Remaining members of beloved children’s group prep for midtown performance
The re-release of 1,2,3,4 Live on April 15 has stirred up some warm memories for Sharon Hampson and Bram Morrison.
They’re missing one third of their original trio. Lois Lilienstein died a year ago but they’re keeping her memory alive, as well as cementing themselves into the fabric of their Davisville neighbourhood.
It’s early afternoon at June Rowlands Park, and they’re playing on the percussion instruments they chose for the Music Garden — tembo included. An elephant statue watches over them with kind eyes, as Hampson and Morrison ensure the xylophone keys are in tune.
Oddly enough, 1, 2, 3, 4 Live is the only album in Sharon, Lois and Bram’s discography that hasn’t made it to CD, and Morrison let it be known he was perplexed by the omission.
“It’s bothered me for years, that of all the recordings we had done from the beginning, they had been transferred to CD,” he says. “And for some reason that I cannot even begin to explain, this one just got neglected. It’s been a bee in my bonnet for years now.”
They share a small anecdote about the production of the album, which was recorded in concert at the Oakville Theatre. With them was the Mammoth Band.
During the recording, the audio-video crew placed the recording equipment in the dressing room, which was situated beneath the audience. In order to get the cords to the stage, they need to drill a hole through the seating.
“We dubbed it the Sharon, Lois and Bram memorial hole,” Hampson says, with a laugh.
Even though album is being released a year after Lilienstein’s death, Morrison said the timing was more “karmic” than anything else.
“It all seemed to be the right time,” Hampson says.
However, its timing does mesh with the opening of the Music Garden, which is set for May 14. Much like the launch of the playground, there will be performances and speeches. Councillor Josh Matlow was again at the helm for the honorary grounds.
Hampson assures there will be more music than talking at the event.
To coincide with the launch, a social media campaign has been launched to get people to share their Skinnamarink memories with the hashtag #SkinnamarinkChallenge. Celebrities like hockey player P.K. Subban, jazz musician Sophie Milman and Royal Wood have contributed already through Twitter.
“This is my first foray into any kind of social media, including Facebook,” Morrison admits. “It’s a whole other world.”
“I do Facebook, a little bit, not like real people,” Hampson adds. “Twitter was not there for me. But it’s fun — we’re having fun.”
They’re thrilled with the feedback they’ve received.
“One of the things I find so splendid about this whole experience is it’s a serious piece of feedback for us,” Morrison ruminates.
“It’s very sweet. For older people, [our music] is in their bones,” Hampson shares. “It’s part of their childhood.”