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Dec. 3, 2021 | Friday
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Young NOTL singers showcased in virtual 'Broadway' revue
Violet Folino and Aoibhin Davidson are excited to perform in a virtual musical Nov. 26 to 28. (Richard Harley)

Two Niagara-on-the-Lake singers are headed to "Broadway" on Nov. 26.

Aoibhin Davidson, 12, and Violet Folino, 9, train under Queenston's Lisa Brillon and the two were selected to perform in "Broadway Dreams," a virtual revue show, featuring young artists singing the songs of their Broadway dream roles.

They auditioned in September and were chosen to be among the 10 young artists in the ensemble, with other singers ages nine to 18 coming from as far as Saskatchewan and Hong Kong.

Aoibhin and Violet have been singing together for five years now and taking part in competitions, said Aoibhin's mom Lara Davidson. But this extra surprise is a nice way to get back to performing for an audience.

"We were told about a musical that was virtual. We're like, 'How cool is that?' So the girls auditioned. And they both got parts," said Violet's mom Rosie.

The girls were told to pick their "dream roles" and songs from musicals they love – and then sing those songs as part of the show.

Violet picked Cosette from "Les Miserables," "Mary Poppins," "Matilda" and "Anne of Green Gables." Aoibhin also loves "Matilda," as well as "Hello, Dolly!" and "Who Will Buy?" from "Oliver!".

"It's a bit of everything," Davidson says.

"There's about 20 songs and she shortens them. And then some will have a solo, some will do duets, and they'll have both of them up on the screen," Folino says.

"It will be like a mix. It'll be like, you know, those radio songs where they like fuse the songs together? That's what it's gonna be like," Aoibhin says.

The girls are both excited to take part. They've been busy in cast rehearsals and will have to film their videos from home and submit them. They also get to dress up in costumes for the show.

Aoibhin jokes that it's sort of "like a business Zoom meeting."

"We don't need to wear any fancy pants," she said. "They won't see your bottom half."

When she first found out she got picked, "I was like, hallelujah, I can pick my easy songs!"

Aoibhin said one challenge has been that some of her songs are from the 1960s.

"I love older songs for some reason," she said. "The new songs are OK, but the old ones? Yes. I will rather be born in that year and listen to that all my life."

"I would pick 'Frozen' but the problem is though, mom would start dancing and singing it and I do not want to see her singing," Aiobhin jokes.

Violet picked a mix of classics and oldies. And while she's excited to perform in the production, she also is itching to get back to performing for a live audience.

"I miss performing in front of actual people, instead of just people on a screen," she said.

Violet and Aobhin have different outlooks on that.

Aoibhin said it's more nerve-wracking performing for a crowd of people.

But for Violet, "the more people the better," her mom says. They've missed the energy of hearing the audience clap when they're finished.

However, Violet was happy to know she could at least perform for actual people, even if it's virtual, and to meet other singers.

"I just wanted to perform," she said.

"You can only practice so much," her mom added.

The two girls haven't performed live since just before the lockdowns began in March 2020.

However, they've kept up with online lessons with Brillon.

Violet says some of the challenges with virtual performing is also technology.

"Since we live out in the country, our internet's not the best," she said.

Davidson said even in Garrison Village they've had their web connection freeze on them.

"It's a weird thing we have — we love doing spin the wheel with the internet, we're like, 'You're gonna work? You're gonna medium-work? You're gonna lose power?' Like, OK, spin the wheel," Aiobhin joked.

Both moms were excited for their daughters getting parts in the show.

"Little did we know what it would mean — because it means we have to take videos of their songs. So not only are they doing ensembles, they're doing duets and solos. So it's quite a bit of music for the girls to learn."

The musical is being produced by Marion Abbott, who is also a singing teacher and adjudicator in the Toronto area.

The show will be available online to view Nov. 26 to 28. Tickets are $10 and available at marionabbott.com. Once purchased the show can be viewed as many times as the audience wants.

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