Nfld. & Labrador

Rod Stewart backed up by St. John's musician named for Maggie May

Seven local musicians joined Rod Stewart on stage in St. John's on Monday, with one of them having a name inspired by one of the rock icon's biggest hits.

Violinist's name was inspired by classic Stewart song

Maggie (May) Burton backs Rod Stewart in St. John's

8 years ago
Duration 1:53
Maggie Burton was part of a string ensemble that backed Rod Stewart at the Confederation Hill Music Festival on Saturday

The reviews from this past weekend's Confederation Hill Music Festival in St. John's were mostly positive, but it was especially noteworthy for seven musicians from this province who joined rock legend Rod Stewart on stage for three songs.

The call went out a month ago for musicians able to play stringed instruments to provide some backup for Stewart, who played before an estimated 15,000 fans on Saturday night.

The seven musicians from Newfoundland and Labrador who accompanied Rod Stewart on stage for three songs during a performance in St. John's Saturday night include the following: Front (l-r) - Maggie Burton, Laura Ivany, Heather Kao; back - Chantelle Jubenville, Valerie Hewson, Brittany Pike and Julia Bowdring. (Chantelle Jubenville)

One of those tapped to share the stage with Stewart was Maggie Burton, whose first name was inspired by one of Stewart's biggest hits, Maggie May.

"My mom is a huge Rod Stewart fan, so my mom and dad (felt) that it was a great name. My grandmother's name is Margaret but Maggie is my official name and it's because of Maggie May," said Burton, who is a mother and music teacher.

Burton said there was only one rehearsal before the big gig.

"We just kind of looked at the music for a while but it was just for three songs, so it was OK and we got Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? in advance to memorize so we can dance and play at the same time," she noted. 

Despite the chilly weather, Burton said sharing a stage with Stewart was a great experience. 

"There was a moment when we walked up on the stage, and we noticed how many people were on the field. It felt like I was on the top of a roller-coaster and I was gonna throw up," she said. 

"So that's the feeling that I'm thinking about today."

The string ensemble was assembled by Heather Kao, who is concertmaster with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.

Rod Stewart performs Tonight's the Night at the Confederation Hill Music Festival in St. John's Saturday night. (CBC)

With files from Jeremy Eaton