Romance Brings Leisa Way Back to Grand Bend

Written on June 12th, 2017

Romance is bringing Leisa Way back to Grand Bend.  She will be on the beach July 5 with the love of her life.  But it won’t be an intimate affair for just the two of them.  She expects him to show up, along with about 400 other people!

Leisa will be performing her show Oh, Canada, We Sing for Thee! on the Rotary Stage at Grand Bend’s Main Beach.  In the audience that night will be David Nairn, her husband and “soul mate” of 25 years.

So why is it a romantic return?

The couple met in Grand Bend and fell in love sitting on the sand watching the Grand Bend sunsets in 1992.  It’s a wonderful show business love story: He was King Arthur and she was Guinevere in Camelot, on stage at Huron Country Playhouse, just up the road from that romantic beach. 

“When I auditioned for Camelot, I watched David audition.  I was very excited and a bit scared to be working with him; an amazing talent and an experienced actor who I looked up to.  I was still young and insecure,” Leisa explains.  By the time the first rehearsal at Huron Country Playhouse came along, she was thrilled to share the stage with him.

Any time off they had during the run of Camelot was spent together. “We went to a movie at the Starlight Drive-In in Shipka and we also had a great day at the Zurich Bean Festival….and made it a point to try to go every year after that!” Leisa laughs.  “At first I thought it was just going to be a fun summer theatre fling.  Well, 25 years later, it’s the fling that just keeps on ‘flinging’!!”

Leisa has had a brilliant musical theatre career. Early on, she spent six summers in the iconic role of Anne in Charlottetown Festival’s famous Anne of Green Gables.  She has played a myriad of lead roles, from Maria in The Sound of Music to Peter in Peter Pan, in theatres across Canada.

Leisa Way and The Wayward Wind Band are well known in Ontario and throughout Canada.  She is a very talented performer: her Dolly Parton, Peggy Lee, and Patsy Cline concerts sell out at venues across the province. She is a favourite at Victoria Playhouse in Petrolia, Port Stanley Festival Theatre, and Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover.

But for Canada’s 150th Anniversary, she has put together a very special show highlighting Canada’s favourites.  While she sings female favourites, such as Celine Dion, Anne Murray, Rita MacNeil, Shania Twain, Joni Mitchell, or K. D. Lang, her bandmates sing the hits of Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, and Michael Bublé.  They also cover the great groups, such as The Guess Who, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Steppenwolf.  The music will make every Canadian proud.

“Leisa’s Canada 150 show is travelling across the country, from Glace Bay, Nova Scotia to Courtenay, B.C.  We are so lucky to have her available to come to Grand Bend on her tour,” says concert series organizer Mary Alderson.

Leisa and David make their home in Orangeville, where he is the artistic director of Theatre Orangeville.  But what makes Leisa’s return to Grand Bend in July extra-special is the fact that David will be here June 28 to July 15, in the comedy Jonas & Barry in the Home, on stage at Playhouse II.  David co-stars with the playwright, Norm Foster.  Norm Foster has been the most produced playwright in Canada every year for the past twenty years. His plays receive an average of one hundred and fifty productions annually making him, by far, the most produced playwright in the history of Canada.  He’s best known for his hilarious comedies, of which Jonas & Barry in the Home is one of his newest, a perfect show for Foster himself to star with Nairn.  Fortunately, they aren’t on stage on the evening of Wednesday, July 5, making them available for Leisa’s show.

But spending time on Grand Bend Beach with her husband isn’t the only reason Leisa is here.  “Returning to the Bend with this Canada 150 concert, thanks to Mary, is such fun because I have my mother, my aunts, my sister, and nieces and nephews there.  Grand Bend feels like home to me.  I spend every family holiday there and a big part of my heart is there,” she explains.  “And David likes coming to Grand Bend for his mother-in-law’s wonderful home cooking.”

Joining Leisa will be her bandmates: Bruce Ley (pianist) who has been on the Tommy Hunter Show and the Ronnie Prophet Show, and has scored an Academy Award nominated film; Fred Smith (lead singer/guitar) who has played for Vince Gill, Chuck Berry, The Supremes, The Mamas and the Papas, and The Drifters; Nathan Smith (lead singer/violin) who plays for various symphonies, and is a founding member of The Barrel Boys bluegrass band; Bobby Prochaska (lead singer/bass) who is Broadway actor in Buddy Holly, Crazy For You, Blood Brothers (Drayton Entertainment); and Sam Cino (drummer) who has played with King Cobb Steelie, Kinnie Starr, and Fiddlestyx.   

“I’m excited to share the Bend with my incredible band, such superb musicians, and great guys.  We are going to raise the roof on your new stage with this concert that truly celebrates all things Canadian, and the artists who give our country its heart and soul,” Leisa adds.

Oh, Canada, We Sing for Thee is part of the new “Wednesdays’ Familiar Favourites Sunset Concerts” on the Rotary Stage at Grand Bend’s Main Beach.  There will be four Wednesday night concerts this summer, including Oh, Canada, We Sing for Thee. Other dates are:

  • July 19 – Seaforth Harmony Kings & Forest City Fire – Two great a capella groups singing past & present songs you know!
  • August 2 – Broadway on the Beach – Thomas Alderson & Friends, with wonderful musical theatre show tunes and comedy!
  • August 16 – Second Wind – Back by popular demand, this Lambton Shores band sings all the favourites of the 50s, 60s & 70s!

Organizer Mary Alderson has volunteered her time in order to see the Rotary Stage used more often.  The concerts are sponsored by Lambton’s Creative County, Lambton Shores, West Coast Lions Club, and Denny’s Drive-In.  “I’m thrilled that the West Coast Lions have offered to sponsor Leisa Way’s show.  It’s wonderful to have this calibre of professional talent here on our beach,” Mary says.  She stresses that everyone is welcome: “We are just asking that you pay what you can to support this talent.” Also, she reminds concert goers that on Wednesdays, Beach Parking is free after 7:00 p.m. and Main Street Parking is free after 5:00 p.m.

If concerts are rained out, please watch social media for possible alternate dates.

Photo:  Leisa Way sings Shania Twain’s hits in Oh, Canada, We Sing for Thee.   Photo by Nelson Anselmo. 

One Response to “Romance Brings Leisa Way Back to Grand Bend” | Add Your Thoughts

  1. I saw Leisa perform in Guelph a couple of years ago.
    She is amazing!
    See you at the beach…

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