From the promoters:
The PARADE Collective will be a showcase of original music and arrangements written and performed by musicians and singers from Cirque du Soleil. The term “PARADE” is a French acronym for Programme d’aide aux réalisations artistiques des employés, which literally translated means, a program to aid in the artistic realizations of the employees. Cirque du Soleil’s Cultural Action Department presents this evening in support of its mandate to encourage and support its employees. Tonight, these accomplished artists, who perform live nightly in a Cirque du Soleil production, will demonstrate their high degree of creativity and passion by performing their own original music compositions and arrangements for this very special concert.
John Abraham is a graduate of West Virginia University and has spent the last 25 years playing Las Vegas showrooms as both drummer and percussionist for production shows and star acts. He has spent the last 10 years working as a drummer for the Cirque du Soleil productions of Mystère and “O”. As a prominent member of the Las Vegas jazz community, he has worked backing artists such as Cedar Walton, Alan Broadbent, Don Menza, Ricky Woodard and Carl Saunders. He was also affiliated with the nationally syndicated radio broadcasts of “Jazz Night at the Four Queens”, performing with such notables musicians as Bill Watrous, Pete Christlieb, Joe Williams, Marlena Shaw, and Kenny Burrel and many others. As a member of the jazz faculty at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, John was the drum set instructor and performed with Bob Sheppard, Bobby Shew, Dave Loeb, and Tom Warrington.
Jean-Francois Blais, a native of Sherbrooke, Quebec, is a saxophone and woodwind specialist in Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil. A graduate with High Distinction in Jazz Saxophone from the Jazz Performance program at McGill University in Montreal, Jean-Francois was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to move to New York City where he fostered and honed his craft. While in New York, he studied and performed alongside numerous jazz masters, such as Chris Potter and David Binney.
In 2003, he joined Cirque du Soleil for the creation of Zumanity and moved to Las Vegas to begin his next adventure. Close to reaching his 10th year anniversary with the company, Jean-Francois is happy to be a part of the Cirque du Soleil family in Las Vegas, and is active in the local music scene by performing and collaborating with other local artists on a variety of projects including original music compositions for TV commercials, pilots and movies, as well as club music compilation tracks with renown local DJs.
Genevieve’s artistic life started at a very young age. By the age of 12 she had already participated in numerous music competitions and performed as a soloist on stages in Canada, the United States and France.
She completed her education at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montreal and the University of Montreal. Genevieve had the opportunity to study with numerous violin masters such as Sylvia Rosenberg, Pinchas Zukerman, and Sydney Hart and specialized in chamber music with the Tokyo Quartet and members of the Orford String Quartet.
In 1993 Geneviève joined Cirque du Soleil for the creation of Mystère. Then moved on to Quidam by Cirque du Soleil and is currently part of the cast of Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil, where she extends her musical talents to vocals, percussions and various flutes. She also remains very active in the musical community through various events, including classical and pop concerts with renowned names as Marjo, Mario Pelchat, Aldo Ciccolini, and many more. Geveniève’s expertise has made her a go-to resource many times when she has been requested to conduct master classes, judge strings competitions, or collaborate on live creations. Her warm violin sound and beautiful musical sensitivity has charmed the hearts of audiences around the world.
Otto Ehling began classical training at two years old. Born and raised in Los Angeles as a Brazilian-American, he performed numerous events in his youth to raise money for Brazilian orphanages. In 2002 Otto won first prize in the NAACP national classical division. He then began studying Jazz music in addition to his classical playing. This led to his full scholarship at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he achieved his degrees in both Classical and Jazz Performance. During this time he performed Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Concerto with the Long Beach Symphony in a performance with Ben Vereen. Recently, Otto completed his Masters degree at UNLV and has begun subbing at “O” by Cirque du Soleil.
Sebastien Jean, a native of Sherbrooke, Quebec, began playing the trumpet at a young age. He completed his undergraduate studies in trumpet at the University of Montreal and earned an excellent reputation on the music scene. Sebastien was a key member of the party group La Chango Family and also played in the group One Ton. Since 2003 he has been performing in Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil.
