It took more than three years for the Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society to arrange for 100 Mile House singer Ingrid Mapson to appear in concert in Ashcroft, but those who attended her Oct. 6 concert would all agree that it was worth the wait.
Mapson’s voice has been described as “an instrument with rich, round, warm, honeyed colour, and [she] is very much at home in a variety of styles.” She began the concert with that R&B piece of classic Americana, “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66”, then moved seamlessly into “Besame Mucho”, which the Argentinian-born Mapson sang in Spanish, her voice alternately soft and caressing, then soaring to the rafters of St. Alban’s Church hall.
Another song, “La Vie en rose”, was sung in French, and Mapson explained that she likes to sing in other languages “to remind people about our similarities”. She also recounted that during a recent trip to France she was able to sing a song at one venue, and ended up going with “Besame Mucho” rather than a song sung in French.
Mapson’s ability to connect with the audience, and know when and where to interject an anecdote and when to sing, kept everyone engaged. She also knows that a gesture, look, or simple prop such as a rose can say a thousand words, and add an additional layer to a song.
And for someone who can belt to the back row when necessary, Mapson knows when to keep things quiet (at least to start). Too many singers with Mapson’s range start out at nine and then have little room to grow. Mapson took George Gershwin’s “Summertime” and started slow, then built gradually to a dramatic finish. “It was written as a lullaby,” Mapson explained at the start of the song, “but by the time we finish, any child who heard it would be awake.”
There was a jazzed-up version of “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man”, and before a rendition of “On My Own” from the West End/Broadway hit Les Misérables, Mapson spoke about the importance of musical theatre. It’s a sign of her gifts as a singer that she was able to go from a moving interpretation of that song to powerhouse versions of two songs from James Bond films: “Nobody Does it Better” and “For Your Eyes Only”.
They were followed by a welcome surprise: a duet (“Over the Rainbow”) with Ashcroft singer Theresa Takacs. The two singers blended effortlessly throughout the song, which was rehearsed online between them, after which Mapson turned the floor over to Takacs, who beautifully sang “Look to the Rainbow” from the musical Finian’s Rainbow; a song she said she had chosen in part because her grandson likes it.
Mapson then gave a rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic, starting small before building to a devastating climax. A change of pace was “Unbreak My Heart”, and Mapson said before the song that she likes to change the sound around during her concerts.
The concert concluded with “In Dreams” from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings and Adele’s “Skyfall” from the James Bond film of the same name; two very different pieces that Mapson gave very different treatments, and identities, to.
Mapson was accompanied by pianist Devin Roth, with whom she has worked before, and the two had an obvious rapport. Roth—who has also composed music for films and television—had two solos, as well as extended solos during other pieces. He gave jazz standard “Autumn Leaves” a very Vince Guaraldi-like treatment, turning it into a more loose-limbed version than those familiar with, say, Nat King Cole’s version might expect. He also did a personal favourite, the theme from Mission Impossible, bringing composer Lalo Schifrin’s memorable theme to breathless, edge-of-the-seat life.
“I’m really glad I decided to go,” said one concert-goer after the event. Everyone else in the audience undoubtedly felt the same. Here’s hoping it’s not another three years before Mapson returns to town.