Yo-yo boy wows crowd at Barenaked Ladies show 

11-year-old weaves his magic at Whistler Olympic Park

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You would have thought that 11-year-old Harrison Lee performed in front of thousands every day.

There he was, cool as a Whistler glacier, waiting for his cue after being called up on stage last Sunday by lead vocals for the Barenaked Ladies, Ed Robertson, half way through their set.

"I'm going to ask you to be very patient, OK," Robertson said to Lee after calling him up from the crowd of thousands who came to see the Canadian icons at Whistler Olympic Plaza. Robertson had first noticed Lee's "special talent" earlier that afternoon while the band was doing its sound checks.

"We are going to start playing a song and you just hang out with me, and we are going to totally rock out and when it gets to the guitar solo that's when I want you to do your thing, are you good with that...?

Harrison was clearly good with the whole thing- something the crowd and drummer Tyler Stewart could see. "Harrison is so chill and you are explaining your ass off up here and he's like 'I got it, I got it...,'" said Stewart to applause.

With bated breath crowd waited and waited as the bars of "It's All Been Done Before" passed.

As the guitar solo began Lee whipped out a sparkled yo-yo and went for it the way any performing champion would.

"It felt like a once in a lifetime experience," said Harrison later from his Vancouver home.

"It felt really amazing. I wasn't nervous because I couldn't see the crowd (anyway because of the lights)."

It turns out Robertson harbours a love for the yo-yo and when he saw Lee practicing Sunday afternoon he called him up to the stage where they exchanged some tricks backstage. Robertson even confessed that he was president of the yo-yo club at his high school.

"It was amazing," said Lee's dad Harry, of his son's performance, which was met with wild applause from the audience. "He was calm about the whole thing and I think he surprised himself when he found himself in the limelight."

Lee received his first yo-yo at Christmastime and became enamoured with it. He avidly watched You Tube videos to hone his skills at the various yo-yo moves, such as Walk the Dog, Cradle, Brain Twister and Boingy Boingy, to name just a few.

He has since moved up the yo-yo ranks in a blistering speed - in July he participated in the 2011 Canadian National Return Top Championship in Calgary and placed 15th in his division, 1A freestyle.

Dad Harry said Harrison is on quite a high after the unexpected performance at the Barenaked Ladies concert and is already dreaming big. The World Yo-Yo Contest takes place in Orlando, Florida each year and Harrison is keen to be a part of it. However, Harry emphasized that he'll have to earn it and work hard at school so that going to the Worlds will be the reward.

Yo-yoing really helps with hand-eye coordination, explained Harry and he said it's a neat thing for Harrison to be involved in. "It's non-electronic - he hasn't touched video games for months," he said with a smile.

 

 

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