A patriotic concert that will delight audiences of all ages. Oh, Canada celebrates the brilliant Canadian songwriters and creative artists that give our great nation it’s musical heart and soul, while saluting the accomplishments of great Canadians from all walks of life.
Over the past 8 years Way-To-Go Productions has created and produced seven hugely successful concerts that have performed to sold-out audiences at over 60 theatres across North America. We are extremely proud of our reputation for delivering to Presenters the highest calibre of entertainment with superb musicianship. Our singers and musicians are among the best in the world, playing 16 stringed instruments that thrill audiences.
Way-To-Go Productions shows are a cut above the rest, telling fascinating stories, with warmth and humour, while celebrating the music of legendary artists. Audiences are on their feet cheering at the end of each and every performance.
Leisa Way – Show Creator, Producer and Performer
Born in Kitchener and raised in Sudbury, ON. Music was a passion for this little girl with the big voice, and by age 16 she had already sang solo concerts for Queen Elizabeth, Terry Fox, Teddy Kennedy, Wayne Gretsky, and been asked to sing the national anthem at the Special Olympics, the Labatt Curling Briar and for a Canada-Russia hockey game!
Her career truly began when director Walter Learning and the late Don Harron discovered her, casting Leisa as “Anne” in Anne of Green Gables at the Charlottetown Festival in PEI. Leisa played this role for six seasons, including Canada, USA & Japan Tours, taping for CBC Radio, filming for television, a guest appearance on “Front Page Challenge” & three (3) Royal Command Performances. Since then her career has taken her to more than 50 countries, perfor
ming at major theatres in Canada and the US in roles as varied as Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday; Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow; Guenevere in Camelot; Peter in Peter Pan (Canada and U.S.); I Love You, You’re Pefect, Now Change! (U.S.A. National off-Broadway tour); Magnolia in Showboat; Maria in The Sound of Music; Dave Carley’s Test Drive and Norm Foster’s The Love List (at six theatres from coast to coast), among many others.
Early in her career, Leisa worked as a marketing/publicity person for various theatres in Canada, and these skills were extremely beneficial when she decided to begin producing and creating shows. Leisa has now created seven hugely successful concerts that have performed to sold-out houses at over 60 theatres across Canada, and she is currently working on her 8th concert, a celebration of the music of legendary Canadian singer/songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot.
Leisa is very proud of her entire team and the fine musicianship of The Wayward Wind Band, and feels privileged to be able to share this music and the incredible stories with audiences. There is no greater feeling than connecting with an audience, and Leisa is grateful for the opportunity to put smiles on faces and joy in hearts with these concerts.
Bruce Ley – Piano/Guitars/Arranger
Bruce Ley was born in Hamilton where he started his first band, The Pharoah’s and later joined The Rising Sons, and The Brass Union. Bruce has enjoyed a career that spans 4 decades. Bruce worked for CBC Television for many years and was the piano player for The Tommy Hunter Show for 7 years, and for The Ronnie Prophet Show for 8 years. He worked with Don Everly, Chet Atkins, the ‘real’ Dolly Parton, and Brenda Lee, who coincidentally, was mentored years ago by Patsy Cline. As a writer, Bruce wrote music for the children’s TV shows Sesame Street, and Polka Dot Door, among others. He has also written scores for many television dramas and was nominated for a Gemini for best dramatic score. He scored “The Painted Door”, a film that was nominated for an Academy Award. He has made his mark in the blues field, as lead guitarist and singer in the Trouble and Strife Blues Band. Their debut cd won the award for best blues record of the year (Indie Awards 2007). Bruce formed The Bruce Ley Trio along with our bass player Bob Hewus and Leo Pilon on drums. An avid painter, Bruce was recently chosen to display his work at Curiosity House Gallery’s Emerging Artist Exhibit, and will exhibit in a number of galleries this year. Bruce lives in the hills of Mulmur and was recently musical director for Theatre Orangeville’s production of 18 Wheels and Mesa.
