Pablo’s Farewell Concert
The Thursday Outlook – June 22 to 25
The Party Starts With The Strummers’ Union
Immerse Yourself in Jenn Grant’s Dreams at Meaford Hall
Sunday Afternoon Songwriters at The Garafraxa Cafe
The Thursday Outlook – June 15 to 18, 2017
Parkdale Funk To Fill Heartwood Hall This Weekend
Time Travel at The Marsh Street Centre
Massie Hall Brings Christina Martin Fresh From Her European Tour

Pablo’s Farewell Concert

On Tuesday, June 27th, Pablo Pardavilla will be performing a special solo concert at Meaford’s GBCS in the Music Room beginning at 6 p.m..  The event is open to the public and there is no cover charge.

Pablo is one of many international  exchange students that have come to Meaford this year.  He arrived just before the school year started and will be leaving the day after it end, and he has made quite an impression.  Not long after his arrival, when his English was still a little tenuous, he took on a speaking part in Meaford Community Theatre’s annual Remembrance Day show at Meaford Hall.  He helped sell candied apples at the Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival.

Pablo is a high achiever.  His school grades have consistently been in the high 90’s. His photos of the GBCS fashion show were published in The Meaford Independent.  He entered a snowman making contest sponsored by the student exchange program and won first prize (a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey with his name on the back).  He entered a poetry contest in his native Galicia, Spain and won first prize (for the fourth year in a row).

He has pursued his musical interests while in Meaford.  Classically trained in the saxophone since the age of seven, he participated in both junior and senior orchestras at the high school, as well as the jazz band, and competed in the Battle of The Bands.  At Christmas time, he did a performance of “All I Want For Christmas” at the Leeky Canoe’s open stage (the video of which has been viewed more than a thousand times on You Tube).  At the final concert of the year, music teacher Patrick Delaney, expressed his delight in having him as a student.

“A lot of exchange students come in and they have a shy persona about them,” he said, “not Pablo!  He took the music room and the music program by storm.  You should hear him practise because he’s never satisfied.  Every note must be perfect.  Even if it’s a whole note that has to be held for sixteen beats he wants that note to be the best whole note he’s ever played.  This semester I’ve had the honour of working with him in two classes and it’s been a spiritual enlightenment for me to hear him play every day.”

Mr. Delaney introduced Pablo to play a featured solo at the concert, a modern composition by Ryo Noda that would be a challenge for a sax player at any level.  To illustrate it’s difficulty, the sheet music was projected on the screen in the auditorium.

“This is the most radical sheet music I’ve ever seen,” said Mr. Delaney, “This is not your do-re-mi, ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’.  This is filled with trills, embouchure, technique that he has to do throughout the piece.  I sat in stunned fascination as this person played this piece for me a few months ago.”

At his concert on Tuesday, Pablo will perform this piece along with some familiar jazz and classical pieces.  This is Pablo’s farewell gift to Meaford, just a few days before he returns home to Spain, although he has vowed that he will save every euro to be able to return for a visit next summer.

Mr. Delaney summed up the feelings of the GBSS students and the community when he said, “We have thoroughly enjoyed having this charming young man at our school.  We know his flight leaves at the end of June and we will miss him dearly.”

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The Thursday Outlook – June 22 to 25

It’s a good weekend for Meaford fans of the harmonica, or to be more exact, blues harp.  On Friday night Al Lerman, founding member of Fathead, will be at The Red Door Pub and Grille from 7 to 10. With a 45 year history as a bluesman, playing harmonica, sax and guitar, and a shelf full of Junos and Maple Blues Awards, he’s the real deal.  He’s been around long enough to have sat in with the likes of Muddy Waters, Sunnyland Slim, and Willie Dixon.  Just as any true blues fan wants to hear those same songs over and over, you’ll want to hear him again and again, so head over to The Harbour Street Fish Bar in Collingwood to catch him tonight and then come hear him again tomorrow in the more intimate setting of The Red Door.