Toumany Kouyaté plays authentic traditional music that represents the oral traditions of his native Senegal. Born and raised in Dakar, he comes from a long line of artists and musicians. His instrument of choice is the kora, a classic harp-lute used by musicians in West Africa.
Picture a washtub bass with 21 strings strung similar to a harp…and with a lute sticking out of the base and you have the basic idea of a kora. The instrument is built on a calabash cut in half and covered in cow skin to create a resonating chamber. The most skilled kora players, such as Toumany, can tune the kora to four different seven-note scales. Toumany’s kora is double-necked, allowing him to switch between scales in seconds. The music itself derives from the griot tradition, where cultural history is kept alive through music and dance passed down from generation to generation.
He mesmerizes audiences nightly in “O” by Cirque du Soleil at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. For more information, please visit www.toumanykouyate.com.
Growing up in Los Angeles with a musical family, playing in city youth bands in addition to music programs at school, Carlos began his pursuit of a musical career at an early age. In his never ending search for new sound, Carlos would go on to be the most eclectic musician in his family. His influences are as diverse as any pallet could be, ranging from Rock & Roll, Jazz, R&B, to Reggae, Classical and World Music.
Carlos’ style of playing and musicianship has allowed him to perform, record and tour with some of the top artists of today including; Wayne Newton, Marie Osmond, Sara Evans, Toni Braxton, Rhythm Slam and many more. His unique style and rhythmic approach keeps him in demand.
Whether playing in a small trio or big touring production, Carlos’ personality and great sense of humor add to his creative and rhythmic performance. He strongly believes his talent is a gift from God to be shared with people around the world.
Carlos completed a 38-city national tour across the US and Canada with ABC’s hit TV show “Dancing With The Stars”. Since 2009 he has been performing in Mystère by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.
Tom Lyons has performed with the Cirque du Soleil productions Zumanity, KÀ & Mystère. He has toured with The Four Tops, Aretha Franklin, David Cassidy, Robert Goulet, Jack Jones, Lionel Hampton, and others. He was keyboardist for Penn & Teller’s “Sin City Spectacular”, a weekly variety show on Fox TV. He has been Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Idaho, Jazz Pianist-In-Residence at the Lionel Hampton School of Music, and has a B.A. & M.A. in Piano Performance from the University of Iowa. He has toured Central & South America for the United States State Department.
Dena Massaro holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music performance from Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music, in Ohio. She performed regularly as a member of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra and the Warren Philharmonic, sharing the stage with artists such as Al Jarreau, Olivia Newton-John, Michael Bolton, Dionne Warwick, Phil Keaggy, Craig Schulman and Linda Eder. She has also performed in other cities throughout Ohio with the rock band, YES and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Since moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, Dena has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Wayne Newton, Josh Groban, Johnny Mathis, Gladys Night and Tommy Lee. In addition, she can be seen playing in the orchestra for the PBS special, Andrea Bocelli: Amore Under the Desert Sky. Her free-lance experience ranges from playing in small chamber ensembles for weddings and events to performing in an electric string quartet for corporate functions, many of which involved traveling throughout the US and internationally. She has been performing in “O” by Cirque du Soleil for nearly 5 years and continues to work on other independent projects as a free-lance artist.
A Montreal, Canada native, Eric took on the saxophone at age 13 and never looked back. Eric studied in Montreal at Cegep de St-Laurent with Jean-Pierre Zanella and Luc Beaugrand, then with Simon Stone and Luc Beaugrand at University Of Montreal. In 2007, Eric co-founded “Jelly Fiche”, a French Rock band, releasing their debut album “Tout ce que j’ai reve”, in 2008 under Unicorn Digital Records. Warmly received by critics and fans, its success brought “Jelly Fiche” to open for Rock legend “Fish” in Montreal and to be nominated for “Best Debut Album” at the Prog Awards in 2009. His biggest client to date is Cirque du Soleil, where he has worked on 5 of the company’s productions either as a musician, consultant, programmer, assistant musical director and musical director: Quidam, Alegría, Saltimbanco, Corteo and currently “O”. This experience took Eric all over the world and gave him the opportunity to perform on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, “Good Morning America”, the “Journey of Man” soundtrack and the “live” DVD of Alegría. For more information, please visit www.ericplante.com.
