Creating a Night of Music for Nightingales

The motivation behind creating the Nightingales acoustic music show was simple.

John Salib
John Salib

We’d heard from local performers we knew that musical artists have a difficult time finding gigs that allow them to do original music and not covers. There really aren’t a lot of places around willing to take a chance on an unproven vocal artist, never mind allow them to perform something no one has ever heard.

The idea for our show grew after a night out where Blair saw John Salib perform in the Song Book Series at Theatre Passe Muraille. It was the night they did their Les Miserable cover night. Pretty cool as a theme night to see and a great show that left a definite impression. And it sparked something. All of us love music and we’re very much interested in supporting local emerging talent in any form. So it got us thinking.

Chris Tsujiuchi performing music written specifically for Nightingales
Chris Tsujiuchi

Blair ran with it. It was a simple concept – all you need to do is find a venue, gather some musicians and plan the night. There’s little prep, no rehearsal time needed since everyone would know their own music, and seemed something very uncomplicated to produce. I mean, it wasn’t a film or a theatre production which are often fraught with a vast array of complexities just to get in motion and take months to bring to fruition. Definitely seemed doable. And it would help a lot of performers out with getting their music out there in front of an audience.

Again, similar to putting on a theatre production when we’d never done that before, either, this was something far outside our film experience. But so what? We never let a little thing like not having done something before stop us. We got educated. Fast.

For the first show, we were grateful for help from the multi-talented John Salib and his close ties to the Toronto music scene. Through his personal network, we ended up with 5 amazing performers for that first show on January 9, 2015 where John was also our evening’s host.

Jeremy Panda
Jeremy Panda

The performers sent in videos of themselves performing for us to preview and we were blown away by the calibre of these music artists who were just at the start of their careers. Headlining the show was the wonderful Maccie Paquette and while not an emerging artist at this point, in keeping with the purpose of the evening, a performer independent in drive and spirit and like a glimpse ahead for the others into what can be achieved by an artist’s perseverance. Rounding out the music line-up for the evening was Chris Tsujiuchi who wrote a song specifically for the show, Shayne Stolz, Katie Pereira and John himself as we took over the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

For the second show, we had a much better idea what we were doing and what we wanted out of the evening and so aimed even higher. We solicited videos ahead of time, so we could choose the performers ourselves. Based on the experience from the previous show, our expectations were high. There was never any doubt we would hear a lot of quality music and we weren’t disappointed. Even better, we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of videos we received from those who were eager for the experience and exposure.

Shannon Doherty and Peter Chadwick
Shannon Doherty and Peter Chadwick

With so many more fabulous performers to choose from, this time we made choices based on music type and attempted to create a nice flow for the evening with the line-up and it worked out very well. In addition, we put together door prizes and a couple of gift basket give-aways and even a sweets table for those who attended. We had one performer cancel very last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. Despite that, we were able to fill the vacancy and round out the line-up of Jeremy Panda (who had provided the entertainment at our opening party for the double bill show A Man of Two Minds/Lost Refuge), Edward Sayer, Kevin Myles Wilson and Shannon Doherty (who Blair has known since high school where they were in theatre together), with Peter Chadwick.

Have we become music promoters? No, not at all, we’re film makers at the core. Was it worthwhile? Absolutely. It was a great learning experience for Bony Fiddle in terms of production and promotion and a great experience for the performers. We love the music, it was fun, and anything we can create as a platform for local emerging talent we consider worth our time.

At the Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade

It was the day of the undead at the Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade.

Bony Fiddle krewe as the Addams Family just prior to the start of the Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade
Bony Fiddle krewe as the Addams Family just prior to the start of the Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade

This year, Bony Fiddle had the privilege of being a featured krewe in the Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade and it was a dream come true. Everyone dressed in costume and surrounded by hundreds of zombies…? What?

We live for this stuff!

2014 Zombie walk - Eden and Blair
Eden Kontrimas makes up Blair

The day began early with a make-up and costume pre-parade scramble. Big thanks to one of our Bony Fiddle FX make-up artists, Eden Kontrimas.  Took stamina to power through the assembly line of krewe who needed making-up.

