Walters Family Dinner Theatre - Bright, Ontario

Dinner and a show

by David "Sumoflam" Kravetz

 

June 8, 2008: I had a nice busy day, but it was topped off by a fun evening at the Walters Family Dinner Theatre in Bright, Ontario, about a 15 minute drive from Woodstock.  In something similar to a dinner show in Branson, Missouri, the Walters family has established a fun program...a country dinner buffet and then an hour and a half of live music.

 

The main entry gate, their lovely pond with swans and the front of their performance barn

 

From June to October they put on six shows a week through the end of October and then in December they put on a Christmas extravaganza.

 

Bradley

guitar, vocals

Kimberley

keyboards, vocals

Darren

multi-instrumentalist

Shirley

bass guitar, backing vocals

 

So, who are the Walters?  It all started a number of years ago when father Garry had his three children Bradley, Kimberley and Darren form the Walters Trio.  Soon Garry and his wife Shirley were learning drums and bass guitar (from youngest son Darren no less...) and joined the kids in performances.  As a family they have toured with the Osmonds and have performed with Lawrence Welk and other groups.

 

So, what happens at a Walters Dinner show? From the start...

 

The dinner begins around 6:30 PM (matinee shows begin at 12:30) and people begin showing up around 5:45 or 6:00.  When I got there I was directed to park and where...by Darren.  Turns out that they not only perform, but they also handle all of the maintenance, the publicity, the phone calls, etc.  Garry (and I didn't get a photo of him..), the Dad, retired a couple of years ago and he takes care of the landscaping and mowing of the 120 acre homestead.  Indeed, everyone takes care of everything.

 

Come and get it!

 

At 6:30 Garry comes out and rings the dinner bell...everyone has assigned seats at tables. I had a spot right next to the stage and was joined by a family from Kitchener and another group from further away.  There were also folks from Holland and Germany for this evenings' show.  As all waited, they were able to have complimentary cider.  I had some, but it didn't seem to compliment me!

 

 

Everyone waiting for their dinner

 

Darren is again hard at work.  He visits tables in no particular order and sends the folks at the table to the buffet line.  While he is doing this, other workers are doling out the pies: coconut crème, strawberry rhubarb and cheesecake.

 

 

Bringing out the pies

 

So, on we went to the buffet line for Rolled Ribs (with sage stuffing), roast beef, cole slaw, potatoes and gravy, veggies and fresh baked bread.  they even had creamed horseradish which I slathered on my rolled ribs...yum!

 

Rolled ribs, the buffet line and enjoying dinner!!

 

During dinner, Darren tells everyone that the show will start at 7:30.  So, after dinner folks head back out for a break, to chat and enjoy the evening weather.

 

 

Folks letting the dinner settle and getting excited about the show

 

Once again, Garry comes out and rings the bell calling everyone into the show.  This time they sit in comfortable theatre seating for the main event.  By this time Darren has changed into his new shirt.  Bradley, Kimberley, Sharon and drummer Ian, a close friend of Darren's, all come on stage.  A couple of taps and counts from Ian and straight into the "Classic Country Spectacular" they go. Throughout the show the Walters performed songs from Jimmy Buffet, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Lynn Anderson, the Oak Ridge Boys, George Strait, Willie Nelson, the Dixie Chicks and even the Osmonds.  Intermingled with these were stories and jokes.

 

Bradley singing "Mexico", Kimberley doing "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden"

and Darren remembering the words to "Sixteen Tons"

 

 

Mother Shirley helps out on bass and backing vocals while Ian keeps the beat going strong

 

 

The Walters Family putting on a show

 

 

Bradley has a great voice and strums away on his brand new guitar

 

 

Kimberley on the keyboards and singing

 

Youngest member Darren plays 10 different instruments

 

 

Schyler (Kimberley's son) is the third generation on stage

 

After a few songs there was an intermission and then back on stage for the last set.  The audience had a great time, as can be seen below:

 

The audience enjoys the show....

 

 

...and gets an encore

 

It was a good time for all.  They are already booking shows for next year.  Their schedule is on their website and includes some country music shows, a big band performance, Tom Netherton (from Lawrence Welk), Country Gospel, Oktoberfest with accordian player Walter Ostanek and other shows.

 

As well, Bradley organizes cruises and other travel in his Bradley Walters Journeys, including an annual Walters Family Cruise Show to the Caribbean on Celebrity Cruise Lines in October.  I am excited to see Bradley again in November as he will be bringing a group to Gatlinburg, Nashville and Lexington.  Should be fun.

 

Bradley and Darren after the show

Ready to get back to work on the farm

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