David Foster, Fernando Varela, Lionel Richie

David Foster, Lionel Richie and Fernando Varela: “Rehearsals Are Highly Over-Rated”

During the course of this 10-minute video, the incomparable David Foster uttered: “Rehearsals are highly over-rated”.

Well indeed they are, especially when the performers are Mr. Foster, Lionel Richie and rising star, Fernando Varela.

This video was recorded on April 30th, 2012 at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles. In this intimate environment, you sense the camaraderie and respect these three artists have for each other. I was immediately taken with the down-to-earth quality and humble nature of all three performers.

Up and coming artists should take note: this is what “paying your dues” looks like.

The duet between Lionel and Fernando performing the former singer’s “Stuck On You” number from his new CD, Tuskegee, is golden. Love hearing these two voices blend so beautifully together – without rehearsal – lest you forget.


Then, Fernando is invited by both David Foster and Lionel Richie to display his operatic wares. And does he ever! He performs his highly acclaimed version of Nessun Dorma with passion and skill that is rarely seen in this business. It is superlative.

And the joy on Fernando’s face as the other two artists bookend him with compliments is just a vision.

Fernando! Never change! Your artistry is a gift from God but your humility and work ethic are learned traits that you have obviously embraced from an early age. It’s nice to know that sometimes nice guys finish first.


About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

9 Responses to “David Foster, Lionel Richie and Fernando Varela: “Rehearsals Are Highly Over-Rated””

  1. Thank you for posting Rosanne – I promise I will always stay humble and hungry 🙂


  2. That’s why we love you Fernando! My pleasure! So well-deserved!


  3. Very Nice!! Great duet and great solo performance.


  4. I thought this was a great video for so many reasons. Lionel’s wit and vocal talent – first rate!! David Foster and his ability to bring out the best in the artists with which he collaborates. And then – Fernando – who is unquestionably one of the best finds in the music world.


  5. What a wonderful performance! I am happy for Lionel’s successful album. Too bad he was replaced with John Legend for the “Duets” show. I grew up on Motown music and love the melody & lyrics of his songs. Fernando did such a nice job!


  6. Yes, KariAnn, it is too bad he isn’t on the “Duets” series. He is so knowledgeable.

    Fernando is managed by my cousin. So, this is such an exciting time in their lives with David Foster in the picture. He has totally embraced Fernando. Great times ahead!


  7. Loved all of it but I was especially impressed with 3:50 to 3:59. No rehearsal? Wow! Great work! Been a long time fan of Lionel and now I’m very interested in Fernando’s work as well. Thanks for the post Rosanne! Fernando is definitely “on his way” as the song suggest.


  8. Madeline Alvarez May 31, 2012 at 11:23 am



  9. Taymaro and Madeline. Thank you for your comments. Fernando is a quickly rising star and proof that you don’t have to be on a reality show to make it. You just need a phenomenal manager – which he has. Someone who believed in his talent from Day One and made his dream come true.

    Lionel is such a gracious artist. He displays such confidence and insight that only comes from hard work and drive.

    David Foster is a gift to all artists who wish to excel and perform to the highest standards.


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