By the time we were ready to go, Blair’s apartment was trashed, but we looked awesome, so it was all good!

2014 Zombie walk - pre-parade Sam practicing her costume face
Sam practising her costume face

This was the biggest Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade in Toronto to date with more than ten thousand undead and supporters in attendance.  Truly a testament to the organisational powers of The Toronto Zombie Walk Board of Directors – we love you Thea and your undead gang!  We had the pleasure of creating a loose relationship with the Toronto Zombie Walk group this year and very much look forward to continued development of that relationship.

We’d drag our corpses anywhere for them.

2014 Oct 25 - Justine Cargo and Monte Shen as Morticia and Gomez Addams
Justine Cargo and Monte Shen as Morticia and Gomez Addams

The day’s events began around 11am with the opening of the Zombie Market and Nerf Zombie Strike Midway at Nathan Phillips Square. The parade launched at 3pm from the float holding area just behind City Hall.  Funniest moment while we were waiting to go out?  That would be Morticia (Justine Cargo) breaking into spontaneous twerking on the street.  Oh, it happened – we have photographic evidence.

The krewes along with our own were released one-by-one with a pack of zombies between us.  We rounded the first corner of the route to cheers and cameras while the zombie wrangles ran around us with brains on sticks to keep the undead under control.  We made our way out to University Ave, around the corner onto College and then straight on down Yonge Street.

Hitting Yonge Street was surreal.  We thought we’d seen a lot of people until we got around the corner.  Spectators were elbow-to-elbow and about ten or fifteen people deep or more in some spots.  Camera flashes were going off in every direction.  What a rush!

Highlight of the day? What seemed like thousands of people packed onto both sides of Yonge Street spontaneously breaking in the theme song from the Addams Family as our Bony Fiddle crew walked by. Nothing finer than a Saturday afternoon when thousands of people all snap their fingers and sing in unison in response to something we did.  No complaints there.

Thank you Toronto and thank you Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade.  We’ll see you next year!

Oct 25, 2014 - Bony Fiddle Addams Family, full crew, pre-parade
Bony Fiddle – The “Family” business since 2006

Theatre – Man of Two Minds/Lost Refuge Wraps

I couldn’t be more pleased and proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far on our journey into the Toronto theatre scene. We’ve come a long way in just a few short months and I think I’m comfortable saying we not only reached our goal, but did it well.

Desserts by Chi's Cakes
Desserts by Chi’s Cakes

What started out as just an idea to do a small, local theatre production, quickly escalated into a double bill show with a debut party. Not quite sure how it became so complex, but we have no small ideas, so I apologise for none of it.

Jeremy Panda
Jeremy Panda

Featuring Jeremy Panda, who performed live acoustic guitar music for us, and delicious catered (and Bony Fiddle themed!) desserts by Chi’s Cakes, it was a fantastic kick-off to the first night of the show at the Tranzac Theatre.  Thanks Chi and Jeremy!

Sean George, Eleanor MacVeigh, Eden Kontrimas
Make-up/SFX: Sean George, Eleanor MacVeigh, Eden Kontrimas

A big, Bony Fiddle skull nod to our amazing FX make-up team of Sean George, Eleanor MacVeigh, and Eden Kontrimas (right). The energy and attention they threw into creating the zombies for Lost Refuge added a whole other layer of awesome.

Zombies walking through the crowd and up onto the stage went over really well with the audience during each show and were a big hit. Not to mention, the team pulled off some undead miracles and created us some of the nicest looking zombies I’ve ever seen. And I can’t believe they did it for us. You guys rock!

Back Stage Operations - Samantha Willison, Marina Pratt, and Jasmine Nichols
Samantha Willison, Marina Pratt, and Jasmine Nichols

Samantha Willison, Marina Pratt, and Jasmine Nichols not only helped keep us on track, but more importantly kept us co-ordinated with their adept handling of all our back stage operations and our stage crew. Couldn’t have done it without you!

