Stephanie Greaves takes centre stage

Stephanie Greaves takes centre stage

Victoria songstress is fueled by the music

  • Dec. 18, 2019 7:30 a.m.

– Story by Sean McIntyre Photography by Lia Crowe

Victoria songstress Stephanie Greaves won’t ever forget her first live stage appearance, and not only because she stole the show: she nearly became the subject of a missing persons investigation.

She and her parents were visiting family in England when they spontaneously popped in to watch a local talent competition in Great Yarmouth, where Stephanie soon vanished amid the crowd. By the time worry had set in for her parents, the curtain lifted to reveal their missing six-year-old daughter all alone on stage singing Raffi’s Mr. Golden Sun. Once the applause subsided and the show came to an end, the host announced that Stephanie had won the event’s grand prize: a bottle of champagne.

Because they hadn’t anticipated the competition’s under-age winner, organizers scurried to come up with a more age-appropriate prize. Stephanie walked away with a “Milk does a body good” T-shirt and a one-week, all-expenses-paid stay at a holiday resort.

Even at age six, Stephanie was living on a healthy diet of the classics. She recalls a childhood household in which music was paramount. Songs by ABBA, Willie Nelson, The Carpenters and Frank Sinatra and a dose of classical music floated within the walls of her home in Toronto. She never doubted her love of song and the power of her voice. Stage fright was not a concern; Stephanie was never shy.

“I’ve never had that problem,” she says. “Mum and Dad always sang. I was literally raised on the good old music and didn’t wait long to make an impression whenever we were entertaining or at a social event.”

Stephanie’s penchant for song has helped her see and perform all over the world. With an untiring commitment to her craft, she’s become a household name at public events and private functions across Victoria and Vancouver Island. Be it at intimate solo shows, dinner theatre at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, or singing Canada’s national anthem for international dignitaries or tens of thousands of cheering Vancouver Canucks and BC Lions fans, Stephanie displays the versatility and grace of a natural performer.

Stephanie spent 18 years as lead vocalist for The Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy. She was the only civilian among the band’s 35 musicians who travelled the world to support the Royal Canadian Navy at ceremonial events and public outreach initiatives. The band is a regular feature at Remembrance Day celebrations, the opening of British Columbia’s Provincial Legislature and during official visits from heads of state. Her years with Naden gave her the chance to work alongside greats such as the Victoria Symphony, while introducing her to the Salvation Army, an organization with which she remains very active on a fundraising level.

When a change in the band’s music director took place in 2016, it seemed like the perfect time to close the book on one chapter of her life. Faced with an unforeseen career setback, Stephanie could have been forgiven if she’d begun to worry. But she never had time to second-guess herself. Almost immediately, she discovered that she was in high demand. No longer committed to her previous band’s rigourous and unpredictable schedule, she had the freedom to set her own timetable, select her own gigs and explore new avenues for her music.

“Since that happened, I’ve never been busier,” she says.

Stephanie’s years of experience and natural command of the stage have earned her the honour of collaborating with many local musicians and hosting popular events such as the historic Oak Bay Tea Party. Her busy performance schedule and a full-time job have placed her in an enviable position of being able to say “no” when it comes to booking gigs, she says.

Stephanie has been a long-time proponent of fair wages for musicians. As is the case with so many artistic pursuits, music often places performers in a perpetual clash between following their art and coping with financial realities. Grabbing a low-paying gig for exposure and a free meal might seem harmless, but it lowers the bar, driving down the value of live music and forcing entertainers to look elsewhere to cover their expenses — and ultimately meaning they spend less time playing and practicing their craft.

Though her musical calendar is filled with private events of all sizes, Stephanie still makes time for public shows in and around Victoria. One such venue is at The Oaks Restaurant in Oak Bay, where she and her music director, pianist and great friend Darcy Phillips entertain patrons with live music on the second Friday of every month. Stephanie loves the venue’s living-room ambience. It offers an intimate venue where she can take patrons on a two-hour musical journey through song.

Anyone who has seen her perform will know that, in addition to a powerful voice of her own, Stephanie excels at impersonations. She brings well-known works to the small stage, where people can close their eyes and imagine they’re seated before some of the planet’s most famous divas and chanteuses. A standout is Stephanie’s version of the national anthem performed in a style that combines the voices of Cher, Edith Piaf, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand and Adele. Another is the title track from 2018’s A Star is Born, featuring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

“It’s all music that is relatable,” she says. “It doesn’t matter what age you are, whether you’re a six-year-old child or an 85-year-old man, these songs are relatable. That’s what fuels me; music is what fuels me.”

Stephanie Greaves and Friends performed their annual Christmas Show from December 5 to 8, 2019 at the Blue Bridge Theatre at The Roxy, where she’s looking forward to sharing the stage and doing what she does best, making music with a local tenor.

You can follow her on Twitter here.

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Arts and cultureArts and EntertainmentMusic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens is a multi-level care facility for seniors, located on Russell Place in Port Alberni. (ELENA RARDON/ Alberni Valley News)
Third case of COVID-19 confirmed at Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens

Second resident diagnosed with illness from Nov. 16 outbreak

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

A sign at the entrance to Ty-Histanis asks visitors to stay out of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation announces lockdown after member tests positive for COVID-19

Essential travel only and restricted to Tofino and Ucluelet.

Joe and Della Drinkwater pose for a formal portrait circa 1898. The Drinkwater name has been a noted one since the 1800s, and numerous landmarks and streets are named for different family members. Drinkwater Creek at the headwaters to Great Central Lake was named for Joe Drinkwater, who had a number of mining claims in the Drinkwater Valley. Joe named Della Falls—the highest waterfall in British Columbia—after his wife Della (née Fayette). The couple was married in December 1899. This photo is one of 24,000 in the Alberni Valley Museum’s online archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN01129 COURTESY AV MUSEUM)
A LOOK BACK: Joe Drinkwater carves a name for himself in the Alberni Valley

Take a peek at the history of the Alberni Valley with the AV Museum

The Harbourview Apartments on Third Avenue (popularly referred to as “The Frigstad”). ELENA RARDON PHOTO
Port Alberni city council to discuss Harbourview Apartments in-camera

Owner of the property failed to meet Nov. 12 deadline

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Vees goalkeeper Yaniv Perets stands watch while Tyler Ho takes the puck around the back of the net on Nov. 7. The BCHL press release did not name the player who tested positive.(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Vees quarantining after player tests positive for COVID-19

The team, staff and billets are isolating while they are tested

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Most Read