The Champagne Hour
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The Champagne Hour

Baltimore, Maryland, United States | SELF

Baltimore, Maryland, United States | SELF
Band Pop Broadway


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April 14, 2010
Enjoying Lawrence Welk and 'Champagne Hour'

If you're looking for a way to spend your Thursday night how about an hour of champagne, or you can just take in "The Champagne Hour" a one of a kind of show which will be staged tonight at Germano's in the heart of Charm City's Little Italy neighborhood.

"The Champagne Hour" is described as a tribute to the late musician and television impresario Lawrence Welk. "The inspiration was born out of accident. I was searching for music for another cabaret that I was doing and stumbled upon a Lawrence Welk songbook that I had in my possession which reminded me of some of my best childhood memories; watching the Lawrence Welk show with my grandmother," says Heather Wheeler, one of the stars of the show. She says the show will have a Baltimore twist complete with the presence of hons.

It didn't take long for Wheeler to get others on board. The performers are all classically trained singers who once performed with the now defunct Baltimore Opera Company. The group became the Lemon Sisters and their intention is to have fun, sing and dance, and help others take their minds off whatever troubles them at the moment. Wheeler says as she reflected on her life, she decided, "What the world or rather Baltimore needed was a little L.W. in their life."

Here's a taste of what you can hear tonight.

"The Champagne Hour," at Germano's in Little Italy, starts at 7:00 p.m. Call 410.752.4515 for more information.
- The Baltimore Sun B the Site written by Chris Nelson




We sing everything from jazz, gospel, broadway, standards, music theatre, and opera. The Hons have been performing with each other for many years and just about every kind of music has a special place in their heart. The Hons tell a little bit about themselves.

It is one of Catrin’s greatest sorrows that she did not grow up with the Lawrence Welk show, although she made up for it with a steady diet of musical theater, Gilbert and Sullivan, and The Muppet Show. As an adult, her resume attests that classical music is her greatest passion, performing in a solo capacity with Baltimore Opera, Annapolis Opera, Annapolis Chorale, Live Arts Maryland, Prince William Symphony Orchestra, and Opera AACC. However, she still takes part musical theater productions at various local venues (including the Theatre Project), is a G&S junkie (performing with the Lyric Opera of Cleveland and SEVEN roles with the Young Victorian Theatre Company), and regularly entertains kids with puppets as part of the Lyric Opera House’s educational program. Hmmmmm. Who says you have to grow up?

Shaina, is “charmingly goofy,” says The Washington Post and a “sweet soprano” says In her serious opera world she sings with a plethora of East Coast venues, including the Lyric Opera of Baltimore, the Municipal Opera Company of Baltimore, Victorian Lyric Opera Company, the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra, and Long Leaf Opera. In the world of musical theater, Shaina has taken the stage with leading soprano roles such as Johanna in Sweeney Todd, which she loves to sing because half of her lines are “Oh dear!”, Lady Larkin in Once Upon a Mattress, which she loves to play because she earnestly sings, “I openly confess, tonight I love you less than I will tomorrow morning!” and Isabel in Scrooge, because, well, now wait… that role is sad. Never you mind. Come see the Hons in the Champagne Hour! It’s all happy when there’s bubbles!

Vikki’s sense of humor is as vast as her beauty. Although her repertoire is mostly from the opera world, this girl can swing with the best of them. In her serious music life, Ms. Jones has appeared with the Baltimore Opera Company, Opera Vivente, Municipal Opera Company of Baltimore, Opera North of Philadelphia, the Maryland Lyric Opera, Concert Artists of Baltimore, the Johns Hopkins Orchestra of Baltimore, and the Baltimore Symphony. Most recently she was an ambassdor for the Baltimore Opera’s education outreach program, in which she toured schools throughout Maryland, and presented the lives and careers of both Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price. The Champagne Hour allows Vikki to let her hair down, or in this case up, to have a great time and shake her tail feather.

Heather grew up on a steady diet of ballroom dancing and the Lawrence Welk Show thanks to her wonderful grandmother, Nellie Lockard-Fair. Therefore it is Heather’s dream come true to put this show on with her fabulous friends. If Heather had to put herself in a box with a label, the label would read CAMPY (really take a look at the picture on the right) as she loves to make people laugh. Some of Heather’s favorite roles have been Cunegonde in Bernstein’s Candide, Lucy in The ThreePenny Opera, and Mabel in Pirates of Penzance. Oh by the way, Heather did go to some really great schools to learn how to sing real pretty but that will be our little secret. This show has now become a tribute to my Grandmother, Nellie, that left us in January of 2010 as well as my daughter; G-Ma I hope you are doing the polka up there in heaven with Lawrence Welk. Please tell him we send our regards and we miss you guys. My sweet little bug, thank you for teaching the magic in all things that only children know and adults forget.

Mr. Harp aka Maestro aka That guy who can play the piano!
James Harp began his musical career at age 7 as a church soloist. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and is the Director of Opera and Education for the Lyric Opera House. Mr. Harp was the Artistic Administrator of the Baltimore Opera Company from 1989 and the Chorus Master from 1993. Since 1983 he has served as organist for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and since 1987 has been the Organist and Choirmaster for Baltimore’s historic St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, where he also serves as Artistic Director of the St. Cecilia Society Concert Series. Other credits include direction and adaptation of productions for the BOC at Artscape (Johnny S. Kickey, Too Many Sopranos, L’Heure Espagnole) and the Young Victorian Theatre Company, as well as scoring and musical accompaniment for a popular series of silent films at St. Mark’s Church.