And if you were at The Harbour Street Fish Bar last night you were able to hear another blues harp great, Jerome Godboo, performing with Tamica Herod.  If you missed them or you just can’t get enough, make a point of being at The Leeky Canoe on Saturday, where they’ll be accompanied by guitarist Dylan Burchell.

Speaking of performers worth hearing again and again, one of them is Johnny Cash.  Although he’s gone his legend lives on in the form of tribute shows and one of the most highly regarded is presented by Jim Yorfido, who has a show called Johnny Cash: From Memphis to Folsom tonight at Meaford Hall.  June Carter will be represented by Jim’s wife Pam Yorfido, who is also renowned for her tributes to Tammy Wynette.  With the two of them and Marie Bottrell, it’ll be kind of an all-star event reproducing the talents of Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton as well.

With summer underway, it’s time for outdoor festivals.  Collingwood has a full lineup of local artists at the Port Music Festival happening Saturday and Sunday at the Shipyards AmphitheatreBambalamb will be heading up an kid-friendly festival of percussion at St. George’s Parish Hall in Owen Sound on Saturday afternoon.  And there’s the big ticket festival on Friday and Saturday at Kelso Beach called Summertime Blues 2017 with blues greats like Buddy Guy, Colin James, Matt Anderson and The Trevor Mackenzie Band, along with rockers The Sheepdogs and Teenage Head, with Bahamas thrown in for good measure.

 

One of the best bargains for fans of original songwriters is a program that showcases a triple bill.  Greg Smith has put together a special showcase featuring young talents Taylor Holden, From Forest and Field, Page Ballagh for a mere $10 tonight at The Bleeding Carrot in Owen Sound and on Sunday afternoon a PWYC showcase at The Garafraxa Café in Durham brings Bill Monahan, Dave Hawkins and John Brownlow back together for a triple bill of upbeat originals.

Jazz fans will perk up to hear that John MacMurchy Trio will be performing  with jazz vocalist Jocelyn Barth Friday night at the L.E. Shore Library in Thornbury.

And for something completely different, in a category all its own, Franny Wisp will be joined by Dave Loopstra and Bambalamb Kidd, along with a very special guest by the name of Glacial Erratic, will be bringing tuneful comedy to The Shelagh Fox Gallery in Thornbury on Saturday evening.

And that’s not all.  Peruse the listings at the right and you’re sure to find something to suit your taste and budget in this best of all areas to spend your first weekend of the summer

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The Party Starts With The Strummers’ Union

When Tomi Swick and The Strummers’ Union kick off this year’s Summer Concert Series in Meaford they intend to bring a party.  The Strummers’ Union is a group of musical friends from the Hamilton area that have been playing together for the past couple of decades off and on.  They vary according to who is available at the time but they are built around the core of Tomi Swick and Joel Guenther.

Tomi makes a point of noting that The Strummers’ Union and Tomi Swick the solo artist are two different entities.  Tomi  Swick is a JUNO winning singer-songwriter who has his own records out and has toured, written and worked with some of the biggest names in the music business.  Although he may be doing one or two of his own songs on July 5th in Meaford, most of what the Strummers Union will be doing is upbeat covers.  “We’re more of a party band,” he says.

Nevertheless, Tomi Swick is an impressive artist in his own right, with an interesting story to tell.

In 2007 he was on the threshold of a very bright future, with a Warner Music contract and a couple of hit singles under his belt.  Overnight he found himself stalled out in the doorway.  Which, in a cruel irony, happened to be the name of his hit record, the album that won him Best New Artist award at that year’s Junos Awards.

