Recap of David Foster weekend – reporter notes



As if being a multiplatinum singer and songwriter weren’t enough, Josh Groban also has an amazing memory.

The Grammy Award-winning pop opera superstar demonstrated that during his Miracle Weekend visit.

“You were one of my first interviews! I remember that very well,” said Groban, smiling warmly as he recalled coming here 12 years ago as a rising star to perform The Prayer at the Victoria Conference Centre for a David Foster Foundation fundraiser.

Foster’s then-scrawny and unassuming 19-year-old musical protégé had taken time out of a rehearsal to chat.

“You can only hope,” Groban said Saturday, recalling how he never assumed he’d also become an actor whose sense of humour and charisma has enchanted CNN’s Piers Morgan and Kelly Ripa on Live! with Kelly, and enhanced Jack Black’s spoofy Tenacious D rock video.

His quick wit was evident during Saturday’s lengthy Miracle Concert at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre when, finally taking the stage after midnight, he quipped: “I feel like my set should come with free pancakes.”

Groban, 31, wasn’t the only celebrity waxing nostalgic at the 25th anniversary fundraiser that raised $4.6 million to aid families with children who need organ transplants.

Foundation alum Alan Thicke laughed when reminded how quotable he was during the mid-1980s softball fundraisers.

“I must have had better writers back then,” joked the actor before explaining how he still looks youthful 25 years later.

“It’s just a lot of poutine and Haagen Dazs, a little hair colour and you hope you’re on right side of the grass every morning,” quipped Thicke, who ribbed Wayne Gretzky mercilessly back then for going to the L.A. Kings from the Edmonton Oilers.

“We have a lot of hockey hopefuls in L.A. right now,” he said of the Kings, who have advanced to the Stanley Cup final. “Everybody’s very excited about the Kings. We’re sorry to come in here with Wayne and rub it into the Canucks fans in the town that hockey forgot.”

Sarah McLachlan reminisced about singing I Will Remember You when Good Morning America broadcast from here in 1996.

“We were up in the Empress tea room,” she recalled. “And here I am, back at the Empress.”

During rehearsal, she feigned anger when Foster corrected her during a song runthrough.

“You get up here and sing it!” joked McLachlan, who later noted she has a Sept. 15 fundraiser in Vancouver’s Stanley Park for the Sarah McLachlan School of Music, her free music program for children.

Michael Bublé, who flew in Friday for the naming of David Foster Way, was also in a reflective mood.

“I haven’t changed as much as people have changed around me,” he said when reminded how he graciously interrupted his nap time at the Empress for an interview when he was a relative newcomer at a Foster fundraiser 10 years ago.

Would he do such a thing at this stage of his career?

“I’m pretty close to that same guy. I’m probably less insecure than I was back then, so I have less to prove. I’m probably nicer and happier.”

The Grammy Award-winning crooner, accompanied by his parents, was in a playful mood.

“I’d like to thank Pam [Anderson] for being here because I love you, and then thank my wife for not being here,” he joked.

Foster was touched that Bublé called Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin a year ago with the David Foster Way proposal.

“I’ve worked for 40 years with hundreds of artists and not one has ever done what Michael Bublé did.”

Port McNeill’s Clifton Murray reminisced about his performance with the Canadian Tenors for Queen Elizabeth during a private tea May 13 at Windsor Castle, where they sang Hallelujah and a last-minute request.

“We had to arrange a four-part harmony of God Save the Queen on the ride over, and that was nerveracking,” he said.

“She’s an angelic person. She’s 85 but still very aware and youthful, and she gives you that moment to really communicate with her.”

Murray also lamented the death of Donna Summer, with whom the Tenors sang Amazing Grace at a dinner party at Foster’s home last year.

“Looking back, it was surreal,” he said, noting Summer and the Tenors were potentially going to record together.

Nita Whitaker, whose rendition of Summer’s megahit Last Dance had to be cut for technical reasons, said she was honoured to have worked with the disco queen.

She was so nice and selfeffacing and faith-filled,” said Whitaker. “I had a moment where I got to pray with her in October when she wasn’t feeling great. There was a spiritual connection.”

Foster spoke and performed The Prayer with Natalie Grant at Summer’s private funeral in Nashville last Wednesday. He said he was crushed when he learned about the death of his close friend who performed last November at his star-studded wedding to Yolanda Hadid, the former Dutch supermodel and new co-star of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

“Yolanda couldn’t get out of bed for two days,” he said. “She was inconsolable.”


Facts and figures from the David Foster Foundation’s 25th annual Miracle Weekend:

– Total raised: $4.6 million (does not include an initial pledge of $2 milllion over 10 years from the Oak Bay Beach Hotel’s Kevin and Shawna Walker)

– 150 volunteers supported the event

– Five families who have been supported by the David Foster Foundation attended from across Canada

– $114,000 raised on Foster Friday on CFAX

– 333 crew arrived from across the U.S. – plus a tech expert from Italy – to support the show – Source: David Foster Foundation
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

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