Island pair sing with Shania in Vegas

The Manitoulin Expositor
By Michael Erskine
November 5, 2014

M’CHIGEENG—Two M’Chigeeng women received what would be the thrill of a lifetime for any Shania Twain fan when they were invited onstage by the Canadian country superstar to sing a round of ‘campfire’ songs during the women’s recent visit to Las Vegas.

Debbie Debassige was in Detroit when The Expositor caught up with her by phone as she was accompanying Lady Wolves hockey players to a Two Nations tryout session.

“It was unbelievable,” said Ms. Debassige, who had brought her mother on the vacation trip as well. “We are big fans.”

The group of women from M’Chigeeng, who included both Ms. Debassige and Beverly Roy- Carter and their friend Sandra Taibossigai, were sitting “in the fifth or seventh row, it is all still a bit of a blur” when Shania Twain’s husband wandered among the audience picking out members to join the sing-along onstage. Ms. Debassige credits Ms. Taibossigai for playing a key role in their being selected. “Sandra had bought us all top hats (a Shania Twain fan merchandise item being sold at the concert) and we were all wearing them,” said Ms. Debassige. “When Shania went by us on the stage, she made eye contact with both Bev and me. At that point I just knew we were going to be called.” Ms. Debassige had been teasing her companions that she should have messaged Ms. Twain to let her know they were in town.

After the first five people selected by Ms. Twain’s husband got onstage, the country star indicated that there should be a few more. “She went down the left side of the stage and said ‘you two right there’ so we went on stage. The whole experience was totally unbelievable.”

Ms. Twain asked the women where they were from. “I said Manitoulin and she said that she knew where Manitoulin is because her dad did work here once,” said Ms. Debassige.

Although they knew the words to the three songs they sang with Shania Twain, neither woman could recall with certainty what exactly those songs were. “We were totally blown away,” laughed Ms. Roy-Carter. “It was definitely the highlight of my month.” When it was commented that she leads quite an exciting life, Ms. Roy-Carter corrected, “well, maybe the year.”

“We were so excited we couldn’t speak,” said Ms. Roy-Carter. “That rarely happens between Debbie and I.”

“Shania was one of the main reasons we were going to Las Vegas,” said Ms. Roy-Carter. “The guys were more excited about seeing the Eagles the next day, but for us gals it was definitely Shania.”

“I wasn’t even sure who the Eagles were,” laughed Ms. Debassige, who admitted to enjoying that show nonetheless. But nothing could top sitting around the campfire on a Vegas stage with her idol.

“They had an imitation fire and imitation rocks,” said Ms. Debassige. “It was done really well.”

This trip was not the first time that the duo had travelled to see Shania Twain in concert, but it will definitely be the one they will remember best.

“I don’t know how you could top this,” said Ms. Debassige.