Grynol returns to ‘Up With People’

Candace Grynol has returned to Denver, Col. for another year with “Up With People” after being hired as the vocal trainer for the upcoming year.
Grynol spent three short days visiting family and friends at her home in Devlin last month before “Up With People” flew her to Denver from International Falls to take on her new position.
Grynol spent an exciting year as a student with the program, having been away since last July. She described her year as awesome and very exciting, adding she loves to travel and meet new people.
Her tour with “Cast B” took her across the central U.S. to the eastern seaboard. “Boston and New York were the best,” Grynol said.
In November, she flew to Sweden with her cast and staff of 160. Then from there, she was sent ahead to Germany to prepare the way for the whole troupe that would arrive three weeks later.
“It is very interesting phoning for billets and doing community service in a country where you do not speak more than two sentences of the language,” she recalled.
“I did have a partner who could speak German but you can’t always bother them when you need to do your job so you learn fast,” she added. “I had an office beside the mayor of the city and my own car.
Grynol said if the language barrier isn’t enough to scare you, the autobahn sure is. “The speed limit is wide open and they don’t appreciate slow drivers,” she noted.
From Germany, the cast went to Denmark and then broke for Christmas, giving her a chance to tour Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and Vatican City.
“I got my wish and attended midnight mass with the pope. It was a fabulous experience,” Grynol enthused. “There were so many people that we couldn’t get close but we saw him close-up on the big screen. He looked very old and tired.
“I was tired, too. We walked for miles,” she continued. “I loved the pasta in Italy. It is nothing like here. However, I did miss my vegetables. They don’t serve many of those.”
Austria was one of Grynol’s favourite countries, getting very excited when she described Vienna and the famous composers who lived and worked there. She recounted the souvenirs she acquired of Mozart, Bach, and other great composers, as well as the operas she saw.
“It solidified all the music history I studied,” said Grynol, a teacher with a music major from Queen’s University in Kingston.
Grynol also raved about Switzerland, saying the mountains are beautiful and the ski slopes unforgettable.
“We didn’t have a lot of time there,” she lamented. “We had to get back to Germany to meet the group and finish our European tour.”
Grynol said the crowds were great wherever they performed the show, which was about making peace in the world–based on a true story of a young couple in Sarajevo who were from opposite sides of the warring city and were killed by snipers on a bridge as they tried to escape together.
“That’s the sad part but there is a carnival celebration, too,” she said. “It’s an uplifting show.”
Grynol played several parts throughout the year, including singing a French solo and performing in duets and trios in a number from “Grease” and Elvis Presley’s “Fools Rush In.” She also did a fair bit of dancing, and sang backup a lot.
“They moved us around a lot if we wanted to try different parts,” she said. “I would get pretty pretty boring doing the same thing for 110 shows.”
< *c>West coast swing
The troupe flew back to the States from Germany, and then embarked on three “Up With People” buses to tour Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. Grynol said they spent two months in the province and she loved it.
“The mountains are even prettier than Switzerland,” she said. “I think I want to live there some day.”
Grynol said they went as far north as Dawson Creek and 100 Mile House, and she even got a chance to go bungee jumping in Nanaimo. She also was doing an internship during the B.c. tour so she was very busy.
“I was learning to do the logistics part of the organization,” she explained. “We have to set up billets and roommates for the cast in each city. We block the stage in each new venue and set up the practices.
“It takes us three hours to set up in each city and two hours to strike it down,” she noted. “We get pretty good at it after a year.”
Grynol’s family was able to catch her last three shows out west–two in Abbottsford and one in Squamish. Her parents, Bob and Betty, sister, Susie, and brother, John, drove out to meet her while her oldest sister, Tina, flew there from Oakville.
“It was a great reunion,” she enthused. “They really loved to see the show, and it was fun introducing them to all my new friends in the cast.”
Grynol said the last show was really tough on the cast. “I felt really sad saying goodbye to so many nice friends but some will be joining me in Denver so that will be great.
“I’m looking forward to another exciting year,” she added. “I also get to perform in the show as vocal trainer, too. We have to be right there in case anything goes wrong.”
< *c>Back to Europe
Grynol said her tour this coming year will start out across the southern and south-eastern U.S. Then after the Christmas break, they’ll fly to Finland for five months of touring in that country, as well as in Norway, Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands.
After the spring break, during which she hopes to travel to France and the British Isles, the tour will wrap up in Portugal.
Grynol didn’t have much time to spend back in Rainy River District. She travelled by van through the Rockies to Banff and Calgary, where she spent a couple of hours with her old friend, Shawna Pruys, who works there as a physiotherapist.
Next she travelled to Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Kenora, where she visited family and friends, arriving home July 5.
“I had four days to unpack and pack, and see the rest of my family and friends in Fort Frances,” she said. “I’m good at it now so it wasn’t too bad.
“I wish I could have more sleeps in my own bed but they only gave me nine days from the final banquet to my first day of work, and we had to drive home during that time as well,” she sighed.
Grynol wasn’t sure when “Up With People” would be coming to Fort Frances again, noting they come through about every two years. She also said they change the show every two years so she has to learn a whole new set of music and teach it to the cast.
Grynol rhymed off several other “Up With People” alumni hailing from the Fort Frances area, including Lisa Brockie, Kathleen McFayden, Nancy Pollard, Roise Schiebler, and Todd Bliss.
“It’s a wonderful experience, and I hope more youth from the area take the opportunity,” she remarked. “It’s a great way to see the world.”