Tyler Yarema Musical Director for “Rockin’ The Hall”

“Rockin’ The Hall”, this year’s Christmas Gala at Meaford Hall, sponsored by the Meaford Hall  and Culture Foundation is going to give us another chance to see a special performance which includes many of our favourites from this past year.  It is a special show created by Juno winner Tyler Yarema, musical director, featuring a number of Chris Scerri’s musical friends, who have become our friends as well over the past several months.  Chris himself will be in the lineup, along with Tyler, Gracie, Virgil Scott, Drew Wright and a few special surprises.  If you have seen these performers you know that the hall will indeed be rockin’.

Tyler and Gracie performing for Meaford Hall Foundation

Tyler and Gracie played jazz for wine-sipping schmoozers at Meaford Hall last fall

It was just about a year ago when Chris invited Tyler and Gracie to come to Meaford to provide some background music for a small celebration in the gallery of Meaford Hall by the Meaford Hall and Culture Foundation.  Chris was anxious to introduce his musical friends to Meaford and they fell in love with the place.  The only problem was the night life.  In Port Credit, where Chris lived before coming to Meaford, they had been used to going out on the town in the evening to check out the live music scene.  They found that in downtown Meaford, no such scene existed despite the presence of local talent which had been nurtured for years at the Wednesday jams at Ted’s Range Road Diner.

So Chris set out to remedy that.  His first project was to call on Tyler and several other musical friends to put together a special show at Meaford Hall, called The Great Canadian Songbook.  It was a great hit that had the audience jumping out of their seats

Tyler Yarema and the Rhythm

Tyler Yarema’s band, The Rhythm, featuring Gracie, rocked on Canada Day

.  All of the performers were great but Gracie, in particular, won the hearts of the local crowd with her charismatic performance of several songs.  Chris invited her and Tyler to return to kick off the Meaford Summer Concert Series which he put together with the enthusiastic assistance of several local sponsors.  The initial concert of the series, with Tyler Yarema and His Rhythm, with special guest Gracie, rocked the Rotary Tent on Canada Day, capping a day-long celebration of live music.

Chris had initiated his Tuesday night open mic night at The Leeky and he encouraged owners Sean and Michelle Crooks to add additional nights of music, feeding what was clearly a local appetite.  As a result, the pub became the centre of a new bustling music scene, playing host to the artists that are part of this Christmas Gala as well as others who happily returned after playing the series in the summer, including The Honeyrunners (playing this week at The Huron Club in Collingwood) and Marshall Dane, playing this Thursday at The Leeky.

With Captains Corner adding an open mic on Wednesdays and live music on the weekends, the night life was picking up, resonating from the vibe that emanated from the always great acts booked into Meaford Hall.

But one of the most promising aspects of this new music scene was the way it brought great local talents to the attention of a wider audience.  People have discovered the high level of musicianship displayed by people like Jayden Grahlman, Dave Russell, Pete Devlin, Amanda Dorey and a dozen others.  Young emerging talent has become a significant part of the local scene as well.  There is an excitement about local music that is growing and this Christmas Gala will underline that with some special local additions to the lineup.

Tyler Yarema

Tyler Yarema

“Meaford has become a special place for me,” says Tyler, “the nature, the beauty, the juxtaposition to the toronto life is very appealing, but, ultimately it’s been the incredible people and personalities that exist there in Meaford, it’s a special place with a growing musical community and outlet for talent.”

Tyler had been playing professionally since the age of seventeen (“My mom had to be our chaperone so we could play in bars”).

“My first instrument was the guitar,” he says, “it was what was around and I took to it quickly.  I was 13 when I started guitar. Piano came around when I was seventeen and immediately had a profound connection to the instrument.  I think I always wanted to be a musician as any kid does, but it was when I was maybe nineteen that I really began thinking about doing it for real and then made it happen with a move to Toronto when I was twenty-one”.

Since then he’s played in a lot of bands and has travelled around the world. “There are many favourite moments but definitely playing for 20,000 people at the Montreal Jazz festival, playing Massey Hall with the Powder Blues Band.  Jamming with Tom Jones at the Reservoir Lounge till 6am has always been a highlight.”

Now that he thinks of Meaford as a second home, we are lucky that he doesn’t hesitate to make the drive up from Toronto if he has a gig to play here, large or small.

With this show at Meaford Hall, he will get a chance to showcase some of the talent that local audiences have come to love and connect once again with his growing legion of fans here.

They’ll be Rockin’ The Hall on Dec. 3rd as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Meaford Hall and Culture Foundation, which includes a silent auction.

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One Response to Tyler Yarema Musical Director for “Rockin’ The Hall”

  1. Gillian says:

    Kudos to Chris Scerri, this blog, and the establishments around town for giving the live music scene in Meaford such an incredible boost.

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