Original music and sound effects were created by Ryan Bower who kept the sound board along with Samantha during all performances. Ryan was with us from the start and working on the music months ahead of auditions when planning was still preliminary. Props for hanging in there, Ryan, even through the computer problems. Oh, and in case you forgot? No one cares about your golf, Ryan!

Although we didn’t fill the house every night, which would have been too good to be true for our first show, I consider this a huge success for Bony Fiddle and our live performance crew. Feedback from theatre goers was quite positive all around and everyone who worked on the show should feel very proud of themselves.

We even had the pleasure of being reviewed by Daniel Rostas at Mooney on Theatre and the review he gave us couldn’t have been better, especially on our first time out. It tells me we’re on the right path and doing the right thing. The cast and crew know how I feel – they’ve already requested a cast party 3.0!

It’s been a very enjoyable summer, one of the best, and we’ve learned a lot along the way. We’ve also met some amazing people that we’ll be working with again and feel like some true friendships were made not only between myself and everyone involved, but within the cast and crew, as well. It’s no easy feat to put on a show in just six months, and with everyone’s help, we did a wonderful thing here.

We brought people together and we made art.

Until next time.


Theatre – Opening Night of A Man of Two Minds/Lost Refuge

It was a warm reception for opening night of the the Bony Fiddle double bill theatre production A Man for Two Minds/Lost Refuge at the Tranzac Club. We couldn’t be happier.

Our first attempt at pulling off a theatre production, there were definitely some opening night jitters, but the energy of the cast and crew was high. The pre-show was a blast where the very talented Jeremy Panda provided musical entertainment that began when the doors opened at 6:30pm at the Tranzac Club. Catered desserts by Chi’s Cakes added a touch of elegance and macabre with themed desserts, hand-crafted to reflect our love of horror while also delicious.

The pre-show launch party ended with some speech-making by Blair where he made a point to thank every, single person involved… except Ryan Bower (who later cried up in the sound booth). And then it was on with the first of our double bill show, A Man of Two Minds.

A Man of Two Minds
A Man of Two Minds

Being a comedy, you always hope the audience will get the jokes and we were relieved when the audience responded. Didn’t take long for them to catch onto the silliness and they spent most of the next 45 minutes laughing. Fantastic. Couldn’t have asked for a better audience reaction.

Zombie Contest Winner Phalyna, opening night A Man of Two MInds/Lost Refuge
Zombie Contest Winner Phalyna

The major hitch of the evening (there’s always one, right?) came when the start of the second show was delayed. Luckily, we had some time to play with as we ran our “Best Zombie Impression” contest during intermission to an initially shy crowd. After a bit of coaxing, they warmed up to the idea and we had some brave participants willing to be goofy along with us and shuffle around like zombies on stage

All the participants were great and we chose two winners who won tickets to Halloween Haunt at Canada’s Wonderland and Screemers, Toronto Canada’s #1 Indoor Haunted Screem Park. The fifteen minute intermission was extended with some further speech-making by Blair as we transitioned from comedy to drama. At the conclusion of the lengthened break, the curtain opened on our second one-act play, Lost Refuge.

Our amazing Stage Manager Samantha Willison and Sound Tech Ryan Bower, who also wrote the epic dubstep track Jurassic for the final scene in Lost Refuge
Sound Tech Ryan Bower, Stage Manager Samantha Willison

After opening with the comedy, the second performance was quite a change that appeared to catch the audience off-guard. That story dark and brooding and emotional, it was more complex and included technical FX and a full set; a contrast to the sparse lightness of the first show

Toward its conclusion when our zombie horde swarmed through the audience on its way to the stage, it appeared everyone’s attention was caught right up to the jarring conclusion. Again, we couldn’t have asked for a better audience reaction. How else should one react to a horde of zombies streaming through the crowd?

Cast of Lost Refuge
Cast of Lost Refuge
Reece Presley as Richard in Lost Refuge
Reece Presley

Both plays written and directed by Blair Mueller, the divergent subject matter of the two one-act plays in juxtaposition was intended to make for an impactful and interesting evening for everyone.

Based on the reaction of the crowd opening night? I’d say, mission accomplished. Fingers crossed for the rest of the run!



