The day was finally arriving, notes put together, music picked, scripts printed, program logs established.... then the regular host (me) had a terrible cold that was taking its time to move on. Two weeks to go before LENNIE was to solo before Symphony Nova Scotia in both Lunenburg and Halifax for concerts of the year, and we both still had the sneezes and light coughs. I warned both his affable manager and LENNIE directly that once again, perhaps we should postpone (his entire career is based on his vocal work). No response. Sent a notice the second time, suggesting a new date. Nothing came back.
Recording date arrived along with cheerful LENNIE GALLANT at the studio door. His cold was worse than mine! We were probably immune to each other. As he later wrote: "We were two sickos when we did the show!" (No kidding). Perhaps it was the adrenaline, maybe just his raw talent that means when the lights go on, his professionalism takes over and the show is rolling. Whatever it was, we had an amazing time with it: stories to tell about his personal life; influences; people he's worked with; and mining the gold of his music that has won him so many awards and the admiration of his peers.
GALLANT doesn't boast, strut, list the honours or even mention the accolades. Like his music, he just lays it out there with unbelievable modesty. "This is it. I'll tell you where it came from. I hope you like it, thank you very much."
So if anyone "went over the top", I did. I had to. LENNIE is not a Rustico, nor a PEI nor an Atlantic Canadian icon alone..... he's nothing less than a national treasure -- the best there is.
Check out the last song we played (podcast show # 44): "Extraordinary, Ordinary Life". It's not just a stunningly beautiful song -- it's a landmark one that can very well touch and speak for each one of us. Every decade seems to have that generation's "wedding song", the one that you hear at anniversaries, weddings, receptions. This one is it. Up there in the rarified stratosphere of: "heard it once, love it immediately, becomes a private connect" and you never, ever forget it. It happily resonates around inside as if you had written it for your own life's event...never, ever to be forgotten.
LENNIE GALLANT comes off in the most modest, ordinary way one-on-one until his music touches you, and you realize how extraordinary he is. Working with LENNIE -- as sick as we both were -- was one of the greatest honours on my own life's long, winding road...and a true highlight beyond every BLUENOSE OPERA HOUSE program we've ever done.