The last time Chad Armstrong sang in Estevan was on the stage at the Estevan Comprehensive School in a student musical-theatre production in 1992.
“It’s about time I got back there,” he said, speaking to the Mercury from his home in New Jersey.
That will happen on March 4 when Armstrong, the big voiced baritone, will appear in St. Paul’s United Church to sing a few opera arias as well as a number of show tunes and musical theatre numbers in the second half of the OSAC arranged program.
“I do a little introduction, provide some opera history along the way in the first half, so it’s not just opera all the time,” he said.
Music from The Messiah will be well recognized by the audience and Armstrong said he’s prepared a special rendition of Holy City for his 98-year-old grandmother, a resident of Mainprize Manor in Midale, who will be in attendance.
Armstrong will be accompanied by Diana Anderson, from the Minot State University music department, who is familiar with Armstrong’s repertoire, since that is his alma mater.
“She has my charts now. I just sent them off to her the other day,” he said.
A couple of years ago Armstrong had lamented that in spite of all his international travels over the 20 years he has been singing in major opera productions, he had never been booked in Canada. That changed soon after that interview, when he was booked for a gig in Hamilton, Ontario with the symphony orchestra there.
He has also provided a musical treat for an audience in Medicine Hat in recent months, something similar to what he will be doing in his home town.
The ECS graduate was “discovered” early on after enrolling for studies at Minot State when he was singled out for special attention during an audition for the university’s choral group.
Armstrong and his wife, Sara, a soprano, will be wrapping up rehearsals for Beethoven’s Sidelio on March 1 or 2. This is in preparation for that production in the famed New York Metropolitan Opera House. Armstrong said he will find his way to Minot and Estevan from there, hoping to make the Power Dodge Estevan Bruins home game against the Weyburn Red Wings on March 3.
As a big hockey fan, and former player, Armstrong had the pleasure to be assigned the duty of singing the American and Canadian national anthems at a New York Rangers game in Madison Square Garden last spring.
The couple, fairly new parents of a young daughter, are just now getting back into booking more appearances, but, he noted, Sara just recently had to turn down a contract offer in Florida due to a conflict in scheduling while he is also trying to stay “close to home,” meaning New York and New Jersey and the more immediate states. In the past they have appeared in productions across Europe as well as in America.
Armstrong’s agent is currently in discussions with the Regina Symphony Orchestra too, which would bring the big voice back to the Prairies sometime in the future.
“It should be fun in Estevan. Nobody will have to worry about it being too much opera. This won’t be a tuxedo type appearance,” he said with a laugh.
And would he be agreeable to singing the national anthem at a Bruin game if it could be arranged in time?
“Sure, then I could say I’ve sung in Madison Square Garden and Affinity Place. It would be a treat for a former ECS guy,” he said with another chuckle. “I’m excited at being able to be home again. It’s been a long time getting it done.”
Advanced tickets available at Henders Drugs.