Chance to See 2012 Dora Award Winner Perform Live For Free This Canada Day at PRIDE Sterling Jarvis, former star of Toronto’s The Lion King and Multi-Award Winning Caroline or Change, to sing with Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (MCCT) Choir on Canada Day in Downtown Toronto

Less than a week after he received the 2012 Dora Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male in the Musical Theatre division, Sterling Jarvis will perform for free this Sunday, July 1st as part of this year’s PRIDE celebrations.

“22nd annual “Church on Church Street” Service and Celebration – MCCT”

Along with noted jazz singer Heather Bambrick, he will perform as part of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (MCCT) choir’s 22nd annual “Church on Church Street” Service and Celebration. Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes will preside over the event.

Lion King’s “The Circle of Life” complete with Zulu call and response

Jarvis, a stage/screen/TV performer and two-time Juno nominee born in Digby, Nova Scotia, will bring back happy memories this Sunday of his three-year stint with the original Toronto company of Disney’s The Lion King. He will perform with the MCCT Choir a new arrangement of Elton John and Tim Rice’s The Circle of Life written by the Church’s Music Director, Diane Leah.

"Here comes a lion, Father / Oh yes, it's a lion / Here comes a lion, Father / Oh yes, it's a lion / A lion we're going to conquer / A lion a lion and a leopard come to this open place – Zulu chant, intro to “The Circle of Life”

“Diane is great with really cool arrangements of songs from shows,” Jarvis said. “I’ll be doing African dialogue – the praise poem in the tradition of the African praise poets who were never allowed to repeat anything twice. I also do the call and response in Zulu at the top of the song and then I’ll sing the solo sung by Rafiki in the musical.”

Lee Ann Womack’s I Hope You Dance and Final Medley of Ebony and Ivory/Everyday People

Popular singer and jazz broadcaster Heather Bambrick will sing Lee Ann Womack’s inspirational country hit I Hope You Dance also accompanied by the choir. She then will join Jarvis and the choir for the finale, a medley of the Paul McCartney/Stevie Wonder duet Ebony and Ivory and Sly and the Family Stone’s soul classic Everyday People, also arranged by Leah. Reports from insiders say the arrangement and performance are likely to be even more incredible than last year’s finale, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way

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Songs representing MCCT’s theme of openness and inclusion

“It’s an amazing arrangement that meshes the two songs together,” Jarvis says. “We were looking for songs that represented MCCT’s theme of openness and inclusion.

“I always have a great time with the church and this choir,” he said. “Not only is the church open to begin with, the facility itself is fantastic, a great place in which to sing.”

Jarvis first performed with the MCCT choir two years ago at PRIDE. He met Diane Leah when she was the audition pianist and an assistant musical director on The Lion King. He joined the show in the second year of its four-year run at the Princess of Wales Theatre as a swing and an understudy of Pumba and Simba. Despite his status, he estimated he played the role of Simba at least 300 times.

Jarvis Awarded Dora After Only Second Nomination

Last Monday, Jarvis received a 2012 Dora for Outstanding Performance by a Male, Musical Theatre Division for the Acting Up Stage Company/Obsidian Theatre Company production of Tony Kushner’s Caroline or Change. It was Jarvis’ second nomination for a Dora. He had been nominated last year for the play Ruined, also produced by Obsidian Theatre.

Caroline was such a phenomenal piece,” Jarvis said, “and I was honored to be part of it. I played the dryer and the bus; two quite different roles. The whole show is in Caroline’s mind.” (She is a black maid in the American south in the early 1960s, the same period as the hit movie The Help.) “The dryer is hot and it’s tormenting her. The bus is where the women who are the maids can get together and talk about the day. It’s their safe haven. I enter when JFK is shot. He was their savior. So I’m coming in with all of that weight.

“To be honored in such a way for performing those roles and being part of this production, I can’t put into words.”

Church On Church Street:

Date and Time: Canada Day, Sunday, July 1st

at 11:00 a.m. Gates open at 10:30 a.m.

Location: Pride Toronto’s South Stage, on the east side of Church Street just north of Carleton Street.

Musicians performing with the soloists and choir will include:

Diane Leah – Director of Music, Keyboard

Jeannie Wyse – Conductor

Colleen Allen – Sax

Rick Whitelaw – Guitar

Peter Bleakney – Bass

Tom Jestadt – Drums

Nick Coulter – Percussion

Keyboard Technician – Jim Woodbridge

New MCCT Choir Scheduled For Release

This September

The MCCT Choir has recorded a new album that is currently in post-production and is scheduled to be released in late September of this year.

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Dennis Kucherawy