Preparing pond for night performance

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Gros Morne Summer Music taking show to the water at Gynmill Inn Pond

Gros Morne Summer Music organizer David Maggs, left, chats about a waterborne performance with technicians, from left, Harry Tibbo and Louis McDonald at the Glynmill Inn Pond. Star photo by Gary Kean

Corner Brook -

There will be no dry run for the latest, and perhaps most ambitious, idea David Maggs has concocted for the Gros Morne Summer Music festival.

In addition to the five weeks of musical concerts he has planned this year, Maggs is adding the challenge of pulling off a show involving a band floating in an 18-foot dory in the Gynmill Inn Pond and dancers splashing about nearby in the Corner Brook Stream.

Tentatively titled "The Same River Twice" - although Maggs said that name could change, the event will feature the Corner Brooker on keyboard, cellist Diederik van Dijk from Ontario, percussionist Jason Nett from California and vocalist Yvette Coleman of Corner Brook performing an original composition by Nett in a dory floating between the two banks of the pond near where the stream empties into it.

In the river section, which is actually quite shallow near the pond, will be a series of dancers moving to choreography arranged by Amy Andrews of Corner Brook.

The show will run for three nights, on Aug. 9-10 and again Aug. 12.

"When I was a kid growing up in Corner Brook, you couldn't come down here," Maggs said on the Corner Brook Stream trail along the pond's shoreline.

"The way the Corner Brook Stream Trail has opened this up is great. I was just sitting down here last year and thought it would be a crazy place to do something."

Maggs has always wanted to collaborate with Andrews too, so the idea of dancers in the stream soon floated into his creative imagination.

The performances, which will be free to the general public, will also have a theatrical element to be played out by local actor Jim Parsons.

Playing equally important roles, emphasized Maggs, will be audio technician Louis McDonald and lighting guru Harry Tibbo.

McDonald, who told Maggs it would be no problem when first asked because he didn't think it would actually be followed through on, is looking forward to taking on this project.

"It's a really good challenge actually," said McDonald. "It's something I've definitely not done before, but the technology exists, so ..."

The musicians, who will have wireless monitors in the boat with them and their instruments, will all be using wireless microphones and battery packs to send their audio signals to the shore where McDonald will shape them.

Tibbo, meanwhile, said the lighting will be kept as simplistic as possible for this unique show.

"I will illuminate what's going on, rather than use all sorts of special effects," he said, although he didn't rule out something extra if it works.

Maggs said all of the authorities involved, including the Department of Fisheries and Oceans since the Corner Brook Stream is now considered a salmon river, have been fully supportive of the project.

"Right now, we still have to figure out what the logistical questions are going to be, let alone what all the answers are," said Maggs.

He doesn't think concentrating on this challenge will take away from the rest of the Gros Morne Summer Music series he has planned.

"A whole bunch of people are involved doing other things, so it won't fall apart if I get obsessed with doing a show on a pond, which I apparently have been," he said.

The waterborne show will be weather permitting, but Maggs has set aside some time at the end of the festival's regular schedule in case he has to postpone it from the original dates.

Organizations: Gynmill Inn Pond, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: California, Corner Brook, Ontario

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