spring that will conclude at the Savoy on May 8th which is Mother’s Day. Already something to look forward to in the New Year!