Season Program | Big Top Chautauqua 2018 - Page 7

INSIDE the tent Meet the Blue Canvas Orchestra Big Top’s Storied House Band Article by James Shafstall, Marketing Director The history of Big Top is a tapestry of stories. Mention Big Top to anyone who has come to a show or been involved in other ways over the years and you’ll see their eyes light up, memories churning in their minds. You may have your own story. Whatever it is, its soundtrack is sure to have at least a song or two from the Blue Canvas Orchestra. The musicians of the Blue Canvas Orchestra have been annointing the tent with tunes since the first show back in 1986. They are as much a part of Big Top as the tent itself. (above) Corey Carlson and Daniel Diamond The Blue Canvas Orchestra performing at Big Top Fast forward to 2018 and some of those same artists still grace the stage, along with others that joined in the early years, and still others more recent as the local area’s rich arts community continues to nurture new talent. And they’re still cranking out new shows. There are eight unique original Blue Canvas Orchestra (BCO) shows coming in 2018. Debuting this year is All Aboard: Songs of the Railroad, a collaborative production by Severin Behnen and Tom Mitchell with special guest Warren Nelson. The show features songs from the Nelson Ferris Concert Co. 1992 production On the Velvet, plus train songs by others ranging from Johnny Cash to Boxcar Willie (see article on page 30). Superior! Songs and Stories of the Big Lake first hit the stage in 2017 to huge success and will return to the stage for several performances in 2018. See page 15 for full article about this show written and directed by Jan Lee and Severin Behnen. Belfast to Bluegrass is another show returning to the stage by popular demand. In this show by Stevie Matier and Severin Behnen, the BCO takes you on a historical adventure of jigs and ballads, journeying through the transformation of traditional Celtic tunes into bluegrass and other genres. The BCO will also perform Big Top Does The Beatles, a show by Corey Carlson and Severin Behnen featuring arrangements of songs from the quintessential pop rock group of the 60s. Wild Woods and Waters will make an appearance in September with its celebration of stories, songs, and images of our flora, fauna, and greatest natural resources. Our annual favorite Riding the Wind is a must-see, created in 1985 by Warren Nelson and Betty Ferris. It was the first show ever performed on the Big Top stage! Finally, the whole season is bookended by New First Night and Old Last Night, the first and last nights of the season featuring the BCO plus special guests. These are nights of true celebration marking the open and close of the 2018 show season. All the house shows feature big-screen visuals by Visuals Director Betty Ferris. You haven’t experienced Big Top until you’ve seen the Blue Canvas Orchestra. See the full list of band members and 2018 special guests on page 38. (Article continued on page 38) WWW. BI GTO P.O RG 7