It gives a new meaning to the phrase ‘born to be on stage’ — a Regina singer and mother of two carried her five-day-old baby on stage for one special solo in a concert this week.
Jamie Shaheen has grown up performing in the Queen City, first as a dancer at the age of four and then as a singer, starting when she was eight. Now married with children, she is a member of the Regina Lyric Singers and had been rehearsing for the fall concert for months when her second son was born less than a week before opening night.
After initially thinking she would be out of the show, Shaheen and long-time choir director Jane Ursan came up with a plan to allow her to sing one number early in the program, then leave.
“It was just a way for me to be part of the show. And then she said ‘Oh, I have an even crazier idea.’ I said ‘Oh, what’s that?’” Shaheen explained. “She said, ‘Well, depending on how Gabe is doing, you could maybe bring him on stage with you.’”
Naturally, Shaheen had her doubts the plan would work with an unpredictable newborn baby, but with her supportive husband, Luke, there to step in backstage, they were lucky. Gabe made his stage debut cuddled up and sleeping to the sound of his mother’s voice — even during a big round of applause from the audience and her fellow choir members.
“Singing last night on stage with Gabe it was such a nice experience, he was so calm and I don’t know if that was just because he was tired – but I did practice a lot when he was in the womb so maybe that has something to do with it,” Shaheen told 980 CJME on Friday.
The concert titled ‘The Greatest Show: 21st Century Showstoppers from the Stage and Screen’ features songs from top Broadway and movie musicals. Shaheen’s particular part in the showcase was a solo from the musical Hamilton entitled ‘That Would Be Enough.’ It’s about a pregnant woman singing to her husband, who’s a soldier in the American Revolution. It goes on about her hopes for their future and their unborn child. She sings about how she doesn’t need a life of luxury, she just wants them all to be safe and happy together as a family.
The lyrics about hope and gratitude “that would be enough” are particularly poignant and fitting for Shaheen, who said they match exactly how she feels right now.
“When I got offstage, I felt elated that I got to do that with my child and sing about that,” she said. “Right now, I’m just feeling so grateful for my family – for my very supportive husband and my adorable two-year-old and just the life that I have right now. I’m so utterly grateful and I feel like I don’t need anything else.”
Shaheen has always shared a love of music with her family — in fact, her dad was in the band playing base guitar for the concert and her mom has been a member of the same choir for several seasons. She knows she will support her two boys in whatever their interests may be, but she can’t help thinking perhaps one or both of them might share her love of music as her toddler Kent already enjoys practicing music with his mom.
The story of baby Gabe’s stage debut will definitely go down as a special moment in family history.
“Especially since he was less than a week old, I think that will definitely be something to keep in the memory box.”
Shaheen is hoping she and her baby can repeat the performance for two remaining concerts with Regina Lyric Singers at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.