• James Parry

The Beatles Replay all set for first Christmas Show on the West Island


Critically acclaimed tribute band The Beatles Replay will be hosting a Christmas show, alongside local bands The Record Breakers and Friday’s Heroes, at Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School as a fundraiser for Montreal’s Welcome Hall Mission.

In the words of John Lennon, in his iconic solo, ’So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over. And a new one just begun.’ Well, if you are a Beatles fan, you certainly won’t want to miss out on their first ever Christmas Show to be staged here on the West Island, the brainchild of Sir Paul McCartney, and coming to Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School Auditorium on December 10, to help those less fortunate at this special time of year who rely on Montreal’s Welcome Hall Mission for food, clothing, and perhaps a warm bed for the night.

Okay, so it’s not actually The Beatles who will be on stage. But rather what has been critically acclaimed as the next best tribune band in Canada, if not North America. Namely The Beatles Replay, first created by West Islander, John Oriettas, back in June, 2006, and on stage this very weekend for two shows at the Regina Casino in Western Canada.

Explained Oriettas, who lives in Île Perrot, and who is also known as Paul in the band, in an exclusive interview with Your Local Journal just before flying off to Saskatchewan, ‘’This is our first Christmas show and hopefully one of many more. I had been thinking about doing something for Christmas like The Beatles did each year in London, but wasn’t sure what to do. Then a few days later I got a call from Devin Shanks at the Montreal Celtic Society and Bramble House asking me if Replay wanted to do a concert in December. Devin and Diane Hodges of Bramble House were so easy-going and positive, and Bramble House being a very established West-Island British institution, I decided it was a good fit. So we decided to go for it.’’

Asked why he chose to support the Welcome Hall Mission through the show, he said it was a no-brainer. ‘’First of all I wanted to do the show to help Bramble House and the Celtic Society get more exposure. But I also wanted to help a worthy cause for the holidays. I know that the Mission can do a lot of good for those less fortunate in our city with the proceeds from a successful show. So the more people who attend the concert, the bigger the donation!’’

In full agreement are all the other members of Replay comprising Ricardo Branchini as John, Jean-Francois Cyr as George, and their newest member since June, Rocky Gallo as Ringo.

As well as everyone in two other West Island based bands performing in the fundraiser, The Record Breakers and Friday’s Heroes.

Said Oriettas, ‘’I’ve known The Record Breakers since September 2014, when I hired them to be part of an event I was doing called Montreal Beatles Day. Since then they have gone on to play a lot! They are a very talented group of youngsters all in their teens that play covers and write their own songs. And I saw Friday’s Heroes recently at a live concert at the Crowley Centre and was really impressed by their music and talent.’’

As for the actual content of the show, he says that the idea is to do a bunch of Beatles songs, with all three bands also doing some Christmas numbers. ‘’Plus, there will be some humour, skits, and laughs provided by the special surprise emcee for the night. It’s going to be a really fun evening for a great cause and we are so much looking forward to it.’’

Meanwhile, Oriettas says he will never forget Replay’s first show 13 years ago for the Town of Mount Royal’s Summerfest. ‘’We didn’t have the proper suits, wigs or instruments, but we had passion and enthusiasm. People still loved it and had a great time.’’

Since then, the band has been in full demand with some of the highlights being twice at the Calgary Stampede, two shows in Morocco in 2009, and playing in Guatemala for the British Embassy during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

This time around, the Christmas Show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Auditorium with tickets at $20 or $25 at the door. They can be purchased at The Bramble House, or online at www.Eventbrite.ca under Beatles Christmas Show.

Or one can also find it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/replaythebeatles.

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