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Beyond barbershop

Vocal quartet Cantabile all over the map

Who: Cantabile

What: MY Place/Whistler Arts Council Performance Series

Where: MY (Millennium) Place

When: Thursday, Oct. 21

Tickets: $17 - $20

It’s pronounced Can-TAH-bih-lay and it’s an Italian word meaning "in singing style."

It’s also the name of an internationally renowned vocal quartet. Ironically, not the least bit Italian.

Rather they’re quintessentially British, a group of blokes whose perfect harmonies go beyond barbershop to cover comedy, classics, rock, pop, jazz, and modern musicals. Madrigal to McCartney is more than a creative philosophy, it’s the name of their 13th album.

In their home country they are celebrated men of the musical theatre. Formed as a student group in 1977, the harmonious hombres came to prominence as narrators for the Tim Rice musical Blondel.

Over the years Cantabile in its various forms has performed countless times on BBC radio and UK television channels, in front of crowds estimated at 40,000 in London’s Hyde Park. They were even invited to perform at Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in June 2002. What’s next, knighthood?

But it’s not just jolly old England that’s embraced Cantabile. The group has toured their comic vocal stylings extensively throughout continental Europe and all over the rest of world. This includes Canada, specifically la belle province, where they had a go at the Just for Laughs Festival stage in 2003.

Cantabile’s current tour brings them by MY Place on Thursday to launch the MY Place/Whistler Arts Council 2004/05 Performance Series.

It’s the first the first trip ever to the Canadian West Coast for the singing Brits.

It’s all new to audiences out here and they have a deep musical bag to dig into. Will it be Python-esque British silliness or an all-American tribute to Sinatra in the style of a scratchy 78 record? Will it be madrigals or McCartney, or a little bit of everything?

Likely the latter, although no matter what they’ve got up their sleeves, count on it coming at you "in singing style."

Cantabile take the stage at MY Place at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for students and seniors. For more information call the MY Place box office at 604-935-8410.

P.S. Good Show program promoting performances on a personal level

Launched with this year’s Performance Series is an innovative new program designed to reward those who promote shows through word of mouth.

The P.S. Good Show program is based around a confidential name and phone number registry maintained by the MY Place box office. If five people purchasing tickets name a certain registered show goer as having told them about the show, that person will be contacted and will receive two free tickets to another Performance Series show (based on availability).

The P.S. Good Show program is open to all seasonal and permanent residents of the Sea to Sky corridor.

To register send an e-mail to Performance Series Co-ordinator Gillie Easdon at, or call 604-935-8417. Immediate family members may not register separately.

The Performance Series is also bringing back its $2 ticket rate for the first ten local kids at every show.