Coach and Lantern 384 Wilson Street East

We kicked off our second month of tour the same way we started – live karaoke! We challenged ourselves yet again by singing in front of an audience, but this time, we were backed by a live band. Another first for us. Every Wednesday, Ancaster’s British pub Coach and Lantern throws its weekly sing-a-long/karaoke night, hosted by the lovely and enthusiastic Judy Marsales. The impressive ensemble that made everyone look good included Gordon Lightfoot’s producer Bob Doidge on bass, Mike McCurlie on guitar, Vince Rinaldo on keyboards, and local tv personality Steve Ruddick on drums. Tambourines and various noise-makers were passed out beforehand, along with the overwhelmingly huge binders of songs to choose from. There were so many varied songs chosen throughout the evening that the band declared it must be “Stump the Band Night”. True professionals and accomplished musicians that they are, they didn’t miss a beat.

We pored over the songbooks as we finished up our dinner. There was a great selection of food including standard pub fare as well as some traditional British dishes, like bangers and mash. We decided to start with an appetizer by sharing some bruschetta (delish!) before ordering our main meals. Carly and I went with The Pub Club sandwich (which is just fun to say), while Jenny chose the Classic Coach Burger and Avi opted for the Spicy Thai Stir-Fry. Full from dinner, we were energized and ready to hit the stage!

Judy started the show by leading a sing-a-long to “Cabaret”. A personal favourite and a karaoke song I’ve been eyeing for a while, it gave me a chance to belt it out without the full attention of an audience. Judy is awesome; she was so welcoming and encouraging. She kept things moving and made sure everyone was having fun. You could tell many patrons there were dedicated regulars to Judy’s weekly sing-a-long night – and the place was packed!

Oh – did we mention we have official tour t-shirts now?! Well, we do! As if we don’t already make our presence known where ever we go, now you’ll really see us coming. This was our first tour stop with our new shirts. Sitting front row and being the youngest ones there, we were quickly noticed in our brightly-coloured “I ♥ Hamilton Summer Tour 2011” tees (in the carefully-selected colours of lime, mauve, sunshine, and slate). From then on we were referred to as the Hamilton Tour Girls. This was the perfect introduction for us as we went up together to perform our first song, the classic (and strategically-chosen crowd-pleaser) “Sweet Caroline”. First we were asked by McCurlie which key we would like the song to be played in. This question was met by our blank stares, and slight panic. We sang a few notes just for the band (and I’m pretty sure we were each in a different key) so they could get the general idea. Assessing our range, they began to play those famous first few Neil Diamond notes, and away we went! We prevailed, getting the audience to sing along. It was a hit.

The group number warmed us up for a couple more songs. Jenny and Avi took their turn with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and I backed up Carly with the “hey-la’s” and some tambourine as she sang “My Boyfriend’s Back”. As much as we go for the standard karaoke songs, we also like to mix it up.

If I can speak for all of us tour girls, I would say this was one of our favourite tour stops to date. It was such a fun, friendly atmosphere, and we had a blast! Wednesdays at the Coach and Lantern is highly recommended. We’ll be back, that’s for sure. From the looks of it, karaoke is definitely going to be a monthly venture on this tour.

– Kristin

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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