Paris Red has appeared on numerous recordings, television specials, and soundtrack albums, performing with some of the world’s most celebrated people: Stevie Wonder, Michael Bolton, Howard Hewit and many others. Her awards include: winner of the 2009 Black Music Awards of Las Vegas for Best Jazz Vocalist Overall, Best Female Vocalist Overall, Best CD Recording Live, winner of the 2007 BMA Best Jazz Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year, and winner of the 2008 Best Jazz Vocalist. Paris Red will captivate you with her sultry stylings and excite you with her emotional renditions of her own songs. She is currently performing in Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque Du Soleil.
Briana Rossi is a Boston native and avid Red Sox fan. Currently, she is performing with Cirque du Soleil in their production of “O” at the Bellagio. In the fall, she will begin the role of the Clown Diva Castafiore in Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil while understudying the roles of Lia, Mandragora (Flower Pistil Mutant Lady), Kundalini (Snake Mutant Lady), and Spider Mutant Lady. She graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Vocal Performance/Opera Studies with a minor in English Literature. Briana has travelled extensively, performing in South Africa, Canada, and Europe, with an extended stay in Paris, France where she was a featured soloist with the Jeune Choeur D’Ile de France and the Bel Arte Orchestra. An A.R.T.S First Level Winner as well as the recipient of the Music for Youth Foundation first prize, Briana is a Presidential Scholar, having performed at the Kennedy Center for President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Briana is also a RYT 200 Hour certified Power Flow Yoga instructor specializing in the ZFlow Power Series. She teaches at Sherry Goldstein’s Yoga Sanctuary in Las Vegas.
Marc Solis, Musician/reed player, was born in St-Hyacinthe, Quebec. He graduated from the University of Montreal/Jazz Studies in 1991. Marc joined the production of Fascination by Cirque du Soleil in Japan in 1992, and then later that year Nouvelle Experience by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. Since 1993 he has been performing in Mystère by Cirque du Soleil. He also had the opportunity to play and record with various groups and artists such as The Alexander Saxophone Quartet, Walt Blanton, Stefan Karlsson, Rocky Winslow, the Nevada Jazz Orchestra, Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns, and the Las Vegas Jazz Connection.
Martin St-Pierre continues to be recognized as a front man for composing and improvised violin in the World Music, Rock, Classical and Heavy Metal communities. Specializing in ethnic styles, Martin has extensive knowledge of traditional Chinese Music and North Indian Classical Music. Martin was an orchestrator and score coordinator for Christopher Young on numerous feature films including The Grudge, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Spider-Man 3 and soundtrack producer for Ghost Rider.
As a violinist, Martin has performed with multiple orchestras including the world renowned Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and I Musici. Martin’s erhu and yailli tambur solos were regularly featured on Bear McCreary’s Battlestar Galactica’s score, soundtrack and Socom 4 video game. Martin’s many projects have included members of White Zombie, NIN, Perfect Circle, and Primus. Martin has recorded, arranged and performed with Trent Reznor. His own group, Kavanah, performed at Coachella 2007. He was the original violinist for Quidam by Cirque du Soleil, performed with the Cheval Theatre and currently performs in Mystère by Cirque du Soleil. www.martinstpierre.com
As solo artist and performer, Melle Vasquez, has played various clubs in Los Angeles, New York, and Las Vegas. Her music has been featured on LA radio. As guitarist and backup vocalist, she has traveled throughout the world with such artists as Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner, Cher, Nancy Sinatra and k.d. lang, to name a few, and has performed in renowned venues, including The Greek Theatre, Arrowhead Pond, Madison Square Garden, Hammersmith Odeon and Radio City Music Hall. These days, Melle considers herself more of a songwriter than anything, and enjoys recording and putting the final product together in the studio. Her latest release “Better Late Than Never” is a collection of songs inspired by living in Las Vegas, and the ups and downs of relationships. Her “day gig” of late has been an 8 year stint with Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil.
