22In last month’s issue we mentioned the superb organization of the summertime-only Uxbridge Community Concert Band (UCCB). After their final concert of the season the local newspaper, Uxbridge Cosmos, published an editorial praising the band and its tireless director as assets to the community. To quote a few excerpts from Editor Conrad Boyce.

All of them sacrifice a summer evening each week , some of them coming from considerable distances for the sake of a couple of concerts at the end of a season. So it’s not just the opportunity to perform that attracts them to UCCB, and not just the need to keep up their playing and music-reading skills over the summer break. So what is it that makes the band get bigger every year, and brings many of its members back year after year – ? The clue came towards the end of Sunday’s concert, when both band and audience spontaneously rose for an ovation to the UCCB’s director Steffan Brunette.”

As the editor pointed out, Steffan is a school teacher who conducts music classes at school from September to June, and teachers are supposed to have summers to escape. “How can he get a real vacation if he has a rehearsal every week?” The answer to this and other questions is obvious: “His love of music tops all other priorities.”

Two significant band events in October show similar commitments to community involvement by a number of bands in their own and neighbouring communities. Both are, in a number of ways, commemorating anniversaries.

The first takes place in the Town of Ajax. There, the town will be commemorating the 70th anniversary of the first major naval battle of World War II. The Battle of the River Plate, off the coast of Argentina and Uruguay, saw three light cruisers of the Royal Navy, the Ajax, Achilles and Exeter, take on the much more powerful German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee. When the wartime shell-filling plant was built on farm land East of Toronto, the new small town was named after the British cruiser Ajax.

No fewer than five bands with differing affiliations will be performing at the parade and monument unveiling ceremony on Sunday, October 4. The Cobourg Concert Band, in their role as official band of the Royal Marines Association, will be joined by the band of Toronto’s Naval Reserve Division, HMCS York, the pipes and drums of Canadian Legion Oshawa Branch 34 and the Harwood Sea Cadet Corps. This cadet corps is named after Commodore Sir Henry Harwood, the commander of that British force at the Battle of the River Plate in 1939. At the site of the new memorial, visitors will be entertained by the Pickering Concert Band. For details of this event visit the Town of Ajax web site at www.townofajax.com.

23The second Anniversary event entitled More Tunes of Glory takes place at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall on Sunday, October 25. This 20th Annual Massed Military Band Spectacular, sponsored by the Royal Canadian Military Institute, will feature 11 massed military bands, and pipes and drums of the Toronto Garrison. On the anniversary side, this concert will include a salute to the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scottish poet Robbie Burns. Doors and military displays open at 12:30 pm, and the concert begins at 2:00 pm.

Bill Patton, formerly of the Lydian Wind Ensemble, informs us that the new Community Concert Band of Whitby is now prospering. After struggling to maintain a one-to-a-part ensemble, it was decided to form a completely new band. With the blessing of the remaining five charter members from 1998 it was decided to seek a new beginning. The activities of the Lydian Wind Ensemble were terminated in March 2008 with an officially registered name change. Bill then advertised for the formulation of a new community band, and on January 29 the first rehearsal with 20 members took place.

Their first concert in April, 2009 was performed by 24 members. They now have 36 members ready for the coming season. Of these, only 12 play or have played in another band. The rest are all people who played in high school or university and, after establishing themselves in business and family now have time to play again. The Community Concert Band of Whitby’s 2009 /2010 concert season begins with the return to rehearsals 7:30 to 9:30 pm Thursdays under the direction of conductor Stewart Anderson. They are still welcoming prospective members. Visit their web site www.communityconcertbandofwhitby.ca, or contact the secretary at patton62@sympatico.ca, 905-666-3169.

From Newmarket we have a message from Joe Mariconda about the start of new beginners band and orchestra for adults. Here’s his message: Did you play music in high school? Do you think about playing the instrument you have in your closet. If so bring your instrument out of the closet and join a concert band for adults. You must bring your own music stand and instrument. Tuesday’s class will focus on brasswind/woodwind instruments. Thursday’s class will focus on wind/string instruments. All sheets of music will be provided. For information phone 905-895-5193 or e-mail at joemariconda@gmail.com.

Definition Department

Some months ago, while attending a rehearsal, one member of our group asked the conductor how he was supposed to know the meaning of the many musical terms which he found on his music. When the conductor suggested that he might look at the bottom of the music folder he was using, the band member sheepishly found the information required.

However, to assist with those more obscure terms not found on most folders, we have decided to provide a new definition in each issue. This month’s musical term is Allaregretto: “When you are 16 measures into the piece and realize that you took too fast a tempo.” We invite submissions from readers.

