Because we like to (a) challenge ourselves and (b) share things with you, we decided to go a little “old school” and do our take on the assignment everyone inevitably faces at the beginning of each Fall, at the start of the new school year. Yes, Broadsway is submitting our “What I Did This Summer”. And the even better news is that you get to hear from EACH of us! Lucky you!!!!!
How I Spent My Summer “Vacation”?? … by Diane Leah
This is my first blog and Heather is making me do it, so forgive me if I am not as witty or clever with “les bon mots” as our Dear Gal from the Rock. Also, remind yourself that my skills lie in playing something with 88 keys, not typewriter keys, or whatever you call these new-fangled gadgets that have screens attached to them. Lap-dog computers! That’s it! Knew I would come up with it!
Some of you may not realize that I have a full time job at Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. I have this great choir and we work our “buttinskis” off to make the music great every week at 9:00 and 11:00. (If you are ever lonely or bored on a Sunday morning, you should check us out.) Anyway, in addition to the routine of week-in-week-out (we call it “the show that never closes”), I put together two major events in late June / early July. The first one was “Safe To Learn” – celebrating the 20th anniversary of Canada’s first and only LGTBQ high school. This was hosted by the incredible Rick Mercer. I even got my picture taken with him!
Then, just a short 10 days later, we did our annual Church on Church Street service. Julie M. sang beautifully and I tried not to screw it up with Justin Trudeau, Kathleen Wynn and John Tory sitting in the front row. No pressure This is a really fun event – basically a concert with a sermon – so in addition to the choir, Julie, and a great band, Dale Miller, Jeigh Madjus and AJ Bridel (Kinky Boots) tore the house down, or tore the street apart, or whatever. It was outside, and something was torn. You need to know that “Justy” and I are pals and in this photo, he was actually bowing to me when he came in. If you don’t believe me, ask the photographer!
I have spent the last two months writing a Judy Garland show for Louise Pitre (Mama Mia). This has been a wonderful experience. Louise and I have been playing together since 1998 and will do this show in Florida in the New Year. She wouldn’t let me take her picture, but she has white hair! Anyhoo, here’s an alternate:
I went to a Jays game in July – we lost! I am addicted baseball and went through serious withdrawal while spending time at the cottage (oh, yeah, I did that, too) because we could only pick up the Olympics coverage. Ok, ok, those weren’t bad either, but, come on – it’s the Jays!!!
I have written some snazzy new arrangements for Broadsway (you’ll have to come to one of our shows at the Jazz Bistro to hear them – September 22, 23, and 24) and am already planning Christmas Eve at Roy Thomson Hall for the church.
As I said at the beginning, Heather made me do this. My life is pretty dull compared to hers, but I do have a great partner (who tolerates Broadsway rehearsals) and very entertaining pets. Dickins is a rude black kitty who torments Mcduff, my cock-a-poo who is part something else – Great Dane? Not that we care.
The weather has been fabulous and I am braced for serious retaliation from the gods sometime in December (hopefully not on the day we have to do our Christmas show at Aeolian Hall – December 3, by the way).
Ok, I am done. All of the best to you – enjoy what’s left of the summer and we hope to see all of you at the Jazz Bistro on September 22, 23 or 24.
My Summer – I Need A Nap … by Heather Bambrick
Each year, as June hits, a child-like joy spreads over me as if I were about to dot the last “i” and cross the final “t”, on the closing exam of the term. I look to the summer months with excitement and hopeful delight, convinced that THIS year will be the best one yet!! Suffice it to say, 2016 was no different.
I began the summer knowing it would start out quite busily and full of plenty of musical delights. Once again, I was asked to host a series of shows for the TD Toronto Jazz Festival at the Home Smith Bar, in Toronto. The series, called Heather Bambrick and Friends, was an official festival event and saw me working again with the incomparable “groove-meister” Russ Little and his superstar quartet: Tom Szeszesniak, Scott Alexander, and Brian Barlow. Each night, we featured a different musical guest, or “Friend”. What a lineup it was!! We started with Alex Pangman, followed by Broadsway, then NY-based ex-pat Melissa Stylianou, and closed the series with John Alcorn. Each night was sold out and featured a unique sound and style!! What a series! What a band! What a line-up! What a blessing!
