Candlelight Opera
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Candlelight Opera

Band Pop Rock


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The best kept secret in music


"Opening Act"


The Canadian Value of Music Coalition and
Harris Institute for the Arts

announce the Opening Act results

a national competition for Canadian musical talent

(Toronto) The Canadian Value of Music Coalition (CVOMC) and Toronto’s Harris Institute for the Arts announced today the results of their national talent competition, Opening Act. 12 songs by unsigned artists/bands have been chosen and will be featured on

Launched late in 2003, Opening Act gave unsigned artists and bands an opportunity to submit their best original song to the competition. Confidential Records (a non-profit label operated by Harris students) evaluated the entries: assessing each song’s originality, production quality, overall performance and the quality of musical composition. This covered melody, lyrics, hook, production and saleability.

The 12 successful artists/bands will have their songs streamed on the Web site. In addition, they will receive 100 copies of a compilation CD featuring the 12 tracks.

It was a tough competition, reflects Kevin Shea, instructor at Harris Institute. The students had a hard time deciding on the final 12 tracks it goes to show that Canada really is a hot-spot for up-and-coming musicians!

The 12 artists/bands (alphabetically) are:

Candlelight Opera


Fifth Business

Hats Off To Mary

Shawn Hlookoff

The Immigrants

The J. Rowley Band

Reid Jamieson

Kim Jarrett

Julia McLeod

jP Sunga
The Opening Act results are impressive, remarked Brian Robertson, Chair of the Canadian Value of Music Coalition. This is a great opportunity for new and emerging artists to not only bring their work to the attention of record labels but also to a national audience.

The 12 songs have been divided into three track lists, one of which will be streamed each successive month, the first beginning today, the second in April and the final in May. Visit to hear some of the best unsigned artists and bands Canada has to offer!

About the bands:

Candlelight Opera - Toronto, ON
Candlelight Opera is poised for success with its unique combination of ethereal potency and live performances that are both enlightening and inspired. Founded in 1996 by singer-songwriter Amanda Harris and guitarist-songwriter Shawn Slater, Candlelight Opera has performed across Canada. Drummer Julian Vardy and guitarist Darren Young joined the ensemble in 2003, while bassist Rees Pepperell completed the group in 2004.

About Harris Institute for the Arts
Harris Institute for the Arts ( is a private, post secondary school dedicated to excellence in music industry education. The school offers one-year diploma programs in the business, technological and creative aspects of music. Confidential Records is a non-profit record label managed by students in the Recording Arts Management Program at Harris Institute for the Arts.

About Canadian Value of Music Coalition
CVOMC ( is a coalition of concerned music industry individuals and organizations supporting a public awareness and educational program for young people.

Copies of the 12 chosen tracks are available upon request.

Media contacts:

Catherine Allman & Kendra Michael
hawkestone communications public Affairs
Tel. (416) 485-4606 Email.

- Canadian Value of Music Coalition


Candlelight Opera Ver 1.0


Feeling a bit camera shy


February 2004—Candlelight Opera was selected as one of twelve Canadian independent artists to represent The Canadian Value of Music Coalition and Harris Institute for the Arts’ Keep Music Coming campaign—

Candlelight Opera is a combination of ethereal potency. Coupled with live performances that are both enlightening and inspired, this Toronto based band is poised for success.

Their first independent offering, Ver 1.0, is a collection of well-written pop songs, showcasing a diversity of musical influences. "Quite simply put, we love to make music."

Founded in 1996 by singer-songwriter Amanda Harris and guitarist-songwriter Shawn Slater, Candlelight Opera has performed across Canada. From Vancouver to Halifax, audiences respond enthusiastically to the combination of heavenly vocals layered over a dramatic musical tapestry. All material is written by Candlelight Opera, featuring intriguing lyrical content that explores themes of experiencing and surviving life.

Musical influences include The Beatles, Crowded House, and Kate Bush, and fans have made comparisons to Sarah McLachlan, Heart and Pearl Jam.

Vocalist Amanda Harris has been performing for most of her life. “From a young age, I knew that I wanted to have a career in music and I did everything from choir to school musicals to talent shows. It’s my first true love.” Amanda received many rave reviews for her performances in such musicals as Oliver! and Grease. Local newspapers described her as having “a voice beyond her years.”

Amanda attended the University of Guelph for Dramatic Arts, where she met Shawn Slater. In 1994 the two started writing and performing together. Amanda's rich, sweet vocals add a strong melodic quality and her song writing skills are a great compliment to Shawn's genre of writing. Together these two present a package that is palatable to the most discerning of musical appetites.

Guitarist Shawn Slater has been performing and writing music since childhood. Following in his father's footsteps, he joined the local Drum Corps (Kiwanis Kaveliers, Dutch Boy). “I enjoy all aspects of music—the writing, the performing, the recording—I can’t imagine doing anything else that would be more rewarding.”

Shawn formed many bands throughout his school years including the Young Generation and The Dead Fish Funk. In 1991 he founded The Anti Socials and recorded the 10 track independent release Subcultures. In Candlelight Opera, Shawn combines a powerful song writing style with passionate progressions.

Guitarist Darren Young joined Candlelight Opera in the summer of 2003. In this project, Darren is reunited with his former Young Generation band mate Shawn Slater.

Darren pursues the cutting edge in his guitar playing incorporating ambience and funk in his guitar progressions. Darren has worked with numerous bands including Mercurial, Ocean Wah ,Sexual Chocolate and is also currently playing with Guelph band The Platonic Shadows. As lead guitar for Candlelight Opera, Darren adds a fresh and exciting dimension.

Bassist Rees Pepperell joined Candlelight Opera in 2004. Rees's musical career began as a singer at the age of seven. His musical appetite lead him to study classical double bass, jazz bass and the flute.

His rock experience began with the band Universal Blackout resulting in headlining performances at venues such as The Horseshoe and opening slots for Nickelback between 1998 and 1999.

From 2000 to 2003, Rees performed with The Beggarz—a stint resulting in extensive touring throughout southern and central Ontario. Highlights of this project include several opening spots for The Headstones. During this time Rees appeared on the 2002 release Days Come Easy, which was featured in articles in NOW and Pulse Magazine.

Drummer Steve Clark has been playing with Candlelight Opera since 2001 and appeared on the bands debut album. Steve has been playing drums for the past 20 years as well as many other instruments that he has picked up along the way.

Steve has played many genres of music over the years, from jazz through country to hard rock and has had his hand in doing pit work in the theatre as well. Steve has played with numerous bands including Backdrop Theory, Passenger and Number 13. Currently along with Candlelight Opera Steve has been playing with Eccodek from Guelph, ON who are being cited as one of Canada’s premier World Beat artists. Steve’s versatility and groove along with musicality is a great asset to the band.

Currently the band has busy writing, creating and recording their follow up album, which will be released for the summer 2006. The first song recorded has already had some commercial success and will air this spring in a TV & Radio spot.