Hollyâ€™s Passion For Big Band Music
My passion for the music of the 1940â€™s is longstanding and deep seated. As a small child, in lieu of bed time stories, I played a nightly musical game with my father, himself a World War II vet, wherein he would hum a tune that I would have to identify and complete. Hence: the beginnings of repertoire!
This was added to, researched, and polished over the years as I amassed a large body of material on the 1940â€™s and on the music that unified nations and won a war. In 1995 I had the chance to create and star in a recreated WWII troop show backed by the Canadian Forces Band that toured Canada to enthusiastic response. It was on this project, my personal tribute to our amazing veterans, that I met Mark Ferguson, who was the chief musical arranger, and a partnership as well as a friendship was founded. In 1999 Mark and I were commissioned to create a concert in salute of the RCAF POWâ€™s of WWII, further cementing in our minds that the time was right for the return of a true big band. Calling on a team of hand-picked, top-flight musicians, the Mark Ferguson Orchestra was born.
In the glorious tradition of glamorous broadcasts from starlit ballrooms we aim to give audiences the experience of what it would have been like to attend a 1940â€™s big band concert just as it might have been broadcast â€œlive to airâ€. However the music and sound of yesteryear are given new life with the singular Mark Ferguson sound and the unique vocal stylings of Holly Larocque. And, though our music is grounded in the 1940â€™s, every now and then we bring our own interpretation of the 1940â€™s sound to more recently minted tunes and even to some of our own Ferguson/Larocque compositions.
It is a never ending joy to us to bring our music to audiences, and a particular pleasure to see it so enthusiastically embraced by a new, young generation. Iâ€™m awfully glad for those early musical games. They have proved to be quite a gift.
- Holly Larocque
Holly Larocque - Biography
Holly Larocque ranks as one of Canadaâ€™s most versatile performers. Her stylish and energetic concert, â€œThe Big Band Broadcast Starring Holly Larocque and the Mark Ferguson Orchestraâ€, was born on a New Yearâ€™s Eve at Canadaâ€™s National Arts Centre and has been touring North America since 2006. Holly and the Band were presented in their first national television special by the CBC network, and have recently completed their first, self titled CD.
Hollyâ€™s television credits include her well known starring role in â€œUnder The Umbrella Treeâ€ seen in world distribution on the Disney Channel, the international series â€œHomes By Designâ€, the animated series â€œTeddy Ruxpinâ€, and CBC musical specials â€œHolly Larocque : Itâ€™s About Timeâ€ and â€œChristmas Hollyâ€.
In addition to a range of television script writing, she has written and starred in her own one woman show â€œHolly : from Broadway to Brusselsâ€ at Canadaâ€™s National Arts Centre, and co-authored and starred in â€œUmbrella Tree Liveâ€, the stage spin-off of the long running series.
She made a return to her musical theatre roots as author, co-creator, and star of â€œPast Forgettingâ€, a sparkling recreation of a World War II troop show. Following its world premiere in commemoration of the fiftieth Anniversary of the end of the war â€œPast Forgettingâ€, backed by the Canadian Forces Band, embarked on a hugely successful cross Canada tour.
A Disney nominee to the Daytime Emmy Awards and a DuMaurier Search For Stars winner, Miss Larocque has costarred in concert with Broadway legend Carol Channing, and written and starred in the 1999 â€œRCAF POW Broadcastâ€, a work commissioned by the RCAF POWâ€™s of â€œGreat Escapeâ€ fame.
In addition to her tour schedule she is currently at work on a book, â€œRoadkill: Adventures on the Road with Holly Larocque and the Mark Ferguson Orchestraâ€.
Mark Ferguson - Biography
Mark Ferguson has over twenty years of experience in the music industry, working as a pianist, trombonist, composer, arranger, producer, and educator.
He has performed with many of the worldâ€™s great artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Gil Evans, Nelson Riddle, Dionne Warwick, Natalie Cole, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdink, Rosemary Clooney, Carol Channing, Rob McConnell & the Boss Brass, Holly Cole, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Mark also tours regularly with the jazz/latin/fusion band, Manteca.
As a composer his credits include the CBC television series Life & Times, Cottage Country, and On the Road Again. Mark has written a film score entitled Transformation for the Canadian Museum of Civilization and created the music for Corelâ€™s video editing software Lumiere. His original compositions are featured in Treehouse Televisionâ€™s series Toy Castle, advertising jingles for radio and T.V. and in the recordings of various artists.
Mark has written musical arrangements for a wide range of groups including the RCMP Band, the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces, the HMCS Stadacona Band, the Edmonton Armed Forces Band, and his own latin-jazz ensemble Los Gringos.
Mark and Holly Larocque began their musical collaboration with â€œPast Forgettingâ€ the recreated World War II troop show which toured Canada in 1995. On New Years Eve 2001 they launched their current Big Band project which continues to delight audiences, both at live concerts and on television, throughout North America.