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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Bad Romance, Emerson Emelia kick-off Essex’s 2021 Tune up the Parks series in-person

by Sylene Argent

With COVID-19 restrictions loosening, the annual Tune Up the Parks concert series was kicked-off last week with in-person performances from rock cover band “Band Romance” and singer Emerson Emelia, with safety guidelines in place. The summer-long series was held virtually last year, for safety reasons, due to the pandemic.

  The opportunity to perform live has been hit-and-miss over the past 16-months, so when members of the local rock cover band “Bad Romance” heard the Town of Essex’s Arts, Culture, and Tourism (ACT) Committee was looking for local performers to hosts gigs during the annual, summer-long Tune Up the Parks music concert series, they were quick to sign-up.

  On Monday, July 5, “Bad Romance” officially kicked-off the Tune Up the Parks concert series in Colchester.

  Singer, Jerilyn Lariviere said it was great to get in front of a crowd again, after being limited to performing in-person over the past nearly year-and-a-half. Attendees socially distanced, while enjoying the entertainment on a hot night, she noted.

  The band was able to play around an hour-and-a-half, performing a setlist designed to appease anyone in the audience. While the members of “Bad Romance” played covers from rock favourites, such as “Heart,” “Greta Van Fleet,” “Pat Benatar,” “The Beatles,” “Godsmack,” and “Halestorm,” they also added in a few pop songs into their setlist, that they converted to have that rock flare.

  She noted those who came out to the concert varied in age, which is why members of the band construct a setlist with some variety. The gig received a great turn out.

  “Bad Romance” has been in operation since 2016, Lariviere said, with members residing from all over Windsor-Essex. It includes Lariviere as the singer, drummer Dan Lariviere, guitarists Rick Trombley and Blake Stiller, and bass player Daniel Lyons.

  “We do it because it is fun,” she commented on forming the band. “We are really excited we are back doing live shows. We are going to make this year our year.”

  Last Wednesday’s session for the Tune Up the Parks concert series, which was supposed to take place in Essex Centre in the Heritage Gardens Park, was postponed, due to the weather. Local singer, Emerson Emelia, instead performed on Friday, July 9.

  Despite the change in date, Emelia received a great turnout.

  As a first-time performer in the Tune Up the Parks concert series, the 14-year-old said everything went well and she thoroughly enjoyed taking to the limelight to perform popular tunes, in addition to two originals that she shared live for the first time. One of the tunes – about dealing with anxiety and stress – she said, caught the heart of one of the audience members, who approached her after the show to say the song was touching.

  Emelia started singing at the age of nine. She fell in love with musical theatre as a member of a Lakeshore-based theatre group. Becoming part of their elite team, she was able to enjoy many unique opportunities, such as participating in a Broadway workshop in New York, working with award-winning Broadway composers, and preforming at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019.

  From the beginning, Emelia has always loved singing pop music, but her love for music grew over the pandemic as she started writing her own music and lyrics. She is set to record a song this summer, as part of a song-writing course she took during the school break in April. She hopes to record more and also hopes to start a glee club at her school, École Secondaire Catholique E.J. Lajeunesse.

  “On stage, I feel alive,” Emelia said. “I feel like I am meant to be performing.”

  Being involved with Tune up the Parks, she said, was a lot of fun and she would like to do it again.

  Her music can be found via social media and on YouTube.

  Tune Up the Parks concert sessions are scheduled to take place in Colchester on Monday evenings and in Essex Centre on Wednesday evenings. Performances begin at 7pm, until September 1. Current public health restrictions, such as crowd size and physical distancing, will be enforced.

  Lawrance Hank is scheduled to perform at the Heritage Gardens Park on Wednesday, July 14.

  More information can be found at


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