Jack MacQuarrie plays several brass instruments, and has performed in many community ensembles. He can be contacted at: bandstand@thewholenote.com.

Last month I wrote about the general decline in jazz clubs, and the concert hall or festival stage having become almost the only way of seeing and hearing “name” performers.

It got me thinking about the early days of jazz in Canada when, in fact, there were no jazz clubs as we have come to know them. For much of the following historical information I am greatly indebted to Mark Miller and his richly informative book about the early development of jazz in Canada: Such Melodious Racket, a must-have if you’re interested in the history of the music.

Toronto has a wealth of theatre history and plays a role in bringing ragtime, which was a precursor to jazz, to Canadian audiences. Shea’s Victoria was built in 1910 at the southeast corner of Victoria and Richmond, and with 1,140 seats was considerably larger than the original Shea’s Theatre on lower Yonge St. In 1911 a group called  the Musical Spillers played a week there, sharing the bill with humourist Will Rogers. The Spillers had been touring the Pantages circuit, featuring “original ‘rag time’ music on six saxophones, three cornets, three trombones and six hundred dollars worth of xylophones.” In the same year, a saxophone ensemble called the Brown Brothers, sons of Canadian cornetist and bandmaster Allan W. Brown also played Shea’s with the Gertrude Hoffman Revue.

The next Shea’s Theatre stood from 1914-1956 on its new location, (a fire destroyed the previous theatre on Victoria Street), on Bay Street opposite old City Hall, until it was demolished in 1957 for new City Hall. Incidentally, the pipe organ was eventually relocated to Casa Loma. With 3,663 seats it was one of the largest vaudeville theatres in the world – one of the big four, including the Orpheum in Los Angeles, Loew’s State and the Palace in New York, and it attracted the best vaudeville acts. In late 1917 a group called the Verrnon Five, “expert exponents of the new music known as jazz,” appeared there, and the Toronto Globe reviewer wrote that they “succeeded at times in making a diabolical noise, thus justifying their claims to [being] a ‘Jazz’ company.”

It would be a major overstatement to call these events jazz concerts, but for thousands of people it was their first introduction to this new music. (The jazz concert as a formal occasion came to Toronto much later – at the Eaton Auditorium in October of 1945, a month before Charlie Parker’s first appearance at Massey Hall.) So, in a sense, we’ve gone full circle, from early “jazz” being presented in theatres to jazz being presented in concert halls. It has to be remembered, of course, that in those early days there were no jazz clubs in Toronto to go out of business!

Toronto the Good

When we talk about alcohol we think of prohibition and speakeasies in the U.S., but not everyone thinks of Canada – although Ontario, for example, introduced Prohibition measures from 1916 to 1927. There were exceptions however. Ontario’s wineries were exempted, and many breweries and distilleries remained open to serve the export market. It was also possible to ask your doctor for a prescription of rum or whisky – strictly for “medicinal” purposes, of course. This sort of legislation reminds me of the old joke: “Why did the Canadian cross the road?” “To get to the middle!”

Even when I arrived in Toronto in the mid-60s I can remember my amazement when I went to my first official liquor store (to this day a government monopoly) where there were no bottles on display. It was illegal to have even a glimpse of the liquid pleasures in store – and I had to fill in a form giving my name, address and what I wanted to purchase. It was a far cry from the Glasgow I had left; but that was then and thank goodness things have changed.

Footnote: In a conversation with Mark Miller before finishing this piece, he told me that he had unearthed some interesting information, after Such Melodious Racket had been published. At 14 King Street East, opposite the King Edward Hotel, in the years 1917-18 there was an establishment called the Cafe Royal that imported jazz bands from the United States!

24aSee  Hear

The partnership between jazz and visual arts has been a sometime feature of programming at the McMichael Gallery. On October 18, 2009 at 1:30 you can enjoy an afternoon of jazz with Tara Davidson, and on November 1st the featured artist will be Alberta-born Colleen Allen. They’re both outstanding reed players representative of the younger generation of established and highly creative players on the local and international scene. The Gallery is at 10365 Islington Ave., Kleinburg. 905-893-1121.

24bMeanwhile, the Jazz Vespers at Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge Street, continue and on Sunday, October 11, 2009, Joe Sealy (piano) and Paul Novotny (bass) will be featured, followed by the Dixie Demons on the 18th, and Tara Davidson and Mike Murley on the 25th.

Degrees of jazz

The University of Toronto continues its presentation of Small Jazz Ensembles on Wednesday evenings, at 7:30pm in Walter Hall in the Edward Johnson Building.

