Michelle was born a farmer’s daughter in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada, where her desire to perform as a singer and actor first blossomed. Hers was a creative family with a musician father and artist mother. She harmonized with her Dad on his favorite country tunes and sang daily with her siblings while doing the dishes and weeding the garden! Like many musicians her first public performances were in church, and she performed in the local music and drama festivals where the awards she earned provided great encouragement.
Post high school Michelle received a full scholarship to attend Dickinson State University in the U.S. studying opera and theatre. She followed that as an award winning graduate of the Music Theatre program at Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada.
Michelle established Toronto as her home base and spent the early days of her career performing in musicals. She spent a memorable summer in Dawson City, Yukon, as a Can Can dancer and swinging the role of “Diamond Tooth Gertie“. Other favourite roles include “The Baroness” in The Sound of Music and “Woman 2 (Miss Byrd)” in Closer Than Ever.
Michelle worked as an actor in Murder Mysteries, sang and danced in Corporate Industrial Shows, performed with the Improv troupe Electric Porcupine, and did voice-overs for clients that include The Toronto Home Show and Bulova Watches. As a producer she acted as one half of Martha Blair Productions with projects that included the play Brilliant Traces at the Alumnae Theatre and the musical series Where Were You In ’72? at The Great Hall and on City TV’s Breakfast Television.
Michelle has performed the Standard Songbook and jazz repertoire in her own cabaret shows and on club gigs, most notably in her show Jazz, Torch and Ancient Pop. She has forged musical relationships with many of the wonderful jazz musicians in Toronto including guitarist Randall Johnson-Chung in the duo Twice Azz Nice and in long time collaboration with Jay Boehmer. With Jay, Michelle has performed in the Greater Toronto Area, on regular rotation at the historic Old Mill Inn, and is the vocal interpreter of his original jazz compositions. Michelle can be heard performing “Soft Shoe” on his album Autumn Afternoon as heard on CBC Radio and Jazz FM 91.
As Michelle focused on music, the opportunities to travel increased. As Bandleader and Lead Singer of 21-50 she cruised the Mediterranean and Caribbean. She traveled to Japan and Spain as a Showband Singer and performed at the famed Burj al Arab in Dubai (the only seven star hotel in the world) with Pop/R&B Band Ascension Groove. She performed as a Production Singer with Norwegian Cruise Lines starring in Encore Mr. Producer among others, and sailed the South Pacific as a Guest Entertainer for Regent Seven Seas Cruises performing several cabaret shows including a tribute to one of her favorite singers entitled Michelle Berting Sings Peggy Lee. One of the highlights of her travels was the opportunity to perform as a Featured Singer in Entertainment Extraordinaire for the Troops in Bosnia.
Michelle has worked as a Backup Singer in studio and on tour in Canada and the U.S. and it has been a very satisfying area of her work as a musician. All this travel also led to singing in many languages including French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, German, and Latin.
Over the years Michelle has taught privately in her home studio and guest taught at Ryerson Theatre School and the Music Theatre Department at Sheridan College (her alma mater). She was on the faculty as Singing and Acting Instructor in the Dance Program at George Brown College in Toronto for 5 years and also adjudicates at the Canadian National Exhibition’s Rising Star Competition each August in Toronto whenever her schedule allows.
In recent years Michelle lent her vocals to the Partland Brothers project with music legend Ronnie Hawkins and performed with R&B singer Selena Evangeline during Canadian Music Week. Michelle was invited to participate in the International Cabaret Conference at Yale in 2010 and reprised her role as “Woman 2″ in Jay Boehmer’s Broadway Goes Jazz in 2011. Michelle was in the original cast of the highly acclaimed, The Man in Black starring Shawn Barker, touring the U.S. and Canada from 2006 until early 2013 singing “June Carter”.
Since settling in Connecticut, Michelle has appeared locally with The Heartbeat Jazz Band, the Galvanized Jazz Band, and with acclaimed pianist, arranger, and musical director Donn Trenner. In the fall of 2015 Michelle opened for comic legend Bob Newhart with a 10-piece Big Band for an audience of 5,000 at Casino Rama. Other recent performances include singing background vocals for Ronnie Spector (lead singer of “The Ronettes”), and guesting with Matt “Guitar” Murphy (“Blues Brothers”) opening for Little Richard at B.B. King Blues Club in NYC.
Michelle currently stars in We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered, (originally produced in Canada in 2009 as “Close to You: The Songs of the Carpenters”) and Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters’ Christmas both National touring shows playing coast-to-coast in Performing Arts Centers and Casino Show Rooms including SOLD OUT appearances in Las Vegas and Downey, California, hometown of the Carpenters. In 2015 an album of songs from the show was released entitled, “We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered”. Recorded in Nashville, it is available at shows and online at CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon. On April 25, 2019, We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered will be the centerpiece of the Carpenters 50th Convention celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Carpenters first album. For more info: Carpenters50th.com and for tickets to the concert visit: DowneyTheatre.org