Tag Archives: Bruce Wine Bar

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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Annie Sumi Is Truly a Breath of Fresh Air

Now and then a new artist emerges with something very special to offer, hits the ground running, and brings something refreshingly different to music.  Annie Sumi is one of those.

Appearing this Friday, March 30th, for two dinner shows at Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury, Annie Sumi emanates a gentle, almost mystical approach to music that elevates her songwriting and soars on her ethereal voice.  Her presence and her music seem an ideal antidote to our troubling times.

“Annie Sumi wins you over before she finishes her first song,” says Mogens Galberg, of the Greenbank Folk Music Society. “Her natural and beautiful voice, smart lyrical ballads and excellent guitar skills make you realize she was born to do this.”

Originally from Whitby, she kept a promise to her parents to complete her education before embarking on a musical career, which she realized at a young age was her destiny.  The moment she graduated from Nipissing University in 2015, she released her debut album, Reflections, and began to tour.

“I realized while I was at school how much I really wanted to do music,” she told Laura Stanley at GreyOwl  Point, “At my last year of school, after working throughout school to save money to put together the record, I just decided it was time. There’s an incredible community up there in North Bay so everyone I had met over those four years were there to help me. It ended up being this very organic album, released at the perfect time. It felt really good.”

Her record charted on college radio, she was nominated for a Toronto Independent Music Award, and earned a fan in George Stroumboulopoulos who played one of her songs on his CBC radio show.

It’s not just the beauty of her voice and her music, not just the charm of her onstage presence that makes her something special.  It’s the way she shows you the world in a new light.  Her songs are like those beautiful dawn moments when the sun comes up over Georgian Bay.

“Everyday is so filled with possibility and it’s magic,” she told Laura Stanley, “It doesn’t matter what people believe in or what kind of thing you subscribe to but I don’t think it’s impossible for everyone to live life in this magical way. Things that are bad happen all the time but I think there’s enough good in people and in the world that we can help each other and open each other up to this way of life that’s good.”

If it’s not too late, call now make reservations to see her at Bruce Wine Bar.  You may not get another chance to experience her particular magic in such an intimate setting.

The Thursday Update – Oct. 12 to 16, 2017

Two new open stages are starting up in our area this weekend.  On Saturday afternoon, Amanda Dorey will be hosting an open stage at the Riverside Community Centre, and at Bridges Tavern in Thornbury, Josh Fletcher will be hosting an open stage on Friday starting at 8 pm.  These additions mean that aspiring performers and fans of the surprising grab bag that an open stage can be now have the opportunity to enjoy one every night of the week except Saturday and Monday.

In chronological order, the open stages nearby are The Barn Coop on Sunday at noon; Heartwood’s bi-monthly open mic Tuesday at 8; The granddaddy of all open jams at Ted’s Range Road Diner, and Bruce Wine Bar with Drew McIvor both on Wednesdays at 8; Chris Scerri at The Leeky Canoe Thursdays at nine; also on Thursdays, Dave Russell at The Corner Café and Craig Smith at CROW; Friday afternoon, at the Bleeding Carrot, Kelly Babcock hosts the open stage, and now on Friday evening there is Josh at Bridges and on Saturday afternoon Amanda at Riverside.   That adds up to a lot of free entertainment that mixes the best musicians in the area with undiscovered talents.

The Thursday Lookout – August 3 to 6, 2017

Friday night is music night in Meaford again this week, starting at 5 pm with Victoria Yeh at The Red Door Pub on the patio.  When she winds up at 7 pm, Sequioa Koop will be taking the stage at the Market Square, followed by a repeat appearance from Eden Young.  It’s part of the third in the Meaford Summer Concert Series rocking downtown Meaford.  The celebrated duo Hunnay, comes after that and then Amanda Dorey, who will be carrying on the music afterwards at The Leeky Canoe.  The headliner at Market Square will be Jenie Thai, whose combination of outstanding keyboard chops and soaring vocals will have the audience spellbound by a set that includes blues and R & B favourites as well as her original songs.

Drew Wright

Bookmarking the Friday night music offerings in Meaford this week are two Drews.  That’s the exceptionally talented Drew McIvor doing one of Meaford Hall’s Terrace Thursdays, paired with food from Bruce Wine Bar (where he hosts an open stage on Wednesdays) and then certified Canadian Idol finalist Drew Wright on Saturday night at The Leeky.

So if your car breaks down in Meaford this weekend, you won’t be short of top-notch entertainment.