A Man of Two Minds/Lost Refuge is currently running at the Tranzac Club located at 292 Brunswick Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y2 from Sept 11-13, 2014. Tickets available at the door.

Additional Information

Opening night: 11 September 2014
Running through until: 13 September 2014

A Man of Two Minds/Lost Refuge contains partial nudity, mature themes and horror special FX make-up

A Man of Two Minds - Comedy
Lost Refuge - Drama

Run time:
One hour and 45 minutes total; each one act play runs 45 minutes with a 15 minute intermission between

Dundas Square ZOMBIE promo a HIT!

On Saturday, August 30th, we hit up Dundas Square with two of our zombies from our upcoming show Lost Refuge, the second of our double bill feature, to generate some hype about our production, and from the moment we left my apartment we knew it was going to be a great night!

Our zombies for the evening, played by Mandi Sosnowski and Justine Cargo, also featured in our show, were very excited to be a part of the promo and we couldn’t have been more happy with their performance. We learned one valuable lesson during our night out, if you want attention, make friends with a zombie or two!

We rode the subway there and back and even before we got into the train, we had already given away our first promo card to interested bystanders. People were taking pictures and videos from across the subway platform, over their shoulder, and around poles. Some couldn’t stop staring, some could only look for a second before being grossed out, and others just wanted to get up close and personal.

People couldn’t get enough, and we have our talented special effects make up artist Sean George to thank for that! The work he did on these zombies was so great and even made some full grown men run away screaming. No really, we’re not joking.

A little later in the evening, we even had a few people ask if we were a part of the TV show “The Walking Dead” doing a season five promo as part of the Fan Expo that was happening all weekend. Thank you, we’ll take that as a compliment, and we love The Walking Dead.

When we got off the subway at Dundas Station, and our zombies learned how to open doors on their own, we were greeted by a group of guys that wouldn’t get close enough for a picture, along with a whole bunch of people stepping up on their own to take a selfie with a zombie, and that’s just the beginning. As we crossed the street and weaved our way into Dundas Square, we quickly generated a crowd. I’ve never seen so many selfies being taken. We had people running up to snap a picture and then taking off, people asking what it was all about, others just stood by and watched. There must be hundreds of pictures floating around the internet now. Some were foolish enough to try to talk to the zombies and ask for a picture, but we all know zombies don’t talk. We even made a little friend, a young boy who was fascinated with the make up and how we did it.

Over all, the evening was a lot of fun and we got to scare a whole bunch of people. It was an evening well spent. Would we do it again…? Hell yes! And we might too, with all our zombies!

Our show opens on September 11th at the Tranzac Club, located at 292 Brunswick Ave, in Toronto. Come join us for our opening night party. The doors open at 6:30 PM and includes live music by Jeremy Panda, desserts by Chi’s Cakes, drinks from the bar (sold separately) and a chance to win some great prizes, all before we get on with the show at 8 PM. Our other three performances are on September 12 @ 8PM, and September 13 @ 2:30 PM and 8 PM. Tickets range from $25 for the Saturday Matinee to $40 for the opening night party and show, and can be purchased online at

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

Theatre – Spotlight on SHOBHA HATTE, “Casey’s mother”

Playing Casey’s overprotective Mother in A Man of Two Minds is Shobha Hatte.

Shobha Hatte plays the over-protective mother in Bony Fiddle's theatre production A Man of Two Minds
Shobha Hatte

Never disappointing us with her energy and drive, Shobha brings the right mixture of crazy and concerned together into Casey’s mother. She seems just as happy to be jumping around on stage waving her cane above her head as she is to sit and have a heart-to-heart with Casey.

Shobha’s introduction to theatre began when a friend requested that she be part of a theatre production that she had written and directed. She found the experience so enthralling, that she decided to pursue it full-time.

“In my spare time, I enjoy reading and spending time with my family, but I am very excited to be part of A Man of Two Minds.”

Shobha has performed in various multi-lingual community theatre productions, the Summer Works Festival, the Fringe Festival and the Inspirato festival. She has also been a part of the Wild Sound staged readings at the National Film Board of Canada.

