ME AND THE FOZ
I met and played with David Foster for the first time in the early 1970’s, not long after moving from Vancouver to Victoria in 1969. Our first musical encounter was playing at our mutual friend Chris Earthy’s wedding. We had sporadic contact over the next few years, as David visited Victoria regularly.
In 1985, Chris called to inform me about a tribute dinner for David being held at the Empress Hotel, and asked if I would put a band together for the event and perform. I said yes, and volunteered to write a song for the occasion. During the evening’s festivities, which included many acknowledgements, and video clips from several artists David had worked with like Donna Summer and others, we played the song live for David, and afterward, Roger Monk of Little Mountain Sound and Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams songwriting partner) approached me and invited me to come to Vancouver and record the song. They would pay for the studio time and we would present it to David as a gift. The result was ‘Song for David’, which became ‘Dreams’ and is included in my ‘R You That Girl’ compilation.
The following year, in 1986, Chris contacted me again and asked me to arrange for a rehearsal space, and to line up the best players I could get to back up David and ‘some friends’, in what was to become a series of concerts over the next several years, known as The David Foster Celebrity Softball Game, a charity to help provide financial assistance to families whose children are undergoing life-saving organ transplants. I assembled some of my favourite players. That list would eventually include Jerry Adolphe, Norm McPherson, Doug Edwards, Brian Newcombe, Darryl Bennett, Dane Deviller, Tom Colclough, and Bill Sample. Rehearsals began after hours in the Seacoast Sound studios. Some of our first guests were Kenny Loggins and the Jeff Healey Band.
During the following years, David brought up many of his celebrity friends, both musical and non-musical, to participate. The guests included John Travolta, Michael J. Fox, Rob Lowe, Sam Kinison, Sally Kellerman, Olivia Newton-John, Julio Eglasias, Ed McMahon, Tommy Chong, Lee Majors, Wayne Gretzky, Bob McGrath, Fred Penner, Alan Thicke, and others. Performing on stage with us were Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Peter Cetera, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Boz Scaggs, Dan Hill, Robert Lamm and Jason Scheff of the band ‘Chicago’, Michael Bolton, Sheena Easton, Roch Voisine, Dudley Moore, Paul Anka, Kenny G, Ray Parker Jr., Nigel Olson, Mike Reno, Gordon Lightfoot, Burt Bacharach, Stephen Bishop, Richard Marx, John Parr, Michael Damien, Platinum Blonde, and others.
When The David Foster Celebrity Softball series had run its course, David and the band continued doing concerts over the next couple of years. We played at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa with Celine Dion, Rich Little, and the NAC Symphony Orchestra, as Charles and Diana looked on from the Royal Box. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his wife Mila were in the audience. We played in Atlanta with Celine, Kenny Rogers, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra including two members of Celine’s band. One of our last shows was the opening of Roger’s Arena in Vancouver, featuring Sarah McLachlan, Ashley MacIsaac, and others. The following year, David played a beautiful piano track for me on ‘In the Quiet Night’, a song from my ‘Power in Our Hands’ album, which he was kind enough to list in his discography.
My most recent musical involvement with David was in 2011. I was asked to put a band together and perform a set of ‘Foster-related’ songs at Mount Doug High School’s 80thAnniversary. David had attended high school there, as had Nelly Furtado, who was the special guest along with David. I’m grateful for having known ‘The Foz’, and for the years we spent playing together, and for the many fine singers and players I had a chance to play with through my connection with David.