Some people have said that winning a Juno in that particular category can be a curse rather than a blessing.  Martin Melhuish, one of Canada’s leading music writers, in a 2008 interview with the Vancouver Sun, outlined his theory that it is often because the winner of that category represents a musical fad that didn’t last.  He cites Claudja Barry and France Joli, who won for disco hits, Leahy who rode in on a (temporary) wave of enthusiasm for Celtic music, and Johnny Favourite who benefited from an all too brief return of swing music.  Those artists can’t be blamed for changing styles, although maybe they were necessarily restricted by their choice of genre.  But the door that slammed on Tomi Swick was much more devastating, and frighteningly sudden.

He woke up the morning after the Junos to find that he had strep throat and pneumonia.   He was on his way to LA to do a series of showcases, designed to make the most of his Juno win, but despite the attention of some high end medical practitioners, he just couldn’t sing.  It kept getting worse and within six months he could no longer sing at all.  Added to that was the personal tragedy of losing both his parents to cancer.  He had surgery to remove polyps and a cyst on his vocal chords and it was almost four years before he was able to sing again.

The momentum was lost.  To make things worse, his second album for Warner released in 2012 wasn’t what either he or the label wanted it to be, in spite of some strong songs.  He ended his relationship with the label within a month of that record’s release.

A lot of soul searching followed, as he played bar gigs and tried to figure out what to do with his life.  He realized the Warner adventure was not a good fit.  The label saw him as an emerging pop star while he leaned toward something more authentic, more soulful.  His idea of the ultimate record is one recorded live off the floor, completely analog, pressed to vinyl.  That’s where his true heart lies.

It’s going to be a great start to the series.  Opening  for The Strummers’ Union will be Meaford’s country star, Scott Almond and Cry For Ophelia’s lead singer, Eden Young in a solo turn.

One night when he was playing to an empty bar, an old acquaintance from Hamilton happened to drop in and expressed surprise to find him there, playing songs that sounded pretty different from the stuff he’d been doing with a major label.  That friend, Dave King, was working on his own album and invited Tomi to help out, particularly to lend his writing talents.

Immerse Yourself in Jenn Grant’s Dreams at Meaford Hall

Jenn Grant stops at Meaford Hall this Wednesday, June 21, as part of her cross-country tour to promote her latest album “Paradise”.  This new album is a sonic departure from her previous album, “Compostela”, which garnered JUNO nominations for her songwriting and Contemporary Album of the Year.  That album enjoyed international success which kept her on the road for three years.  When she returned home to Lake Echo, Nova Scotia, she began, with her songwriting collaborator and producer (and husband) Daniel Ledwell, to explore new soundscapes.  The result is a record of ethereal beauty which entrances the listener with sound while engaging you with lyrics that tug you in different directions.  Listening to it you can understand the comment from Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald that it is the “work of a painter born in paradise”.  Co-incidentally, she is a painter, often designing her own album covers.

As she told Exclaim’s Brock Thiessen, “The delivery of songs has become crucial to me. For some of these new songs, I decided to approach singing more like a whisper, to get a feel for it’s softness.”  The result is sometimes reminiscent of Jane Siberry, and it has the effect, after a few tracks of putting the listener into a pleasant quasi-dream state.  CBC has called it “intimate and otherworldly”.  She told the CBC she was inspired to write many of the songs on Paradise after waking up from lifelike dreams.

“I take a lot of inspiration from my dreams,” she says. “So a lot of songs from this record came from when I was asleep. I have so many vivid dreams that I feel like they’re half of my life.”

The first single is a track called Galaxies, of which she said, “I pictured a group of people. They may be the last remaining humans on Earth, and they are looking to the stars for answers. They are trying to find a home, because maybe Earth is not their home anymore. They’re together with their arms outstretched to the sky and they’re being called home to somewhere.”

“I feel like the more attention you give your dreams the more elaborate they become,” she told Tom Power,  “Then they become lucid dreams and incredibly vivid or kind of maybe psychic dreams. They’re like visits from people, so I think that’s tapping into another layer of creativity for me that I want to access.”

Meaford Hall provides the ultimate setting for the audience to relax into this dream world and absorb the conscious and unconscious messages that inhabit it.