For more info: www.bruceleystudios.com
Fred Smith – Lead Vocals/Guitars/Banjo/Harmonica
Fred is a versatile musician and singer and is grateful everyday for the many opportunities in his satisfying career. For over 35 years Fred has been performing and has backed names including Del Shannon, Leslie Gore, Chuck Berry, The Drifters, Ben E. King, The Supremes, Sam Moore, Spencer Davis, The Platters, The Fifth Dimension, Peter Noone and The Mammas and the Papas… to name a few!
In the 80’s, Fred started his recording studio in Kitchener, Ontario where he produces his own music, corporate voice-overs, commercial music, radio commercials, bands and singer-songwriters. He has had the pleasure of working with award winning actors in post-production for TV and film. Renowned actors such as Colm Feore, Christopher Plummer, Brian Dennehy, Cynthia Dale and Stephen McHattie have sure made things interesting in his studio. Closer to home, Fred recently performed for Drayton Entertainment in A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, Twist and Shout: The British Invasion and Sorry…I’m Canadian
Bobby Prochaska – Lead Vocals/Bass
Bobby, a native of Toronto, had his life-long love for music fostered early studying voice and piano at The Royal Conservatory of Music. He picked up other instruments along the way, and has enjoyed a versatile career in show business. His own band, Silent C, released an album of original roots-pop-rock, Past Time. Along with arranging and producing, he has also performed with other acts, such as Hank Williams Live 1952, Selena Martin, Jim Clarke, Danny Williams and The Human Statues, and has appeared in concert with The Kitchener/Waterloo Symphony. Bobby has also worked as an actor in film and television, and his roles in theatre have taken him to Broadway and across Canada and The United States. Some theatre credits include: Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Crazy For You and Jolson (Mirvish Productions), Eighteen Wheels (Theatre Orangeville), Rock and Roll (Warrack Productions), and Blood Brothers (Drayton Entertainment). One memorable moment where his music and theatre careers collided found Bobby onstage as part of an all-star jam that featured Paul McCartney, Dave Edmunds, Ben E. King, The Crickets and members of The E Street Band.
Nathan Smith – Lead Vocals/Fiddle/Mandolin/Guitar
Growing up in North Bay, Ontario, Nathan began playing classical violin at the age of six, all the while being steeped in Irish and Canadian fiddling. He left home to pursue a Bachelor of Music at the University of Ottawa. While studying and playing viola in the University’s string quartet and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, Nathan was also drawn to playing and singing American bluegrass music. After finishing his degree, he recieved a less formal but equally formative education in bluegrass, touring internationally with Ontario band, Hard Ryde, and eventually settled in Toronto to study Jazz and Contemporary Music at Humber College. Soon after, he began singing and playing in his own innovative bluegrass band, The Barrel Boys, who recently released their debut album, Early On. A skilled and versatile performer, Nathan continues to play violin and viola in various orchestras around Ontario, writes and performs his own traditionally inspired original compositions, and performs as a sideman for artists around the big city.
Sam Cino – Drums
Sam comes from a very musical family and has been playing and surrounded by music for most of his life. He studied music at Humber College and has been involved in countless recording projects and performing ensembles over the past 30 years. (Eccodeck, Fiddlestix, King Cobb Steelie, Kinnie Star, plus many more). His music has been used in television and film (CBC, City TV, Fashion Television, Much Music, Musicplus, plus many more). Sam has toured Canada, USA and Europe playing original music. He has also worked with some of the top modern dance companies and as an accompanist including Toronto Dance Theatre, Guelph Youth Dance, and Dance Theatre David Earl. Sam has his own recording/teaching studio in Guelph, Ontario; recording and mixing on many album and television projects. He also plays drums and flute for Yoga classes. Visit his Facebook page
Aaron Solomon – Lead Singer/Fiddle/Banjo/Mandolin/Guitars
Aaron is a world class musician and performer based in the Toronto area. Cape Breton born, his passion for music and fiery fiddling style took root at the age of two when he asked for his first fiddle. He has been wowing audiences ever since as an energetic singer, actor and multi-instrumentalist mastering an astonishing variety of styles having performed with diverse artists such as Shania Twain, Big Sugar, Jeff Healey, Jason McCoy, George Hamilton IV, Mac Wiseman and many others. He has also performed on over 300 recording sessions besides working as a record producer. Recently, his Celtic rock band, Coole Park released their first album, Water Journeys.