There’s no admission fee and you have a chance to hear the work of the next generation of musicians. Also, one of the clubs where young players have a chance to get their feet wet in the school of hard knocks and mix with established players is The Rex on Queen Street West, which continues to programme 19 bands per week, including top student ensembles.

There is music out there, so get out and hear some of it live.

Jim Galloway is a saxophonist, band leader and Artistic Director of the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival. He can be contacted at: jazznotes@thewholenote.com.

8aPeterSimonAt last, it’s finished. The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Telus Centre for Performance and Education, behind the RCM’s Victorian home on Bloor Street, is now officially complete, inside and out.

“The construction took three years,” says a proud Peter Simon, the RCM’s president. “And the planning began two years before that.” Simon estimates that the final price-tag for the building was about $120 million.

The centrepiece is Koerner Hall, a 1,140-seat concert hall that opens with a gala concert on September 25 – followed by a season of 70 more concerts. And for Toronto’s musical communities, the presence of this new facility in the heart of the city brings both opportunities and challenges. It’s a bold venture that will surely change our musical culture.

Read more: Making Koerner Hall Work

39stevewardThere might be a growing number of spots around town that serve polite jazz with your dinner, as inspired by Diana Krall’s, but not many rooms specifically cater to free, avant-garde, or experimental branches of the music. Thankfully for those who enjoy straying from the mainstream, trombonist-composer Steve Ward (www.myspace.com/stevewardtrombone) has been booking live music at the Tequila Bookworm at 512 Queen Street West.

Currently enrolled in the Jazz Performance Masters program at the University of Toronto, Ward maintains a busy schedule as a performer, composer and teacher. I emailed Ward some questions about booking the room.

How did the music policy at the Tequila Bookworm come to be?

I started booking jazz here last July, and originally I was booking one act a week. Eventually the owner and I agreed to expand the policy to three nights a week, and now four. The rent is extremely high on Queen St W so therefore it was hard to get any money out of Tequila for the bands, etc which is why we have pay-what-you-can shows.

What are musical characteristics you look for when booking?

Enthusiasm, sincerity, creativity. Artists looking to evolve creatively in a live setting, that aren’t looking for a brainless jobber.

What are the greatest strengths of the room itself?

Since I have no financial quota to fill I’m able to be adventurous with my programming. I’m interested in an environment where ideas are shared and challenged. Culture! The arts! It’s time.

What are some of the challenges of the room?

One of the biggest challenges is communicating with the audience. Since we’re playing for the tip jar it is important to be able to communicate with our audience and give them context of why we’re making the music that we are. Most times its types of music they have little knowledge of, so it’s time to educate!

Three acts you would recommend to readers for this month and why?

Tuesday September 8th: Lee Mason (from Amsterdam). Its always cool when a group from another part of the world wants to put on a show at a venue you book. Very interesting sounds. Shouldn’t be missed. www.myspace.com/leemason

Saturday September 12: Chris Cawthray Trio. Its going to be a CD release, & I’m proud that Chris decided to have it at Tequila. They groove hard.  www.chriscawthray.com

Friday September 25: MiMo. These guys are great!!! Nothing like processing sounds underwater in a big bucket. You got to see it to believe it.www.mimomusic.com, www.myspace.com/mimoonmyspace

Ward’s passion for this music is apparent not only in his playing but also in his booking. “I don’t get paid to do this, and I have no other help. My motivation is art, it’s what keeps me breathing. Please come support live music. ... Also we might be moving in the next couple of months so watch out on our website and Facebook for more info to come!!”

For all the news, including a possible change of location, visit: http://tequilabookworm.blogspot.com/

 

Looking to expand your own musical horizons but don’t know where to start? Below is a short list (by no means comprehensive) of commuity education organizations offering classes in a variety of world music traditions.

28Sora

But first, some concert highlights for this month. The 8th Annual Small World Music Festival runs September 24 to October 4 at various venues, and features 23 artists from 20 countries, including Zakir Hussain with Béla Fleck and Edgar Meyer (September 29, part of the Grand Opening concert series at the RCM’s new Koerner Hall), Tasa, Bajofondo, Electric Gypsyland, Beyond the Pale, Omnesia Live, to name just a few. See our listings, or visit www.smallworldmusic.com for full details. The Klezmer Kids, from Winnipeg, perform September 12 at the Winchevsky Centre, 585 Cranbrooke Ave., followed by a workshop the next day. (www.winchevskycentre.org or call 416-789-5502); and KlezFactor, Toronto’s “alternative” klezmer band, performs at the Tranzac Club, September 29. Finally, Bernardo Padron and his band are at Hugh’s Room, October 1 (Venezuelan influenced jazz, with Alan Hetherington, Mark Duggan, Marylin Lerner and Andrew Downing).