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Sunday Afternoon Songwriters at The Garafraxa Cafe

If you missed their show at the Red Door Grille and Pub in May, you have another chance to see three local songwriters perform next Sunday afternoon, June 25th, at The Garafraxa Café in Durham.  Bill Monahan, Dave Hawkins and John Brownlow make up a show in which each does a 40-minute set of his original songs.  They have different styles, but each writes songs that contain interesting stories couched in catch melodies.  Their last show was praised by poet Robert Menzies as “impressive, highly entertaining and well crafted songs”.

John Brownlow is a busy screenwriter who also makes videos of local artists and writes constantly, recording in his home studio, playing most of the parts himself.  He has a real pop sensibility, with evident influence of the 80’s Brit-pop that nurtured his musical development.  Clever wordplay and melodic hooks combine to create something unique and entertaining.

Dave Hawkins writes from the heart, songs that mean something to him in his personal journey of discovery and transfer that meaning to the audience.  His background in jazz and country creates a melodic sense that is alluring while his lyrics combine wit with a humanistic outlook.

Bill Monahan writes love songs and fun ramblings in a style that hovers somewhere in the area of country and folk.  His songs draw you in from the first line and lead you through stories and emotions.

All three performers are relaxed on stage having spent many years performing both solo and with bands.

The Garafraxa Café is the kind of venue that you rarely find, an ideal place to enjoy this kind of music on a Sunday afternoon.  Located in the little town of Durham near the corner of Highways 4 and 6, it is a “small town treasure” with a reputation for great coffee and pastries.

Valerie Shane wrote a review last January that captures the essence of this unique place:

“We drove 52 km from Thornbury to catch the live Saturday night music at the GC. We didn’t expect to find such a unique venue with an adorable little stage and great acoustics. It was terrific to relax with a glass of wine and chill with the owners and other patrons as if we were regulars. Everyone was so friendly and by the end of the evening, it felt like we just been to a private concert. So even if it’s not close, take the drive, it’s worth every kilometer.”

If you have never been there, this show gives you a good reason to check it out.

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Ben Kunder and Sarah Macdougall at Desboro Music Hall

Once again, this Saturday night, The Desboro Music Hall is bringing a pair of musicians with international reputations to entertain local fans.  Again, as with the first two concerts in this year’s series, it is a man and a woman, except that this time they are not a couple.  In fact Ben Kunder and Sarah MacDougall are songwriters who have separate careers and their collaboration is enhanced by their individual creativity.

They originally met at The Cameron House in Toronto, when Sarah came to Ben’s gig because he was being accompanied by the bass player they shared, Anna Ruddick of Ladies of The Canyon.  Each of them was an established solo performer but interested in collaborating with someone, particularly in songwriting.  With Ben living in Toronto and Sarah in Whitehorse they wrote their first song by email.

“We realized we had many, many things in common,” says Ben, while Sarah has commented, “He’s like a long lost brother.”  Their collaboration led to touring together in Europe and the U.K earlier this year.  It was a great success, particularly satisfying for Ben who found that he was well known, enjoying “a great response from the people” and “a few sold out shows.”  He echoed many Canadian artists who have found success in Europe, noting that there is “a strong support for the arts there.”  This was his first tour of Europe, “but it won’t be my last.  I’ll be going back when I finish this new record.”

His first record, “Golden” was very well received, with Exclaim! saying , “Kunder’s extra special voice, along with gorgeous production, lends the record an almost velvety quality,”and NewCanadianMusic said the album: “features strong and warm vocals, nicely-crafted folk-rock songs, and top-notch production and playing.”

Sarah MacDougall, originally from Sweden, now living in Canada, was praised by the Swedish magazine Nöjesguiden as “One of Sweden’s best singer/songwriters”.  Her record, “Grand Canyon”, was called by CBC “as vast and as varied as its namesake” while Greyowlpoint said, “Grand Canyon is a refreshing addition to Canada’s singer-songwriter genre, but it’s also so much more. The album is filled with Sarah MacDougall doing what she does best: taking indie-pop expectations and shooting them full of fresh turns and honest lyrics.”

