One of the fundamental decisions my wife and I made early on was that our three children would have a musical education. The kids took piano lessons and were in choirs as soon as they were old enough to be involved.
Then, when we moved to Ottawa from Guelph in 1999, we entered the world of musical theater as a family. Often I was onstage with them while my wife was busy sewing costumes. Our family involvement was noticed and described, in writing, as an example of volunteering. The story for the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC) in 2006 was called “A Family that Plays Together, Stays Together.”
During a production of Seussical the Musical with Suzart Productions, Keenan was the Cat in the Hat, I played several characters and Alaina was assistant stage manager. My wife made scores of excellent costumes.
Alaina and me backstage during Suzart’s Seussical The Musical (2006)
From community musical theater, we migrated to performing with Opera Lyra Ottawa on the National Arts Center Southam stage for three seasons.
My youngest son and daughter meanwhile continued their music education. Alaina completed a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Ottawa while Keenan completed the Musical Theater Performance program at Sheridan College.
Fast forward seven years to 2013. Toronto’s Glenn Gould School Opera is presenting Don Giovanni and our kids are once again teaming up. Alaina has taken a dual leadership role as producer and assistant director and Keenan is in the tenor chorus.
From an early age, the two have followed their passion for music. Alaina was bitten with the opera bug when she was 13 and in the children’s chorus for Opera Hamilton’s Tosca. It seems Keenan has been in musicals all his life, beginning with Hello Dolly at the age of seven.
I am very proud of them as they pursue their passion, especially because it’s one we share as a family. Perhaps the title of the 2006 GCWCC article was prophetic, since we are all still together enjoying music.
Keenan (left) in Toronto Operetta Theatre’s production of Merry Widow (2012)