www.fiddleheadproductions.com and www.cooleparkmusic.com
Randall Kempf – Lead Singer/Bass
The early 60’s found a young Randall sliding down the water pipe from his second story bedroom at night, trumpet slung over his back, to play Dixieland at the Riverside Tavern where “Fats” the bartender, a larger than life retired Mississippi River Boat banjo player with the toes cut out of his shoes, enchanted him with stories, songs and a shoebox full of old picture postcards, and passed the torch of traveling down life’s musical highway. It led him through Rock’n’Roll in Chicago, R&B in Oklahoma, to the folk/country scene in Canada. A thirty year musical association with Sylvia Tyson which continues with &Quartette& – (he just returned from a tour); Radio, TV and live concerts in Europe and North America allowed him the chance to sing and play with such greats as Buffy St. Marie, George Strait, Johnny Paycheck, and Emmylou Harris.
In musical theatre, he has given over 1,000 performances of “Pump Boys and Dinettes” and “John Grey’s Rock and Roll”. In 2007, he toured the Appalachian States with the Barter Theatre of Virginia’s production of “Man of Constant Sorrow” taking the lovely, mournful Bluegrass music of the Stanley Brothers as re-popularized by the movie, “O Brother, Where Art Thou”… Back to the places of its birth, including Mayberry, NC and Hazard, KY.
He once had lunch with Harold Bradley, who played tic-tac bass on most of the Patsy recordings.
Bob Hewus – Bass
A resident of the beautiful Hockley Valley, near Orangeville, Ontario, Bob has been playing bass on stage and in the orchestra pits of Toronto theatres for over 25 years. He has lived through over 50 professional productions, including 3 years in the original Canadian production of Forever Plaid. He has worked with some of Canada’s finest musical directors, musicians and performers in shows like Closer Than Ever, Stan Rogers – A Matter of Heart, Company, and Leslie Arden – A Meeting of Minds.
Besides theatre work, he has recorded and performed with many jazz groups, Toronto area Big Bands and singer song-writers.
Daniel Barnes – Drums (You Give Me Fever)
Daniel Barnes, was born in Toronto in 1965, began his career singing and drumming with The Micah Barnes Band for club, concert and TV appearances. His work in Jazz, World and Popular idioms is well documented haveing contributed to JUNO nominations or wins with Joe Sealy, Richard Underhill and The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band. He has toured internationally with Canada’s Holly Cole and Jane Bunnett but most extensively with African singing star Aster Aweke (“The Aretha Franklin of Ethiopia”). Both of Daniel’s self produced Jazz CDs “Culmination” (2003) and “Classic Beauties” (2007), are heard across the nation on the CBC and are favourites at JazzFM in Toronto. He was subsequently nominated for Drummer of the Year at The National Jazz Awards in both years. His quartet has performed at International Jazz Festivals (Toronto and Montreal, among others), and was broadcast from an in studio performance on TV Ontario. He is currently developing a global Jazz sound with The Daniel Barns Groove Trio.