Theatre – Spotlight on NESSYA DAYAN, “Waitress/Vivian”

Nessya Dayan plays the Waitress in Bony Fiddle’s first theatre production A Man of Two Minds, and comes back from the dead as Vivian in Lost Refuge.

Nessya Dayan
Nessya Dayan

Nessya has a professional approach to her acting, but isn’t afraid to laugh at herself, either. We love that she took the initiative to be in both shows, and has continued to show us how much she enjoys being part of both casts.

Nessya trained at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and studied drama at the William Esper Studio in New York. Since returning to Canada, she’s had roles in several short films such as “Blindfold” and “Saints City”.

“I am looking forward to being a part of Bony Fiddle’s first production of A Man of Two Minds as well as Lost Refuge.”

Her recent theatre credits include “The Vagina Monologues”, “Salome” and “Kate and I”. She was also part of the 2014 Inspirato festival in “Day Care”.

Theatre – Spotlight on SAMANTHA LEVINE, “Rebecca”

Samantha Levine stars in Lost Refuge as the supporting character, Rebecca, opposite the powerful Reece Preseley.

Samantha Levine plays Rebecca in Bony Fiddle's theatre production Lost Refuge
Samantha Levine

She blew us away with her audition. Samantha brings a level of confidence to her character that is needed to stand up against the strong lead in this theatre production. And she does an awesome job where she much more than holds her own.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre at Concordia University in Montreal one year ago, Samantha moved to Toronto to begin her acting career.

Since her arrival in Toronto, she has participated in several independent film projects around the city, but nothing quite like our show.

“These zombies aren’t kidding around…you better watch your back!”

Theatre – Spotlight on NATHALIE BABIS, “Veronica”

The female lead Veronica in the Bony Fiddle theatre production of A Man of Two Minds is played by Nathalie Babis.

Nathalie Babis plays Veronica in Bony Fiddle's theatre production of A Man of Two Minds
Nathalie Babis

Adding an Italian accent into the mix, Nathalie caught our attention as the perfect “girl next door” for Casey. She brings the right attitude to Veronica–a mix of flirty and irritable–and her knowledge of yoga makes her character that much more impressive.

She was born in Lugano, Switzerland and has been involved in the arts since the age of 6, where she started studying and performing in the local theatre in Lugano, Pulci & Cicale, after school.

“I’m honored to be part of such a talented cast and crew! I love playing Veronica because she is quirky, funny and bubbly, but isn’t afraid to tell people what she wants and she’s willing to fight for it!”

At the age of 19, Nathalie moved to New York City to further her theatre studies where she attended The Barrow Group Acting School. After her year in the States, she attended the Vancouver Acting School for Film and TV Intensive Program here in Canada. Nathalie is a dual citizen of Switzerland and Germany and speaks fluent Italian, German and English. Nathalie currently lives in Toronto where she is successfully pursuing her acting career.

Theatre – Spotlight on ANDREW BURKE, “Jared”

Andrew stars opposite Ben and Nathalie as Jared in Bony Fiddle’s theatre production of A Man of Two Minds.

He was born and raised in Mississauga, Ontario, and has always been attracted to the performing arts. His laid-back personality compliments his role as Jared, and he seems to fit right in with the rest of cast. Easy to work with and quick to make us laugh, Andrew is a great addition to our theatre show.

Andrew Burke plays Jared in Bony Fiddle's theatre production A Man of Two Minds

“I am so proud to be a part of A Man of Two Minds. This cast and crew have been a delight to work with. Jared is a laid-back, no worries kind of guy and it is this mixed with a little desperation that leads to hilarity. Can’t wait.”

Andrew is a Graduate of the Humber Theatre Performance Program, and it is through his training that he has found a hidden passion for playwriting.

His acting highlights at Humber College include Jacques Bossuet (And the King Dances), Dudakov (Summerfolk), Sir Toby (Twelfth Night), Samuel (Tulip), and Gregor Samsa (Metamorphosis). His recent professional credits include, Alex (One Shade Less of Happiness), Frankie (Broken Earth), and Glasscock (Film School).