Together the two artists collaborated on a song called “Better Days”.  In concert they share the stage, “kind of like a song circle”, taking turns with their individual songs and singing together on some.

The Desboro Music Hall, a converted church, is developing a reputation among performers that has artists coming to them.  Ben was directed to them by Suzie Ungerleider, who performs as Oh Suzanna, and played the venue last year.

“Suzie is a good friend of mine,” he says, “She said I should play there.  Then I discovered that Josie [Phil’s wife] and I actually went to the same college together.  So it’s a double connection.”

In addition to a great booking policy guided by the love of original music, the Klages brothers at The Desboro Hall always give great value, adding an opening act.  This time around it is celebrated multi-instrumentalist Rob Elder, a highly respected local musician who opened last year’s series.

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The Thursday Outlook – June 15 to 18, 2017

It’s always special when Victoria Yeh joins Chris Scerri at the Thursday Night Leeky Open Stage as she will tonight.  She is usually willing to play along with anyone who asks and she is so talented and adaptable she adds a sheen to anything she accompanies, no matter what the style.  The Leeky open mic starts at 9 now instead of 8 pm.

Don’t forget the other open stages that happen throughout our area every week.  There are so many talented musicians locally an open stage is always a good bet.  It makes for a great night out during the week, and there’s never a cover.  Also on Thursday, Dave Russell regularly rocks out at the Corner Café open stage in Thornbury.  Sunday afternoons at The Barn Coop are always inspiring, and on Tuesday nights Brianna McGowan hosts at Molly Blooms in The Village at Blue.  Wednesday’s at Bruce Wine Bar is always crowded with Drew McIvor hosting an open mic.

Then there’s the granddaddy of all open mics every Wednesday at Ted’s Range Road Diner, the place where our area’s most impressive musicians learned their chops over the many years it’s been happening.  Last night was a particularly auspicious night because Tara Mackenzie, indisputably the best vocalist for miles around (many miles, including the GTA) was able to perform again after being sidelined for many months by a concussion.  This is good news for fans of the Mackenzie Blues Band, which may soon see them back in full force, with the combination of killer guitar from Trevor Mackenzie and those incredible vocals from the Tara.

Other legendary local favourites, Tinman and The Flying Monkeys, will be at The Leeky on Saturday night.

Saturday night also brings some impressive artists, fresh from European tours, to some out-of-the-way venues in the area.  Christina Martin will be at Massie Hall on Saturday night, with a special appearance from Matt Epp.  And in Desboro, Ben Kunder and Sarah MacDougall join forces at the Desboro Music Hall.  They toured Ireland, Italy, UK, the Netherlands last fall and now they are in our area.

Friday night the place to be is Heartwood Hall to dance to K.C. Roberts and the Live Revolution, an 8-piece funk band that has excited fans and critics for years, being  compared to  Earth, Wind and Fire, Sly and The Family Stone, Tower of Power, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Review the listings on the right side of this page to find a long list of favourites who play often in our area so you can go check them out for the first time or revisit what you know will be a great performance.

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Parkdale Funk To Fill Heartwood Hall This Weekend

This Saturday, K.C Roberts and The Live Revolution are bringing “Parkdale Funk” to the Heartwood Concert Hall.  The Parkdale neighbourhood in Toronto has a reputation as a breeding ground for lively and varied musical talent, and some of them have been bringing that special energy here to Southern Georgian Bay.  Last week at Heartwood it was Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party, this week it’s the 8-piece funk band Live Revolution, winners of the 2007 Toronto Independent Music Award for the best live act.  Heartwood Hall is the ideal venue for a band like this; no other room in the area can accommodate the kind of energy this band delivers.  Exclaim! Magazine raves that Parkdale Funk 1 is filled with “wickedly contagious grooves…truly smoking J.B.’s- and Tower of Power-inspired horn charts, sick guitar soloing and colourful keyboard touches.”