Danny McErlain – Piano (You Give Me Fever)
One of the busiest players in Toronto, pianist Danny McErlain brings craftsmanship, versatility, and a sensitive touch to every setting, from an intimate house party to the stage of Carnegie Hall. Choosing to serve the song and the occasion has won him favour in many circles – Jazz, Classical and the Theatre. Musicians praise his adaptability and extensive repertoire; singers his accompaniment for its elegance and nuance. A musical director and arranger, Danny conducts two Toronto area choirs, the Queen’s Park Civil Service Choir and The Ambiance Singers, and provides rehearsal piano and accompaniment for a wide range of artists. He tours often with Colm Wilkinson and Canadian tenor Mark Dubois. Danny is a frequent choice for private and corporate events, playing solo, in a duo or trio, or as part of a small ensemble. Danny studied Jazz at Humber College and is a grauate of the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Eric St-Laurent – Guitar(You Give Me Fever)
Winner of the SOCAN award for Best Original Composition at the Montreal Jazz Festival and The Best Band Award at the Vienne (France) Jazz Festival, Eric St-Laurent has been featured on over 50 recordings, produced multiple albums, composed scores for short films and theatre, and toured extensively in Europe and Canada. Born and raised in Montreal, Eric studied improvisation in New York before moving to Berlin where he toured with both the big and small names of the German and Scandinavian music scenes. Since returning to Toronto, Eric has recorded and toured with Till Bronner, Dave Liebman, Dave Douglas, Rebekka Bakken, Slide Hampton, Luc de la Rocheliere, Sylvie Paquette, Richard Underhill, David Binney, Jojo Mayer, Carlos Del Junco, Bernard Primeau and represented Canada at the International Guitar Summit in Nice (MIDEM).
Eric Mahar – Guitars/Banjo/Harmonica/Vocals
Born in Stratford, Ontario, and now settled in Bolton, Ontario, Eric is a studied musician and teacher with honours degrees in music and broadcasting from Humber College. He has also studied under acclaimed jazz guitarists Lenny Breau, Ralph Towner, and John Abercrombie. He has been in demand over his long career for his many talents as a guitarist, singer and producer and is known as the “musician’s musician”. Eric has recorded, produced and performed with a multitude of national artists in concert and on T.V. across North America and Europe including: The Mercy Brothers, The Bending the Bows Show, Marie Bottrel, Frank Leahy, Michael Burgess, The Waterloo Symphony, Mac Wiseman, and “new country” sensations Wayward. In the summer of 2000 he was a cast/band member of the theatrical show “Don Messer’s Violin” which played in Prince Edward Island to sold out crowds. He was also a band member with the Shaw Festival.
Nelson Anselmo – Sound Engineer
Nelson is pleased to work once again with the incomparable Leisa Way. Currently a sound designer for Drayton Entertainment, Nelson has managed to work at just about every theatre in Ontario over the past fourteen years. His long and varied career has taken him across the province and back again as both a sound designer and engineer. Past productions include The Importance of Being Earnest (Sudbury Theatre Centre), Beauty and the Beast (Theatre Aquarius), Singin’ in the Rain (Huron Country Playhouse), A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline (Theatre Orangeville), and most recently, Cagney, Country Legends, Sweet Charity, and Dance Legends for Drayton Entertainment. Nelson has now added the role of “Daddy” to his resume, with beautiful daughter, Madeleine and son, Matthew. The pay’s not great and the hours are long, but the fringe benefits are unbeatable. Special thanks to Sir Simon for love, wisdom, and attitude checks.
Ben Malone – Sound Engineer
A Hamilton native and graduate of the Theatre Arts – Technical Production program at Sheridan College, Ben has spent the better part of a decade as a sound engineer, (and occasionally lighting tech!), for concerts, theatre, corporate shows and all manner of live events. Highlights over the years include working on Dancap Productions’ The Toxic Avenger rock musical, touring Canada and Europe with Irish Dance show The Magic of Ireland, as well as working on Niagara Falls’ Winter Festival of Lights. On tour he garnered invaluable experience in a variety of fields, not to mention racking up a load of unforgettable times! Ben relishes the opportunity to work with the top notch gang you see before you both playing and singing, and wishes for you to have as much fun watching the show as he’s having working it.