Sun Times staff
Carol Duronio’s move to Lion’s Head added new notes at both ends of the singer’s range.
Getting away from Windsor also put a stop to the the lung inflammations after seven bouts with pneumonia while she lived in Canada’s most polluted city.
“It completely saved me,” Duronio said this week.
The trained vocalist has played numerous leading music theatre and operatic roles with both Theatre Alive! and Windsor Light Opera, often at that city’s largest, 1,200-seat theatre.
Her move to Lion’s Head a little more than four years ago has meant fewer theatre and performance opportunities for Duronio, although she did have the lead last season in Owen Sound Little Theatre’s Hello Dolly.
Saturday night, for the first time, she will perform with The Georgian Bay Symphony in a pops concert at OSCVI Auditorium. It will also be the test run for Broadway Babes — a package Duronio put together with songs from six theatre roles she’s played, and a few songs she’s always loved, for performance with community orchestras.
Doronio will say a few words about her characters in Annie, Cats, Oliver, Into the Woods, Evita and A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to the Forum, to set the songs up for the GBS audience.
“I’m not just singing the songs, I’m going to act them out with a few clothes changes and one actual costume,” she said. “I’m channeling the characters in a lot of different musical theatre. Those characters that became known as darlings of Broadway. I’m not the Broadway Babe, I’m channeling the Broadway Babes.”
The 7:30 pops concert, as part of the 40th anniversary season, is likely to be both popular and accessible for people wanting to discover the community orchestra, manager David Adair said recently.
Duronio has selected Broadway hits in several styles – smooth songs, blues, Broadway Belt and rock.
“Every mature female singer wants one more time to be a rocker chick, which is why I’m going to sing Winner Takes It All, from Mama Mia.”
Although she trained as a soprano, most of what the GBS audience can expect tomorrow night will feature Duronio’s other voice.
“The great thing about musical theatre is that you perform songs that run the gamut of styles, from jazz to blues to Broadway Belt to nearly operatic,” she said in a telephone interview.
“I was trained as a classic ally-trained soprano for opera, but this is more fun,” Doronio said with rattling, gravely laugh. “You’re using a head voice when you’re an operatic singer, a soprano, or for church music, but you’re using a chest vice when you’re just belting out a popular tunes and I have both of those and I keep them both well-trained.”
Now in Lion’s Head, with fewer opportunities to perform, it’s important to keep the voice in shape, she said.
“The vocal chord is a muscle. If you don’t use it you lose it,” she said. “It’s a 45-minute-a-day workout. I get a lot of cooking and cleaning done as I wander around the house doing my workout.”
While this GBS concert is her first full show with a community symphony orchestra, she has performed a few songs over the years with the Windsor Symphony and routinely worked with anywhere from 17 to 25 pit musicians in musical theatre there.
Her plan is to promote the Broadway Babes package with other community symphony orchestras.
“For me, this is a baby boomer finally doing the big gig, or pursuing a whole new dream of finally doing a single big gig with symphony.”
Tickets for Broadway Babes Saturday, or the 40th anniversary season finale Russian Spectacular, April 14, with Owen Sound-raised pianist Katie Gleiser, both at OSCVI Auditorium, are available at the door or through the GBS office at 519-372-0212.