FOR ‘OH, CANADA WE SING FOR THEE’
Fred Smith – Lead Vocalist, Guitars, Banjo, & Harmonica
Fred is a versatile musician and singer and is grateful everyday for the many opportunities in his satisfying career. For over 35 years Fred has been performing and has backed names including Del Shannon, Leslie Gore, Chuck Berry, The Drifters, Ben E. King, The Supremes, Sam Moore, Spencer Davis, The Platters, The Fifth Dimension, Peter Noone and The Mamas and the Papas …to name a few!
In the 80’s, Fred started his recording studio in Kitchener, Ontario where he produces his own music, corporate voice-overs, commercial music, radio commercials, bands and singer-songwriters. He has the pleasure of working with award winning actors in post-production for TV and film. Renowned actors such as Colm Feore, Christopher Plummer, Brian Dennehy, Cynthia Dale and Stephen McHattie have sure made things interesting in his studio.
Closer to home, Fred recently performed for Drayton Entertainment in A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, Twist and Shout: The British Invasion, and Sorry…I’m Canadian.
Bobby Prochaska – Lead vocalist, Bass
Bobby, a native of Toronto, had his life-long love for music fostered early, studying voice and piano at The Royal Conservatory of Music. He picked up other instruments along the way, and has enjoyed a versatile career in show business. His own band, Silent C, released an album of original roots-pop-rock, Past Time. Along with arranging and producing, he has also performed with other acts, such as Hank Williams Live 1952, Selina Martin, Jim Clarke, Danny Williams, and The Human Statues, and has appeared in concert with The Kitchener / Waterloo Symphony. Bobby has also worked as an actor in film and television, and his roles in theatre have taken him to Broadway, and across Canada and The United States. Some theatre credits include Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Crazy For You, and Jolson (Mirvish Productions), Eighteen Wheels (Theatre Orangeville), Rock and Roll (Warrack Productions), and Blood Brothers (Drayton Entertainment). One memorable moment where his music and theatre careers collided found Bobby onstage as part of an all-star jam that featured Paul McCartney, Dave Edmunds, Ben E. King, The Crickets, and members of The E Street Band.
Nathan Smith – Lead Vocalist, Fiddle, Guitars, Mandolin
Growing up in North Bay, Ontario, Nathan began playing classical violin at the age of six, all the while being steeped in Irish and Canadian fiddling. He left home to pursue a Bachelor of Music at the University of Ottawa. While studying and playing viola in the University’s string quartet and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, Nathan was also drawn to playing and singing American bluegrass music. After finishing his degree, he received a less formal but equally formative education in bluegrass, touring internationally with Ontario band, Hard Ryde, and eventually settled in Toronto to study Jazz and Contemporary Music at Humber College. Soon after, he began singing and playing in his own innovative bluegrass band, The Barrel Boys, who recently released their debut album, Early On, and who this summer will embark on an Ontario tour. A skilled and versatile performer, Nathan continues to play violin and viola in various orchestras around Ontario, writes and performs his own traditionally inspired original compositions, and performs as a sideman for artists around the big city.
Bruce Ley – Piano, Guitar , Vocals
Born in Hamilton, Bruce is a man of many talents having enjoyed a long and steady career. A regular on television for many years, he played piano for both The Tommy Hunter Show, and The Ronnie Prophet Show. He has also worked with many Nashville artists including Don Everly, Chet Atkins and Brenda Lee, who coincidentally was mentored by Patsy Cline. Bruce composed music for Sesame Street, the Polka Dot Door, has written scores for many television dramas and was nominated for a Gemini for best dramatic score. He scored “The Painted Door”, a film that was nominated for an Academy Award. Over his eclectic career, he made his mark in the blues field as lead guitarist and singer in the award-winning Trouble and Strife Blues Band and in the jazz world, his Bruce Ley Trio is much sought after. For Theatre Orangeville, he played Home & Away, A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline and Ned Durango, and he musical directed MESA, and Eighteen Wheels. Bruce has arranged six of Leisa’s concerts, including this one. He has set up an ambitious recording schedule, releasing three cd’s within 18 months. Most recently he released a CD of original material, entitled, “The Peacock, the Deer and the Moon”. For more information, go to bruceley.ca
Sam Cino – Drums, Vocals
Sam comes from a very musical family and has been playing and been surrounded by music for most of his life. He studied music at Humber College and has been involved in countless recording projects and performing ensembles over the past 30years, including Eccodeck, Fiddlestix, King Cobb Steelie, Kinnie Star, plus many more. His music has been used in television and film (CBC, City TV, Fashion Television, Much Music, Musicplus, plus many more) Sam has toured Canada, USA and Europe playing original music. He has also worked with some of the top modern dance companies as an accompanist including Toronto Dance Theatre and Dance Theatre David Earl. Sam has his own recording/teaching studio in Guelph, Ontario; recording and mixing on many album and television projects. https://www.facebook.com/sunny.bono.397/info
Leisa Way – Concert creator, producer & Lead Vocalist
Born in Kitchener, & raised in Sudbury, Leisa began her professional career when she was cast in the starring role of “Anne” in Anne of Green Gables, a role she played for six seasons at the Charlottetown Festival, including tours of Canada, the USA & Japan, taping for CBC Radio, filming for television, & 3 performances for the Queen & British Royal Family. Leisa was also honoured to sing for Terry Fox, Wayne Gretsky, and Teddy Kennedy. Since then her career has taken her to more than 50 countries, and she has performed at major theatres in Canada and the US, in roles such as Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday; Guenevere in Camelot; Peter in Peter Pan (Canada and U.S); I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change! (U.S. National off-Broadway tour); Magnolia in Showboat; Dave Carley’s Test Drive and Norm Foster’s The Long Weekend, and The Love List. Eight years ago, Leisa began producing and creating concerts, beginning with Sweet Dreams (Patsy Cline), which has now played at over 60 theatres. She now has created and produced eight sensational concerts, including Rhinestone Cowgirl (Dolly Parton), Country Jukebox (Duets); You Give Me Fever (Peggy Lee); Wichita Lineman (Glen Campbell), Oh, Canada, We Sing For Thee, Have Yourself A Swinging Little Country Christmas, and debuting in 2018 Across the Pond: The British Invasion.