Arabesque Academy

1 Gloucester Street, Suite 107

416-920-5593

www.arabesquedance.ca

In addition to being one of the best places in the city to study the art of belly dance, (including an auditioned professional course), Arabesque Academy offers classes in Arabic instrumental music. At the time of writing, the fall schedule was not available, but check their website for updates. Music classes are offered by noted local Arabic musicians Dr. George Sawa, Bassam Bishara and Suleiman Warwar on a variety of traditional instruments including dumbek, Qanoon, Naye, Oud, Voice, Violin, Saz, as well as history and theory.

Clapping Land – songs, movement and rhythm for young children

Sophia Grigoriadis

416-220-8161

sophia@clappingland.com

www.clappingland.com

“Through moving, singing and instrument play, music opens those crucial pathways for your child’s language and social development and physical coordination, giving opportunities for creative thinking and exploration.” Classes begin soon in the following age ranges: Newborn to 18 months; 18 months to 3 years; 3 to 5 years. Check the website for schedules and registration.

Gamelan Degung Sora Priangan

“Voice of the Spirit of the Ancestral Mountains”

Arraymusic studio, 60 Atlantic Ave. Suite 218 (rehearsal location)

atmar@istar.ca (Andrew Timar, contact)

Sora Priangan is the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan’s community group, directed by Andrew Timar. The instruments and repertoire are indigenous to the highland Sundanese people of West Java, Indonesia. Sora Priangan’s mission is to foster an understanding and appreciation of the gamelan degung music of West Java, and the unique repertoire commissioned by its parent group, the Evergreen Club. Membership is open to the public, and the group presents concerts and workshops. Rehearsals are Tuesdays 6-9 pm.

Kathak Dance

355 College St., second floor

416-504-7082

joanna@mdo-tte.org

www.mdo-tte.org

In partnership with the Toronto Tabla Ensemble, Joanna de Souza offers classes in North Indian Kathak dance, from beginner to professional levels, in the Kensington Market area. For full schedule and registration, visit the website.

Koffler Centre of the Arts

Prosserman JCC’s Donald Gales Family Pavilion

4588 Bathurst St

416-638-1881 x4269

registration@kofflerarts.org

www.kofflerarts.org

In addition to a number of music classes and workshops offered by the Koffler Centre, new this fall is the opening season of the Toronto Jewish Chorus, under the direction of Judy Adelman Gershon. Auditions to be held in the fall.

Miles Nadal JCC

750 Spadina Ave., at Bloor

416-924-6211

info@mnjcc.org

www.milesnadaljcc.ca

In addition to a vast array of recreational and cultural activities, the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre offers a number of music classes, including a Community Choir, Women’s Chorus, and Klezmer Ensemble. See their website for schedules.

RCM Conservatory School

273 Bloor St. West

www.rcmusic.ca

Back in their newly renovated old location, the Royal Conservatory offers a number of community classes in world music traditions, inbcluding Brazilian Samba, Celtic-Canadian Fiddling, Latin Jazz, Taiko Drumming, and a World Music Chorus. Visit their website, click on “brouse courses,” then “world music” for schedules and registration.

Samba Kidz

Drum Artz Studio, 27 Primrose Ave. (Dupont/Dufferin)

416-538-6342

info@drumartz.com

www.sambakidz.com

www.drumartz.com

Run by Drum Artz Canada, the Samba Kidz fall 2009 session begins September 29, Tuesdays from 5:30-7:30pm. This multi-arts programme for kids aged 7-14 encompasses group-inspired world drumming, steel pan, dance and visual art projects culminating in performance opportunities throughout the city.

Samba Squad

Drum Artz Studio, 27 Primrose Ave. (Dupont/Dufferin)

slamdog@sympatico.ca

www.sambasquad.com

Lead by Rick Lazar, Samba Squad offers workshops in Brazilian Samba (beginners welcome) most Sundays all year round from 11:30am to 1:30pm. No need to sign up in advance. Instruments are provided. Bring your own ear plugs and a tape recorder if you wish. Some “graduates” become members of Samba Squad itself.

Toronto Tabla Ensemble

43riteshdas355A College St. West

riteshdas@tablaensemble.com

www.tablaensemble.com

416-504-7082 x1

Ritesh Das offers classes in North Indian tabla drumming, from beginner to professional levels, in the Kensington Market area. See the website for full schedule and registration.

Worlds of Music Toronto

416-588-8813

info@worldsofmusic.ca

For years, Worlds of Music has been a wonderful source of world music classes and workshops in a wide variety of traditions. At time of writing, the fall schedule does not appear to be in place; but do check their website or call for details.

 

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