In 2011 the band turned to crowdfunding to finance a double album called Parkdale Funk 2: Sides, and their fan base was so strong that they raised over $26,000, more than three times the budget of their two previous releases combined.  It allowed them to bring in over forty friends to help out on the album, a testament to the vibrancy of the Parkdale music scene.  As Roberts told Michael Warren at Exclaim! at the time, “We’re eight people, and then all of the sudden there are all these people in the room for different things. It doesn’t feel like a band that’s just hiring strangers, it feels like people we know, our friends. I think the craziest biggest parts were the strings. I’ve never had strings on anything I’ve ever done, and it was like 12 strings — eight violins, two violas, two cellos. That sound, you hear it all the time, but when you hear it and it’s something you wrote, it’s like “holy cow!” There was also this day where we had a big band day. That sound was just so powerful and so smart and encompasses all of these different harmonic things. So to have that in a room was unreal. It was a really cool artistic project and it seemed like all the people we knew in the community around us came and helped.”

Coral Andrews of the Waterloo Region Record raved, “From Robert’s masterful wah-wah guitar riffs to the band’s sassy, savvy wall of horns, KCLR has the essence of retro-funksters Earth, Wind and Fire, Sly and The Family Stone, and Tower of Power mixed with the hip-hop cool of Red Hot Chili Peppers, plus the happy-go-lucky performance flair of Jamiroquai.”

This is a band that knows how to fire up a party.  In 2005 when they played North By Northeast, a Toronto festival where bands come from all over to try to catch the eye of industry professionals, they placed Top 5 in Chartattack.com’s report card reviews.  When they celebrated the release of the double album at the Mod Club in Toronto, they played for more than four hours, rocking until quarter after two in the morning.

Sounds like a great way to kick off a summer weekend!

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Time Travel at The Marsh Street Centre

Review by Bill Monahan of the concert at Marsh Street Centre, Sat., June 10, 2017

Photos by Robert Burcher

The Marsh Street Centre capped off its day-long 90th birthday celebration on Saturday with a special sold-out concert.  The band was called The Amazing Time Machine, a name that host Florian Lenders said “we just made up”.  He explained to the audience that “Chris Scerri and I got together and brainstormed how to celebrate this birthday and we came up with the idea of musical selections that spanned the years of the building’s history.”  Of course, Chris knew where to go to get the band capable of such a challenge.  He called on his good friend Tyler Yarema, as he has so often with such impressive results, to put something together.  Tyler, a seasoned veteran, pulled together a band from his many friends and created the special program for the occasion.  During the evening, audience members commented on the fact that what was essentially a pick-up band could put on such an impressive show. It was because this band was a collection of top players, even though they may not be household names, musicians who could fill several shelves between them with the awards they’ve won, who are used to taking on any musical challenge.  In essence it was a band of all-star sidemen.

Tyler Yarema loves playing to Georgian Bay audiences

Tyler Yarema has played often in the area this past year, at the behest, as he mentioned, of Chris Scerri, and he continues to build a solid local fan base.  He makes it clear that these are not just gigs for pay, but he comes here because he loves to play for these audiences.  “I always love coming here,” he told the audience, “there is such a great community here around Georgian Bay, where you all support each other.”

And the evening was a celebration of community.  The sense of community was palpable in the hall and when at one point Florian mentioned names of people who had helped make this night possible it was a very long list.

The concert was divided into three sets.  The first set started out with twenties jazz and took us through to the Swing Era.  The second set visited the birth of rock and roll and took us up to The Yardbirds and The Who.  And the final set covered the rest of the 20th Century with selections from The Beatles, The Stones, The Guess Who and The Band, along with three Bill Withers songs and a single selection from the 21st Century with Amy Winehouse’s classic “Valerie”.

