Review by Hilary Prince
For a unique musical experience no need to visit the Grand Ole Opry, the Caribbean, or a jazz club in New Orleans. The newly formed show band, Westmoreland, performing until the end of August at The Millstream Barn, Brackley, has it all. Their fast-paced, high octane, theme-oriented performance covers a wide range including Path of the Hurricane: A Carribean Country Celtic Cruise, Jazz & Cocktails, Opry North, and Home and Away, the latter a celebration of the Maritimes through music and stories.
Westmoreland features Marlane O'Brien, well known for her Patsy Cline interpretations (A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, Charlottetown Festival) and sister Virginia O'Brien, a Southern Ontario native, who authored and starred in Patsy Cline: The Sweet Dream Fantasy Tour. Completing the female vocal trio, Judi McLaren, belts out "Cowgirl Boogie" in a high-energy performance that adds zest and spice to an exciting evening filled with colour and vitality.
Guitarist Gordon Belsher adds his own particular brand of humour with an anecdote of a never-to-be forgotten ride on the Shetland Islands ferry.
Jon Rehder, songwriter and bass player extraordinaire, treated the audience to an amusing rendition of his own work, the raunchy "Single Man" inspired by a visit to a Montreal bar where unfortunately for him the women were "too pretty, too much, and too young."
Reg Ballagh, drummer, clowns across the stage, long grey hair and beard flying, dancing and drumming with the air of an animated marionette-a great performer with sticks and feet.
On keyboard, Megan Bergeron (daughter of Hélène of Barachois fame) shows great musical skill and charm. Her quiet, demure appearance is enchanting and her own composition, as yet untitled, is hauntingly reminiscent of tranquil beaches and ancient landscapes.
Westmoreland have outdone themselves with highly imaginative, extensive costume changes. Their amazing talent and combined sixty years of entertainment experience makes this group unique. If you missed them at the Crapaud Exhibition, they perform every Wednesday in August at The Millstream Barn, Brackley, and at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel, Charlottetown.