Nov./Dec. 2004

Humber Music: The Fall Student Showcase
Pat LaBarbera Student Ensemble Trish Colter Student Ensemble
December 1, 2004Humber AuditoriumToronto

left to right: Patrick MacGibbon, Darryl Orr and Will Loach

"This music is serious business," says Program Director Denny Christianson. "Students jealously guard their privileged placements....” There is an especially attractive aura around young musicians who have placed themselves to make the leap into a pool of professionals where they hope to survive among the big fish — club owners, media people, managers and others who feed off the talents of performing artists. In this context, the shyness, the awkwardness, as well as the enthusiasm and brilliance of their presentations are touching. At the same time, this particular bunch of musicians had a lot of sheer musical talent, not to mention virtuosity to share last night.

Jordan Venn
One highlight was Jordan Venn's vocal rendition of Kurt Elling's "Night Dreamer." Rapid automatic pistol bursts of word clusters, in registers from low to falsetto, breath defying meters and rhythms, delivered right on target, right on time. Impressive. Other numbers in the Mainstream Jazz Workshop set list included very difficult compositions by Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Heath, Scott Lefaro, Bird and Diz.The ensemble's reed and brass section did nice unison work all through, and Will Loach managed some nice blue trumpet solos, while Darryl Orr's work on alto on "Stablemates" was very lyrical. Paul Van Dyk provided a strong throbbing bass support to this ensemble and to the Vocal Combo in the second half of the show, especially in “Cheesehead.” Richard Grossman played some very fast guitar on "Shaw 'Nuff."
The Vocal Group had a nice choral sound with individual performers getting a chorus or two of solo somewhere in the program. Sophia Perlman puts out a lot of cheer; James Everett has good chops, and you can see him singing in a club when the time comes; Catriona Murphy and Miranda Head did some impressive scat. Jeff Halischuk did elegant work on drums and David Atkinson did good work at the piano. Wish I could mention the names of everyone else, since to do the program credit, everyone was good. But, I gotta go.

Vocalists from left to right: Rachelle Courtney, Andrew Dignum, Siobhan Mcgovern, Maya Chilton, Jordan Venn, Catriona Murphy, Sophia Perlman, James Everett, Miranda Head and Kevon Strachan.
We welcome your comments and feedback
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Report by Stanley Fefferman
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Photographs by Roger Humbert

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