Michael Vanhevel: Grand Bend Boy with a Crooner’s Voice

We had a wonderful evening in at Oakwood Inn in Grand Bend Saturday night. Michael Vanhevel was the entertainment, and entertain us, he did!

Michael Vanhevel
Michael Vanhevel

This young man has been blessed with an extraordinary voice and he knows how to use to enthrall the audience. He is a crooner, following in the footsteps of Michael Bublé, and many others before him.

He opens his show with Mack the Knife, and includes many Rat Pack hits. He covers all Bobby Darin’s hits, including my personal favourite Beyond The Sea. He fills his first two sets with golden oldies: Let’s Do It, What Kind of Fool am I, The Lady is a Tramp, Bewitched and Dream Lover are just some of the crowd pleasers he sings.

In his third set, he belts out New York, New York, and then fills the dance floor with Sweet Caroline.  The Monkees’ I’m a Believer and Michael Bublés’ I Just Haven’t Met You Yet keep everyone dancing. He continues the fun with All Shook Up and Crazy Little Thing Called Love, among many other pop songs. The night wraps up with Bobby Darin’s The Curtain Falls.

His voice is smooth, with near-perfect pitch and good dynamics. But here’s the amazing thing – he is ONLY 19 YEARS OLD!! This wonderful voice is not yet fully mature: he is going to get better and better.

He kept the crowd at Oakwood all night. Many of the folks waited in line to get a table for a pub-fare meal, then stayed the entire evening after hearing Michael on stage. Oakwood Inn owner Dave Scatcherd was, as usual, a gracious and congenial host, mixing with his patrons and enjoying a laugh. But he had a special request for Michael, wanting to hear Sinatra’s signature song, My Way. Michael happily complied, and Dave, listening to the lyrics, said, “That’s me, that’s my life.” By the song’s end, Dave was wiping tears from his eyes, marveling at Michael’s performance, showing a softness that has come with his 76 years, 30 of those years as Oakwood’s proprietor.

Between sets, Michael moves comfortably around the pub, visiting with his many fans. Even though he is probably the only one under age 50 in the room, he is completely at ease, appearing totally relaxed on and off stage. His good looks and charisma charm his audience.

At Saturday night’s show, Michael sang to pre-recorded music, his fingers flying over his Mac lap-top to find the tunes he wanted to sing. Michael has also performed at other bars and pubs in the ‘Bend with musicians to back him. He’s a machine for remembering lyrics – he has a huge repertoire and moved flawlessly from song to song.

Michael has the full support of his family in his pursuing his singing career. Dad Greg Vanhevel is his “roadie”, setting up & tearing down his sound equipment, while Mom Sharon Vanhevel reaches into her oversized purse to pull out Michael’s CDs, happy to handle sales of his recording. Grandparents Frank and Elaine Vanhevel were on the dance floor.

You can catch Michael this Saturday (September 24) at Aunt Gussie’s in Grand Bend where he will be singing as part of a Benefit Show – it’s a fundraiser for the Goderich tornado victims.

Check out this video about Michael on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4DEZb3Tne0

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