One is a Greek guitarist with a Mediterranean sound who gives out a guitar at every show.
Another is known in the hard rock world as the lead singer, guitarist and chief songwriter for the classic Canadian band Triumph.
The third is a high-energy Latin guitar player known for his unpredictable performances.
Together, they are known as PRO, a collective that has produced a Juno-nominated album. The trio will perform its final show on April 5 at the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre.
It’s a show guaranteed to be as eclectic as the act itself, says Rik Emmett, Triumph veteran and adjunct professor at Humber College. PRO is Emmett, Greek artist Pavlo and Chilean acoustic player Oscar Lopez.
“It’s pretty entertaining,” Emmett says. “There are a lot of fairly goofy slapstick things going on. It’s a nice night out, and I think everyone has a really good time.”
Toronto-based Pavlo formed PRO two years ago. He admired the collaboration of guitarists John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola and Paco de Lucia and wanted to form a similar group. He, Lopez and Emmett met at his mother’s house in the Don Mills area, where his mom brought out “a feast for a thousand,” Pavlo recalls.
“We ate. We drank. We tested it to see if we gelled together,” he says. “After 10 minutes of play, it was obvious that we had a really great synergy.”
PRO recorded Trifecta and embarked on a 65-city tour. As far as Pavlo knows, the Centre for the Arts show will be the last ever. It will be a “very sad night,” he says.
“I love these men dearly. They’re a generation ahead of me, so I grew up listening to them as a fan. The year and a half we toured together, I probably improved as a guitar player tenfold. They brought an incredible wealth and experience and I was like a sponge.”
They all have their trademarks. Pavlo has his own line of guitars and gives away one per show, either to a fan offstage or an audience member during the show, usually through a ballot. “I’ve never had to change strings in all my years,” he says. “I just change my guitar.”
Lopez is “a wild card,” says Pavlo, who also owns a winery in Kingsville, Ont. “You never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. Rik is the professor, and I’m just happy to be there.”
Emmett has taught songwriting and the music business at Humber since 1999. But his resume goes back much farther. Emmett formed Triumph in 1975, a band that released 10 studio albums and four live albums throughout. Its singles include “Follow Your Heart,” “Hold On” and “Lay It On the Line.” Outside of Triumph, Emmett has released 17 live and studio albums.
Having spent years in Triumph, Emmett says he always welcomes the chance to show off his versatility.
“People have this kind of knowledge of me,” he says. “Some say ‘Weren’t you the guy in the ‘80s who jumped around in spandex pants?’ After decades in music, I’ve been a lot of things to a lot of people.”
When it comes to his collaborators, Emmett says Pavlo is “very pragmatic. Very pull-up-by-the-boostraps. I really get along with that type of person.
Lopez is “an undisciplined kind of character” who is full of passion, says Emmett, who recently recorded the album Recovery Room 9.
Tickets are $49. Order them through the Centre for the Arts.