Sax battle with Alison Young and Richard Underhill

Tyler, who is a master of boogie-woogie and stride piano, was in his element with this set, as were the two saxophonists in the band, Alison Young (who was outstanding!) and Richard UnderhillLouis Jordan’s “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby” was near the beginning of a set that culminated in “Sing, Sing, Sing” which for me was the highlight of the whole evening.  It began with Tyler’s perfect reproduction of Louis Prima’s vocals and allowed a long section in the middle for a “battle of the saxes” which was thrilling, alto and tenor trading licks.  While Prima wrote the song, it had been recorded several artists including The Andrews Sisters.  But the most famous version was by Benny Goodman and the highlight of it was Gene Krupa’s drum solo that shook the world back in the thirties.  Drummer Chris Lamont took advantage of that historical nugget to shine in his own Krupaesque solo after the sax battle.  When a band like this takes on a song like that it is not just nostalgia.  It is as exciting as it must have been for the dancers who filled the pavilions at Port Elgin and Sauble Beach back in the day.

It was, as billed, an amazing time machine experience, and a fitting tribute to Florian Lenders.

Special guest Tom Barlow rocked the house

But it wasn’t until the second set that this crowd began to dance.  Special guest Tom Barlow set the pace with the song that caused riots in England back in 1955 when Bill Haley and the Comets introduced “Rock Around The Clock” to the first generation to be called “teenagers”.  When he segued into “Johnny B. Goode” every available space on the floor was filled with dancers, and they didn’t sit down for the rest of the night.

The Second Annual Summer Concert Series Returns to Meaford

The Meaford Summer Concert Series which takes place in the Market Square (beside Meaford Hall) will be returning this year with another exciting lineup that combines acts brought in from outside the area with local artists to create a free event on select Friday evenings through July and August.  Once again the series has been organized by Chris Scerri (now Chris Scerri Presents.com).  Last year’s series was the catalyst that initiated an impressive growth in live music locally, and, incidentally, was the reason for this website coming into existence.  Once again a number of sponsors have stepped up to make the series possible, led by the Meaford BIA and the Meaford Hall & Culture Foundation.

“One thing this year that’s different,” says Chris, “is that we will not only include young local artists, but there will be other opening acts to give local artists a chance to participate.”

Cry For Ophelia beat out a dozen other contenders to win the Battle of The Bands

The Ted Brownlow Band

The youth contingent last year was an important part of the series, showcasing some of the incredible talent that has emerged from Patrick Delaney’s music program at the high school.  It included the Ted Brownlow Band, a previous GBSS winner of Battle of The Bands, and Cry For Ophelia, a band which won this year’s Battle of The Bands and has been booked to be part of Meaford’s Canada Day Celebration.

Another change this year is that the same artists that appear as openers for the headliners at the main stage in the Market Square will head across the street afterwards to perform for the evening at The Leeky Canoe, which is one of the sponsors of the series.  Last year it evolved that visiting bands enjoyed themselves so much performing in the Market Square that pretty much all of them extended the night by going to The Leeky afterward.

One of the by-products of last year’s series was that the headliners who were brought in to play, most of whom had never performed in Meaford before, liked it so much they have returned often to play Meaford again, helping to create the buzz which is making the town’s reputation as a centre for live music.  The most notable of these is Tyler Yarema, often performing with Gracie.  They have become an integral part of the fabric of live music in Meaford and Tyler has worked with Chris to create a number of amazing shows through the year.

“I’m always hoping they’ll come back to Meaford one way or another,” says Chris of the out-of-town artists, “whether at a venue or a festival.”

You’ll learn a lot more details about the concerts by keeping an eye on this website so stay tuned.

There has been a lot of growth in interest in live music in the past year, not only in Meaford but in the surrounding area.  Meaford’s reputation for live music has grown to the extent that it will be included for the first time in this year’s Peak To Shore Festival sponsored by Blue Mountain Village.