Biography

Al Simmons

A multiple Juno-award winner as well as Cable Ace and Parents’ Choice award recipient, Al Simmons is a veteran of one-man, multi-prop and costume, music-filled, fun and educational –but still off-the-wall — family performances! Audiences world-wide have collectively giggled, guffawed and grinned at Al’s inventive and original approach to the all but lost art of combining comedy with song, dance, magic, sight gags and, always, plenty of wonderfully bad puns. Al is alternately childlike and sophisticated as his humorous shows touch responsive chords in all ages.

Al’s debut CD, “Something’s Fishy at Camp Wiganishie,” earned a Juno nomination for Best Children’s Album. His follow up recording was a brilliant ode to vaudeville, “Celery Stalks at Midnight” named Best Children’s Album at the 1995 Juno Awards and the CD also won a coveted US Parents’ Choice Award. Al received his Cable Ace Award nomination for his music video, “Counting Feathers/I Collect Rocks,” a song that later was developed into an illustrated children’s book.

Al’s Juno-nominated third album, “The Truck I Bought From Moe,” also won a Parents’ Choice Award and featured songs about a Gypsy Sock, a Lonely Moose, A Drip-Drip-Dripping Tap, and The Dog with the Longest Name in the World. He continues to bring his shows to fans both young and young-at- heart in schools, libraries, performing arts centers, major festivals and discovery museums around the world.

EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCES

NEW SHOW!  “Figaro’s Close Shave” or “The Barber of Seville” …as styled by Al Simmons! Roll over Rossini! Canadian musical comedian, Al Simmons has translated and condensed this famous opera to a 45-minute hilarious look at love, greed, deceit and, of course, very close shaves! As only Al can, he tells the story in slightly operatic song, with lots of the real score, crazy gadgets, mime, physical gags, prose… and wigs! Rosina is in love with the Count who is pretending to be someone else; Figaro, the jack-of-all-trades town barber, is having a really bad hair day, and Al plays all the parts! Introduce your family and K-12 children’s audiences to opera! Yes, really!

“Sounds Crazy: The Science of Music”
A musical exploration of… junk! Al Simmons demonstrates, with hilarious results, how the various instruments of a real symphony orchestra make music in his renowned school show, Sounds Crazy.

The principles of sound waves, vibrations, resonance and pitch are clearly explained as Al plays his bizarre, handmade versions of orchestral strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion- all fashioned from regular old bits and pieces of the very stuff we all stash in our garages and attics or send off to the trash every week! In typical Al-style, he manages to coax music out of recycled tin cans, soda straws, old garden hoses, used plastic drink bottles, rulers, coat hangers and even a turkey baster.

Throughout the show, Al explains, by way of hilarious example, the science behind the “music” and how his crude instruments are really quite similar to their more expensive counterparts in an orchestra. He talks about the trials and tribulations of being an inventor. What do you do when your invention fails? Don’t give up! Each failure is a step towards success. Al tells his audiences that some of his inventions were really accidental or serendipitous, while others were painstakingly planned out on paper, created as a prototype and then methodically constructed. With Al’s patience and deliberately good but goofy humor, no one in the audience can keep from laughing while learning as Al teaches the importance and fun of recycling and re-using in our world… and that anyone can make music out of found items – especially stuff that might otherwise be headed for the landfill. While homemade instruments may not have the most sophisticated of sounds, they still work the same way as the real ones and easily demonstrate how sound is turned into music.

HOLIDAY SHOW!  “Festive Frivolity With Al Simmons, Entertainer-Extraordinaire!”
‘Tis the season to be silly and Al Simmons has more tricks up his sleeve than Santa has toys. He’s “spruced up” (see the photo above) and ready to take us on a sleigh ride to a timeless place where seasonally silly shenanigans and musical mayhem reign supreme.  The family-oriented concert features Al’s interpretation of such classics as The Night Before Christmas, The Hawaiian Christmas Song, Deck The Halls, It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, the original Latin version of Jingle Bells, Batman Smells and the “newly discovered” Johnny Cash Rudolph Variations.  Al has gift wrapped a few of his own songs to suit the occasion: A Tuba For Christmas, Lonely Moose Lament and Gypsy Sock: This show has been specifically concocted to elicit those familiar holiday feelings of warmth, nostalgia, a little nuttiness and, definitely, wide-eyed amazement.

IN THE PRESENTERS’ WORDS

“Incredible, Al Simmons just taught the entire music and sound science curriculum in an hour and the students just soaked it all up.” ~ Gerzinus Hoekstra, Ontario Arts Education

“Part music, part science, very entertaining.” ~ J. M. Young School, Eden Manitoba

“Wonderful performance…we had a blast!” ~ Timber Trace Elementary, W. Palm Beach, FL

“Delightful and awe-inspiring! Boy, would I love to be that kind of teacher.” ~ Lynn Eldridge, Fulton Place Elementary, Edmonton

QUOTES ON AL’S WORK

“A masterpiece. Simmons’ delivery is dead-on.”
~Los Angeles Times

“For those in search of the truly zany, the undisputed king is Al Simmons… A popular, wildly original performer…”
~Maclean’s Magazine

“A lightning bolt of wonderful lunacy…”
~Toronto Star

“His act, at once frenetic and engagingly simple, is a tour-de-force of ingenious, charming silliness.”
~Globe and Mail, Toronto