It would be easy to poke fun at a man named Foote who earns his living off his mouth, but the little ditties this Foote taps out provide all the laughter necessary.
When Norman Foote steps up to a microphone, the giggles start on cue—even from those perched on his risers on stage. Half the show is about watching the outbursts of his volunteer participants, after all, as the performer works his magical combination of comedy and music.
“I’ve become very well-versed in using large groups of choirs,” said Foote, the pun rolling off his tongue.
There’s never any shortage of material in Foote’s world where songs about love play a back seat to lyrics from his daily experience. His new shirt, for example, with “the button-up collar makes him look taller,” and the practice of jumping a little—”never give up hope on a slippery slope.”
This is one guitar enthusiast who found the right note in the laughter of others and isn’t about to give up that fine-tuned audience.
Posing his age in a math problem when the kids ask—he took up the guitar at age 11 and admits it’s been a few decades since then—he says he’s definitely not ready to retire and doubts he ever will be, for that matter.
Thankfully, the appetite for what he’s producing hasn’t waned either. Not only do audiences continue to fill his daunting tour schedule—he’s in Kelowna every year—but the accolades keep rolling. In 2010, he earned a Juno for his album My New Shirt.
The musicianship is never all his own. Calling his choir Big Voice, Foote gets a new crop of voices for each performance by asking local volunteers to assemble a group of kids who can help him pull off the act.
Locally, that’s meant teachers like Erin Semashkewich of Glenrosa Elementary School, Margaret Boake of Dorothea Walker Elementary and Janet Brucker of Ellison Elementary have also contributed to the performance.
“Music and sports teachers do a lot of extra stuff,” said Foote. “My hat goes off to them. They really take it further than the classroom.”
This being said, he isn’t afraid to add that music isn’t really an extra. Foote believes music gives kids confidence and his own road through life seems to make the case. He got his taste for performance as a camp counsellor and says he’s really never looked back, offering up a very diverse career of adult and children’s performance.
Since becoming a children’s performer in his late 20s, he’s written for all kinds of programs including the touring production of Toopy and Binoo, the Backyardigans, Shari Lewis and the Richard Scary Busytown production also coming to Kelowna Community Theatre in April. He wrote the score.
Tickets to Norman Foote’s show at 7 p.m. on April 5 at the Kelowna Community theatre are just $10, available at the door; and he always looks to fill the seats. There are 800 in the theatre. For those who do want to write to get tickets, he offers up an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets are also available at Glenrosa Elementary, Dorothea Walker Elementary and Ellison Elementary.
Richard Scarry’s Busytown comes to Kelowna Community Theatre on April 25. Tickets are $23.25 and available through Select Your Tickets, www.selectyourtickets.com or by calling (250) 762-5050.