A CD full of the songs from The Visionary and The Ghost of Pynelogs is now available around the valley for listeners who want to learn about the valleys history, or experience the operetta once again.
In part, funds from each CD will go to Pynelogs and the Windermere Valley Museum, which helped bring the original show to life. The rest of the money will go to Barry Moore, the shows composer, so that he can continue to bring musical theatre to the valley.
There used to be the Lake Windermere Players, who lasted from 1924 right until the early 1990s before they collapsed, Mr. Moore said. We want to build on the success of this operetta and have more consistent shows.
The operetta tells the story of Randolph Bruce, who fell in love with the valley after emigrating from Scotland to chase the mining boom. Mr. Bruce owned the Pair-o-dice mine and employed over 100 men. He also enticed many settlers to move to the area by promoting hyperbolic agricultural opportunities, eventually earning the title of Lieutenant Governor of B.C. in 1926 for all of his work.
The whole basis of the economy here was mining, Mr. Moore said. The play is partly about how big the industry was and how exciting it was for everyone to come here.
Performed originally at Pynelogs Cultural Centre, the operetta shows how Mr. Bruce built what is now Pynelogs for his wife, Lady Elizabeth Northcote, who died before she could move in.
At its heart, it is a big romantic love story between the lovers that founded Pynelogs, Mr. Moore said.
To put on the ambitious show, the nine performers prepared for 17 weeks to learn the choreography and lyrics.
I want people to realize how hard the cast worked, Mr. Moore said. Some of the actors did not read music to begin with. We broke out a projector and we managed to help everyone along at the same time, so they learned the notes and harmonies necessary to pull off a great show.
While composing the music, Mr. Moore was inspired by the music hall genre, which was the popular music of the day during Mr. Bruces time in the valley.
This is what country music was when I was growing up, Mr. Moore said. It was the kind of music where the men would stand up and stomp their feet on the floor quite a bit, so you can hear that in our recording.
Mr. Moore said people can expect to learn a little bit or history while listening to the CD, but more than anything else, be thoroughly entertained.
“There are some really sad moments, but they are always followed by comedic songs, Mr. Moore said. It is theatre music, so for the most part, it is just trying to tell a really interesting story.
The CD can be purchased at Pynelogs, the Windermere Valley Museum and the post office in Edgewater.