Things continued to keep my music world full of activity. In July, Broadsway made our debut at the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival, and we also returned to the 120 Diner for a couple of terrific shows. I made a couple of my own debuts – at Jazz in the Lilac Room (part of the Lilac Festival in Warkworth) and at the Westben Arts Festival in Campellford! Both were amazing and demonstrated the incredible support of audiences in these brilliant artistic communities just outside of the GTA! (If you haven’t checked out areas like Campbellford, Cobourg, Lakefield, Picton, Port Hope, Warkworth, and the like, do yourself a favour and do so! Incredible beauty both in scenery and in people!!)
I’m closing the summer by learning some of Diane’s new arrangements for the Broads (so much fun!!!!!) and working on my new solo CD. It’s been 10 years since I released a recording of my own, so I thought I would quote Charlie Parker and announce “Now’s The Time”. (FYI – that’s a Charlie Parker tune. I’m not sure if he ever actually said that phrase. I mean, I’m sure he did whenever he announced from the band stand that he was about to play the song. But I can’t say for certain whether or not he ever actually said “now’s the time” in, say, general conversation. I just wanted to clear up that whole “quote” thing. It can get confusing, I know …. Oh, and also, I’m not actually recording the tune. I just said the phrase. Just to be clear …. )
In between shows, I spent lots of time hanging out with my partner and our dogs Digby and Muffin, taking care of some gardening (I think we purchased every solar garden light in the GTA), and making trips to my partner’s family cottage. I also enjoyed a fantastic visit home to Newfoundland to see my family, perform a show with my musical pals Bill Brennan and Patrick Boyle, and celebrate our 30-year school reunion with some of my chums. (Yes, that’s right – I referenced “school chums”. It just felt right.) I’m not sure that it’s actually been 30 years since I left those hallowed halls. We all still seem so young! I’ll have to check … I never was very good at math … something I was reminded of by a few of the teachers at the reunion!
Hmmm … I’m sure I did some other stuff … let me think … what else did I do??? I know there were a few other things … gimme a minute … it’ll come to me …
Oh, yeah! I discovered new love with a couple of delightful cocktails, including flavourful upgrades on the G&T, the classic “Rusty Nail”, and the unique and very refreshing “Moscow Mule”. We even purchased our own copper cups! Oh, yeah. We’re serious!!! In keeping with this, I began my quest to create a signature take on the Moscow Mule. My goal is to give it a unique “je ne sais quois” … something that reflects my East Coast heritage. I think I’ll name it: “The Newfoundland Ass”.
So, that’s my summer in a nutshell: I played some shows, hung out with friends, family, and my dogs, began recording a new record, did a little gardening, and considered beginning an alternate career as a bartender. (The latter is not necessarily off the table yet!!) And the best part is: it’s not quite over yet!! YES!!! CHEERS!!!!
What?! It’s September?!?! … by Julie Michels
Holy-crap-on-a-cracker, we’re at September!!! When did that happen?? Honestly, just the other day I was thinking, “It’s May, that’s great! The summer is starting soon and I’ll bbq and go for long walks on the beach and ….”
And now it’s September! Well, I did ride my bike … and went to a couple of bbqs (I have a cool recipe below) … I had a couple great drives in the country … you know, the kind where you just point the car and go. I had a great time teaching at Jazz Works Jazz Camp …. but JEEEZE it’s almost SEPTEMBER!!!!
So, because I want to truly share part of my summer with you, here’s one of my favourite summer recipes. I first tried it at Far Niente, but it needed a little something else and whenever that happens, I start experimenting!! < insert evil laugh here >
1 Small round watermelon chopped into bite-sized chunks
2 bunches fresh mint leaves, torn and rubbed
1 big hand-full of pitted, wrinkley black olives chopped or torn up
the zest and juice of one lime
1 big hand-full of feta cheese
Julie’s addition: a shot of tequilla (not the smokey kind), vodka is also nice, but I have a personal attachment to the tequilla…it was a long time ago…and there was this cowboy….. 🙂
Take everything and dump it into a big bowl toss gently, and begin to nosh…keep away from children. I love this salad, it’s really pretty and tastes great and you can always leave off the booze if there are kiddies eating too.
There’s always something bittersweet about the end of summer. I think it goes back to summer vacations from school. Looming ahead are books, and classes, and homework, and … well, those are still out there, but the studies are voluntary and I really like buying books. As for the homework, it usually involves learning Diane’s arrangements for us, Broads.
Still, it’s time to start preparing for winter … you know, storing nuts and the like. I’m strong, I’ll cope … <sniff> … I’ll embrace the coming Autumn … the time of stews and mulled wine and cashmere sweaters, and … hey! This isn’t so bad after all!