Sista-B may suffer from a multiple-personality syndrome: she thinks she is the greatest female recording artists of the past 50 years.
That’s OK since Sista-B (aka Barbara Samuel) had to sing everyone’s favourite pop, rock, soul and disco hits for the Rock Me Baby concert at Creekside Theatre in Lake Country on Friday night.
Not only that but Sister-B discovered three close friends - Katie Fletcher, Delphine Litke and Libby Coulthard - share the same syndrome.
So Samuel and her husband, Neal Klassen, went online and selected the greatest hits by the latest, greatest female vocalists.
He then arranged the music for Rock Me Baby - A Celebration of Women in Music and wrote the script for a series of videos showing his wife’s evolution from childhood singer in diapers into a veteran of the Okanagan music scene.
The result is four outstanding female vocalists - Sista-B and her Singin’ Sisters — accompanied by four accomplished musicians — Klassen on keyboard and rhythm guitar as musical director, Kerry Rottacker on lead guitar, Kevin Kingston on bass guitar and David Knapp on drums.
As word spread about the opening night on Friday, tickets were quickly snapped up, a second show was added on Saturday night and both sold out three weeks ahead of time.
The response to this Creekside Theatre production was so enthusiastic that Ryan Donn, Creekside theatre manager and Lake Country’s cultural development coordinator, has already booked Rock Me Baby II for Nov. 20, 2020. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show is at 7 p.m.
Tickets at $34.95 (including fees) went on sale on opening night through Kelowna Tickets, 100-2600 Enterprise Way in Kelowna or by phone at 250-862-2867.
This 112-minute empowerment-of-women concert is divided into seven sets, each representing an era or genre of pop music.
Pioneers of Pop has Leslie Gore, The Chiffons, The Supremes and The Ronettes, for example. Rock and Roll Girls has The Eurythmics, Blondie, Pat Benatar and Heart.
Disco Divas has Gloria Gaynor, Chic and ABBA. Soul Sisters: Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Tina Turner and Roberta Flack.
Country Queens: Dolly Parton, Miranda Lambert and Patsy Cline. Canadian Classics: Joni Mitchell, Anne Murray, Celine Dion and Jann Arden.
And Rock Royalty: Madonna, Adele, Beyonce and Whitney Houston.
There was something for everyone although most of the audience on Friday was female, young to old.
All it took was the appropriate concert introduction — Kiki Dee Band’s anthem, I Got The Music In Me, and there was a feminine roar of cheers, screams and thunderous applause.
In high-energy medley after medley — the Singin’ Sisters also taking turns on lead vocals —Samuel proved she is the consummate showwoman, interacting with those in the front rows, spurring on a couple dancing to the side of the stage, dancing across the stage herself and lining up with her sisters for excellent four-part harmony.
She also proved she has incredible vocal range, from low sensuous notes to highs that send shivers up and down your spine.
Samuel was not only non-stop action like the Eveready Bunny but she and her sisters quickly switched from costume to costume, wig to wig, between sets and sometimes between song sets.
“It has been a walk down Memory Lane,” said Samuel in an interview, laughing about the multiple-personality syndrome joke.
“Music inspires memories. Each song meant something personal to me and held a special place in my heart. I knew if I could relate, and recall songs and memories, other women would feel the same way. As a vocal instructor, I teach a lot of young girls and women. And I know the power of having a strong mentor, that influence in your life.”
For Klassen, creating Rock Me Baby was “more an act of love for Barb, supporting her vision, rather than a personal experience. I used my talents to help support Barb’s vision. That’s what we do as partners.”
When you want to hear every line and of course, sing along, the sound has to be exemplary. And it was, thanks to two nights of perfecting it the previous week.
Of note: During the final sound check Thursday, sound technician Gary Neubauer fell off the stage and broke a rib. But he was there for opening night.
“Heís our lead sound tech at the theatre, part of the ‘secret sauce’ that keeps the Creekside Theatre running smoothly.
“He came back and worked the Saturday show too. He’s an amazing tech,” said Donn.