Tag Archives: Beaver Valley Community Centre

It’s A Jazz Weekend For Local Fans

by Bill Monahan

With the annual Jazzmania series of concerts happening in Thornbury and a special jazz concert by Patricia Wheeler in Meaford, it’s a special treat for jazz fans this weekend.

Start the weekend early at Bruce Wine Bar with the hot jazz of Toronto based iSpy Trio.  Led by singer-songwriter  Rebecca Everett, the band plays a style inspired by the 1940’s gypsy jazz of Quintette du Hot Club de France, with a mix of vintage and original tunes.  Lead guitarist Tak Arikushi is well known for his virtuosity and trademark Django licks.  The trio is rounded out by Chris Kettlewell, an accomplished double bass player and Humber Jazz College alumni who has performed with  jazz ensembles such as The Rachelle Courtney Quartet and The Cam Britton Collective and has toured extensively in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

There are two dinner shows, one at 6:45 and the second at 9 pm.  Reservations are recommended.

Down the street at the harbour, well-known Simcoe county musician and educator Louis Lefaive performs at Maiolos, starting at 7:30 pm.  In addition to gigs with his family band performing Celtic and French folk music, Louis has performed in a Beatles cover band and a band that features original French music.  An accomplished composer, arranger, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, he has numerous albums to his credit and has his own recording studio.

Also starting at 7:30 on Friday, The Mike Grace Quintet will be performing in the small hall at the Beaver Valley Community Centre.  In addition to being a director at Southampton’s Summer Music Camp, Mike has played around the world, from Texas road houses to world tours and has played with many jazz greats, including Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, Peter Appleyard and Randy Brecker.  He is also a highly respected educator, recipient of the University of Michigan Musical Society’s Educator Of The Year.  The quintet will be performing classic jazz standards, including tunes to dance to.

Things really get swinging on Saturday with a pair of big bands playing at the Beaver Valley Community Centre.

In the afternoon, starting at two, it’s the Georgian Sound Big Band.  This is the band that started it all in Thornbury, way back in 1998 when it was formed by the late Bob Cringan.

“Bob Cringan was an incredible music educator,” says Tony Bauer, “He moved up from Toronto to Meaford and we started the Georgian Sound Big Band. 

“He did so much for music.  He put on concerts, and Bob had the idea to start a Big Band festival and we ran it for twenty years and it was very successful.  We brought five big bands up here.  I was very much involved with it and when he died we still ran it.

 “We added Jazzmania. In the heyday we had three day festivals, with bands in the restaurants in Thornbury.  We had two shows on Saturday and we had a big jazz brunch on Sunday”

The band, currently under the leadership of trumpeter Don Doner and conducted by trombonist Brad Crawford, covers numbers from the swing era to the present and includes a wide variety of danceable music including waltz, tango, and Latin rhythms using many of Bob’s original arrangements.

After a dinner break, head back to the Community Centre for another big band treat.  The Skyliners Big Band, formed in 1993, performs the big band era favourites by Miller, Shaw, Herman, Basie, Ellington, Kenton as well as more contemporary hits.  The band features the inspired vocals of Maria Branje.

There’s still more jazz in store if you head over to Meaford on Sunday where Christ Church Anglican is presenting the first in a series of monthly concerts.  This concert features the Patricia Wheeler Quartet with jazz interpretations of both standards and popular songs form catalogues as diverse as Henry Mancini, Simon and Garfunkel and The Beatles.

The concert is something of a homecoming for Patricia, who got her start in music attending Grade 7 at Meaford Elementary School.  The music teacher at Georgian Bay Secondary School, Charlie Strimas, is now the musical director at the church and it was at his request that she agreed to come to Meaford for this special concert.

The Patricia Wheeler  concert runs from 3 to 5 on Sunday afternoon, with wine and cheese served at intermission.

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The Thursday Outlook – April 20 to23, 2017

Tonight at the Simcoe Street Theatre, check out Russell deCarle, formerly of the legendary country band Prairie Oyster.  He’ll be playing with his favourite sideman, Steve Briggs, and the opening act will be Meaford’s Greg Smith.  It will be a night of varied and captivating original songs.

Friday night at the same theatre, the popular Collingwood band, Jimmy and the Extractions have a show that is a special fundraiser for St. Mary’s Church in Collingwood, the proceeds going toward a new heating and air conditioning system for the church.  The band, consisting of Jim Harrison, Sam Moneypenny, Marilyn Reid, Lenny Fligg and Don Reid, plays alternative rock, folk and roots music.

Friday night also brings a concert with Ron Sexsmith to Meaford Hall.  He has been here before but solo, and this time he is touring with his band.  Throughout his career a long succession of A-list producers have put their individual stamps on his recordings but his latest release is the first to be recorded with his touring band, and it has a liveliness missing from previous recordings.  His touring band includes drummer and independent Toronto producer Don Kerr, a distinctive soundsmith who has been with him since the start.

The best bet for dinner music on Friday night is at Bruce Wine Bar with The Shuvs, folk-rock gone soul, playing music that has been characterized as breezy and mellow but with real intent”.  They will be laying down a solid, carefree groove through the dinner hour and again at ten.

On Saturday night, bass player for the popular Meaford band Bored of Education, Brian Miessner, will be performing with his friends at a great little venue down in Durham called The Garafraxa Café.  Brian is a successful singer-songwriter who originally played with the first Beatles cover band in North America, called Liverpool.  After many years away from the music business, he has more recently returned to writing and recording.  His 2006 release “My Perfect World” and his new collection of nine songs, “Windows and Walls” are both available on iTunes.

Another nice venue just south of Owen Sound, The Desboro Music Hall will be kicking off this year’s concert series on Saturday night with My Sweet Patootie, a small band that blends “jaw-dropping” musicianship with an energetic and fun stage presence.  They be sharing the evening with Alicia Toner, a singer and violinist who has a new album ready for release, and is more focused on her music than ever after years spent on the musical comedy stage.

The Kinettes of Meaford and Beaver Valley are teaming up for a special night on Saturday at the Beaver Valley Community Centre.  A Yuk-Yuks comedy show starts at 8 p.m. but the real fun starts afterward when Amanda Dorey and her band Northern Country play music for dancing.  The band features Dale Harbottle on guitar, his sister Deborah Anne on bass, and Bambalamb on percussion.

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