It was a great festival and I had an amazing time. I am a community-minded person and love to tell as many people as I can what we, as a community, have to offer.
Many great festivals and events take place here in our beautiful city every year, which enrich our community and promote our arts culture. You may have attended the Northern Lights Festival Boreal, Sudbury Celtic Festival and Highland Games, Canadian Garlic Festival, Cinefest, Blueberry Festival or many more over the years.
If you did, I’m sure you have those memories tucked away in a corner of your brain. Do you ever revisit them? I did today, as I looked through my digital photo album from this past Jazz Sudbury Festival, which took place from Sept. 8-11, 2011. I remembered the music, the beautiful weather, the wonderful scenery, meeting old friends and making new ones.
I’m not going to lie, I had no intention of attending, as I thought I did not like the jazz genre. What I do like is taking pictures. A strange twist of fate occurred on Sept. 9, when, by a stroke of good luck, I won two tickets to the festival through the Northern Life.
I immediately called my friend, Sherri, who was happy to accompany me as her brother, Michael McArthur, was one of the musicians who would be playing on the main stage that night. He plays saxophone and I had never heard him perform before.
I prepared myself for exciting photography opportunities and packed everything I would need. I wasn’t even thinking about the music!
When we arrived, Sherri and I settled in our chairs in front of the main stage. Sudbury Jazz Singer Hilary Welch was giving an amazing vocal performance which was not being overshadowed by the terrific saxophone stylings of Michael McArthur.
Afterwards, I sat down with Michael and Hilary and enjoyed a drink and conversation about the festival and how they came to be where they are now. You see, that’s how Sudbury’s festivals are. Friendly and relaxed. You can find out more about Hilary on her website, http://hilarywelch.webs.com/.
We took a walk around the grounds and decided to get a bite to eat. I was happy to see that there were quite a few food vendors to choose from. I tried the newest craze - “pizza in a cone,” aptly called “Kono Pizza” and Sherri opted for some comfort food - homemade goulash from Frank’s Delicatessen.
She introduced me to Mark Gregorini, who has owned Frank’s Deli since 2008, and I tried to convince him to serve hamburgers at his location on Durham Street. He currently serves buffalo burgers, but I can’t seem to bring myself to try them, although I hear they are quite tasty!
We returned to our seats in front of the main stage and indulged our senses in a set by local blues man, Tommy Fyfe and the Whiskey River Blues Band. Tommy and his band have been entertaining Sudbury crowds for many years, 25 to be exact. I remember watching him at the Beef ‘N Bird in the late 90s, playing his guitar and belting out tunes while sliding across the bar with a huge satisfied grin on his face! To say he is a passionate musician is an understatement. You can find out more about Tommy Fyfe at http://www.tommyfyfe.com/.
This was Jazz Sudbury Fest’s third year in existence and, like previous years, was held on the grounds of Science North. An ideal location, I thought, as the beauty of Ramsey Lake provided a treat for the eyes and the entertainers, a treat for the ears. You can’t choose the weather, but we were lucky enough to have warm, sunny, perfect weather for the entire weekend.
As we arrived on the grounds again on Saturday morning, I spotted Mayor Marianne Matichuk and her husband, Jim Chalmers. I approached her, introduced myself and asked if I could take her picture. She smiled and said, “Yes, of course.” We have a very personable and gracious mayor, and it was so nice to see her out and about, enjoying the music, the sights and the people who make up this community.
The rest of the weekend was spent taking pictures of entertainers and enjoying this new musical genre that I had come to appreciate and enjoy. I was indeed slowly turning into a jazz fan, much to my surprise!
For the first time this year, jazz cruises were offered on the Cortina and I attended one where Michael McArthur played sax alongside Zach Weil on keyboard. We cruised around Ramsey Lake for one hour listening to great music, enjoying fresh air and beautiful scenery. I remember thinking, “I wish everyone could experience this.”
That evening, we were blessed with one of the biggest moons I have ever seen!
Local newlyweds Sarah and Matt Craig were doing a duet and Sunnyside Paris was providing back up. I wondered how it could get any better. Then Canadian blues musician, Rita Chiarelli took the stage and the crowd was instantly in awe. She has a powerful voice and she knows how to use it. You can hear some audio clips on her website, http://www.ritachiarelli.com/.
Finally, one of the headliners, Matt Dusk, Canada’s well loved crooner, came on stage. He sang “Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad,” and I was instantly captivated by his voice and stage presence. I looked around, and it was evident that this festival was a huge success. I felt so happy to be able to experience it.
It takes a lot of planning, organizing, preparation and hard work to make a festival come together. I applaud everyone involved for your hard work in making this festival as enjoyable as it was and I look forward to next year.
Planning is already underway for the 2012 Jazz Sudbury Festival. If you would like to get involved, check out their website www.jazzsudbury.ca. Also on the website, you have the opportunity to make suggestions as to who you would like to see perform at the 2012 festival.
Janet Young is an amateur photographer who likes to share community events with Sudburians.