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.