Maria Manna will sing ‘Unforgettable’ in a duet with Jerry Bryant as part of her upcoming ‘Tribute to Natalie Cole’ at the Cowichan Theatre. (Submitted)

UPDATE: Show has been cancelled

Manna will be joined by the Island Big Band, with 96-year-old Jerry Bryant

UPDATE: Show has been cancelled.

Maria Manna is bringing her Unforgettable: Tribute to Natalie Cole to the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on Sunday, Nov. 3 starting at 2 p.m.

She’s bringing the stellar 17-piece Island Big Band with her for a great afternoon of music.

Manna will be belting out Natalie Cole’s compositions from the albums Unforgettable and Take a Look.

So, hold on to your seats as this high energy show entertains you with hits like ‘Orange Coloured Sky’, ‘Route 66’, ‘This Can’t be Love’, ‘Unforgettable’ and more.

“The reason I picked a matinee for the performance is because most of my musicians are, let’s say, mature and need to be driving during the day. So, the music will be played by people who knew of Nat King Cole when he was actually around,” she said.

Manna is well known on southern Vancouver Island as a jazz vocalist, actress and producer. She has performed with Tommy Banks, David Foster, Alfie Zappacosta and Paul Horn. Tribute to Natalie Cole is one of her signature shows.

Her international performances include a goodwill tour in Bosnia for the Canadian Military and aboard the Mercy Ship in Africa. She has received the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award and the Sovereign’s Medal for her volunteer performances at numerous charity events.

Asked this week if she’s a longtime fan of Natalie Cole, Manna said, “Absolutely. I have been working her music for the past 25 years. Not everybody can sing her music unless you are gifted that way. I was not. I really had to work at developing the power behind the notes. Then once I learned how to carry the song, then I got to enjoy the story of the song.

“I think what people are going to enjoy most is the professionalism of how these songs will be carried, and it will be a trip down memory lane for a lot of them. It will be just a good quality show with stories about Natalie Cole. I was blessed to have had lunch with her pianist who went on tour with her [Josh Nelson] and he told me many lovely stories about Natalie Cole that I’m going to bring to the show.”

There’s another treat in store, too.

“I would like to let you know that my duet singer that will be performing ‘Unforgettable’ with me probably knew Nat King Cole. His name is Jerry Bryant; he’s 96 years old. He says he will make it to the gig providing he wakes up that day. Jerry is lovely and he really pulls off the Nat King Cole side of it. He’s worth the price of admission,” she said.

Born in the U.S., Bryant was strongly influenced early on by his famous uncle, blues singer Joe Turner, but he later joined the Tommy Banks Group in Edmonton. He eventually found his way to Victoria as a high school music teacher, bringing his love of jazz with him.

“I’m really excited to perform with him and I hope we do Natalie Cole proud,” Manna said.

Tickets are $35 each. Order them online at https://ctcentre.bc.ca/TheatreManager/1/online or call the Cowichan Ticket Centre at 250-748-7529 to reserve your seats.



lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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