Originally from Montreal, Corinne launched her first French-language solo album, Café Noir in March of 2002 to a barrage of critical acclaim. Reviewers were unanimous in their praise for Corinne, touting her as having “lyricism, emotion, intensity and a quality of voice that is irreproachable” and declaring her “an absolute discovery.”
Prior to the release of Café Noir, Corinne delivered successful runs in two, touring rock musicals. In 1999, she was hired on the spot for the lead role, Esmeralda, in “Notre-Dame de Paris,” beating out over 1,000 hopefuls. Then, in 2002, Corinne won the hearts of fans and critics alike with her portrayal of Lady Capulet in “Romeo & Juliet.”
Corinne’s repertoire of work extends well beyond the stage. She made her feature film debut in the 2002 Academy Award winning movie “Chicago,” for which she provided the French voice over for actress Catherine Zeta Jones. On television, Corinne has appeared on Radio Canada’s “Molson Centre” and “Show du Refuge” as well as in the variety shows “Le Grand Blond Avec un Show Sournois,” “Les 3 Mousquetaires,” “Le Bonheur Est Dans la Télé,” and “La Fureur.”
Corrine joined Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil in May 2004 as lead singer: a distinctly mystical chanteuse mixed with hard-edged rock vixen.
From the four corners of the globe comes Vox Indigo, an ensemble of four virtuoso vocalists and one guitar sensation dedicated to unique versions of both classic and contemporary songs. They are an organic and genuine sound at the crossroads of vocal genres, highlighting a broad musical vocabulary and a fresh, creative spirit. Vox Indigo seeks to shine a light on songs both familiar and novel, and in the process, create a renewed excitement for live acoustic music. For more information, please visit www.voxindigo.com.
Dina Emerson of Vox Indigo
Dina Emerson is a fourth-generation Californian who was raised in Santa Barbara. Dina performed in plays and theater since she was 7 or 8, and always knew that her life would be spent on stage. Dina received a BA in Drama from Bennington College in 1988 and settled in New York, where she began serious vocal training and became known as a “vocal chameleon” (The Village Voice). Dina has worked with many composers, directors and dance companies, her specialty being premieres of original vocal works, often composed specifically for her, to be performed live. Highlights include the world premiere of Paper Music by Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and portraying Isadora Duncan in David Soldier’s opera Naked Revolution. Dina settled in Las Vegas in 2007, where she works in her garden and sings 10 shows a week in Mystère by Cirque du Soleil.
Dirk K of Vox Indigo
International guitar sensation and producer Dirk K, originally from Germany performed with the biggest names in Jazz. He released 21 albums on Sony/Unity, Bellaphon, Fuzzy music and his own label DIP Records. In 1998 Dirk K received his Green Card for extraordinary abilities in the field of music. Residing in the U.S. for almost 18 years, he recorded, produced and engineered with an array of artists in a variety of music genres. Dirk is currently an audio technician at Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil.
Silje-Marie Norderhaug of Vox Indigo
Silje-Marie Norderhaug was born and raised in Norway and started singing in a choir at the age of three. Silje was educated at Complete Vocal Institute and Bårdar Academy where she studied musical theatre. She has performed in such musicals as Miss Saigon, Which Witch and had leading roles as Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar and understudied Cosette in Les Miserables. Silje has also done performances for Norwegian television and radio and is currently singing in Mystère by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.
Zipporah Peddle of Vox Indigo
Zipporah Peddle is a dynamic and versatile vocalist, music arranger, and educator, hailing from the beautiful city of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. She has been performing throughout the world for fifteen years, and has a diverse background including musical theater, opera, and pop. Appearances include two seasons with Rising Tide Theater, two seasons with the Charlottetown Festival, Little Shop of Horrors (Crystal) with Red Barn Theater, and Die Fledermaus (Rosalinde) with UNLV Opera. Zipporah toured Canada and France with the internationally renowned vocal ensemble The Nathaniel Dett Chorale. She also worked as lead vocalist for Norwegian Cruise lines and the six-star cruise line, Crystal Cruises. She holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she studied with Dr. Tod Fitzpatrick. She completed her degree while performing ten shows a week in “O” by Cirque du Soleil, where she has been a cast member since 2007.