Donna McVay can die a happy woman, or at least incredibly contented.
The leader singer for Barracuda - a Heart tribute band - recently fulfilled one of her lifelong dreams. The Vancouver woman spent 20 minutes with legendary rockers Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart.
When the American rock band - which rose to fame in the 1970s and 1980s - came to Vancouver last month to perform at the PNE, McVay was elated.
"My fascination with Heart and particularly with Ann Wilson began when I heard the Dream Boat Annie album and the very powerful and soulful voice of Ann," McVay told the Langley Advance, explaining that she's bringing her show to Langley later this month.
"It is where I realized that I and other women had a place in the mostly men predominant world of rock 'n' roll- She has been my vocal coach from afar" ever since, said McVay, who plays Ann in the show.
She has been to at least 10 Heart concerts (three in the past year and a half) doing what she calls research to help authenticate their show, but never before for a backstage meet-and-greet.
"I was honoured and very privileged to meet Ann and Nancy backstage at their recent concert in Vancouver, at the PNE," said McVay, who's been singing since she was six and growing up in Pine River, Man.
"The experience was a dream come true and was also very humbling. I explained to Ann and Nancy that our goal and intent for putting together Barracuda was not a group of musicians doing Heart songs, but a tribute act that actually pays tribute to Heart by not only performing the songs as they were recorded - note for note - but to also tell the history of the band."
Barracuda is still a relatively new band, surfacing less than a year ago [November 2011] in Vancouver, but with members from North Vancouver, Coquitlam, New Westminster, and Langley.
"We had our first performance this past May," McVay said, explaining that they've already performed at various casinos, corporate shows, and festivals and earned the distinction of being Canada's premier Heart tribute act.
In all honesty, McVay said, they've earned that Canadian distinction because they're the only act of their kind in the country.
"Between the demanding vocals and intense and diverse musical styles that Heart portrays, I think many people are intimidated to try and reproduce not only the music but the image and look of the band," she said. "I am confident and have been reassured by those in the music industry that have worked with Heart in the past - such as booking agents, producers, engineers, and musicians - that we are the closest."
Heart fans are encouraged to catch this musical and visual tribute in a 90-minute show at Cascades Casino's Summit Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 22.
Tickets are $25 and available at the casino guest services or at www.ticketweb.ca.
Doors open at 7 p.m., with the show beginning at 8 p.m.
How to win
A PAIR OF TICKETS TO SEE BARRACUDA'S TRIBUTE TO HEART
Two lucky readers will each win a pair of tickets to the Sept. 22 show
HOW DO YOU WIN?
. Visit the Langley Advance website at: www.langleyadvance.com, find "More Ways to Connect," and click on "send us your letters, photos, video."
. Fill in your name, email, and number.
. Then write a short note explaining why you want to attend this show. Please note your community, and include the keyword "Heart" at the top of the note. Preference is given to Langley residents.
Entries must be received prior to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 18 and winners will be notified by email and/or telephone. Note: submitted comments could be used in future editions of the newspaper. No staff or family of the Langley Advance or Glacier Media are eligible. This contest is restricted to online participants, 19 years or older only.