When celebrated soloist Melissa-Marie Shriner takes to the dais for two free concerts at the St. Mark’s Cherry Festival, on Saturday, July 8, she will feel right at home, performing with longtime friend and colleague Jim Bourne, the church’s music director.
“It’s always fun choosing music for a concert,” says Shriner, whose versatile voice is as happy with jazz at it is with opera. “We’re calling it Sweet Songs of Summer.”
They have chosen songs that appeal to a large audience, are “memorable and some even have a berry or fruit theme, which we thought would be a lot of fun for this event,” she said.
Among the tunes they’ll perform are “My Cherie Amour” and “Blueberry Hill.”
When Bourne invited the well-known local singer to perform at the 34th annual Cherry Festival, he saw it as an extension of the church’s effort to showcase all kinds of music in its acoustically revered space.
“The music will be great fun,” said Bourne.
“Well-loved songs from Broadway, to pop, blues through to country. We particularly hope to send the audience out the door humming a tune,” he said.
Shriner has an extensive vocal career, entertaining audiences throughout Ontario and Europe.
She has performed with Harbourtown Sound, Choralis Camerata, Avanti Chamber Singers and as a feature act with the TD Niagara Jazz Festival/Twilight Jazz Series.
She also is the artistic director, producer and performer of the Melissa-Marie Shriner concert series.
In addition to directing the St. Mark’s music program and choir, Bourne is also a singer, conductor and coach, including work with the Elora Festival Singers, Stratford Summer Music, Festival of the Sound, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Tafelmusik, the Edison Singers, among others.
The half-hour concerts are at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, 41 Byron St.