February 2007

Such A Melodious Racket
a fundraising event in support of St. Christopher House Music School &
The Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund
February 11, 2007Bathurst Street TheatreToronto
Report and photos by Roger Humbert

Produced and Directed by Ruby Webb and Archie Alleyne, Such a Melodious Racket was staged as part of a fundraiser for the St. Christopher House Music School and the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund. The show was dedicated to the memory of Toronto saxophonist Dougie Richardson (1937 – 2007).

Before the concert got under way, Archie Alleyne introduced Norman Botos to the audience. Norman is this year’s recipient of the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund. A student at the Humber College junior music program, Norman is studying percussion with a focus on the drums. In the audience were his father (drummer Frank Botos) and uncle (pianist Robi Botos) as well as other members of his family.

This production of Such a Melodious Racket featured the talent of over 90 performers, artists such as: Jackie Richardson, Billy Newton-Davis, Saidah Baba Talibah, Kamil Dewhurst, John Arpin and Hameed “Pan Piper” Shaqq. Several dance groups took the stage: Nexx Level, Ngoma and Funk Factory. Featured as well were The E. O. J. Youth Ensemble who also provided the musical accompaniment for the evening. Archie Alleyne’s Kollage made a cameo appearance.

Such a Melodious Racket is a celebration of jazz and its related musical idioms. Over the course of the two one-hour sets, we were transported from the African drum/dance roots to the cosmopolitan ebullience of bebop. Stops were made along the way visiting calypso, spirituals, blues, ragtime, classic jazz and swing. The pace was lively. Music and dance were artfully integrated.

All the performers gathered on the stage to participate in the show’s grand finale. Aglow and reluctant to accept the inevitable final drop of the curtain — the audience showered the assembled performers with warm and sustained applause.


Jackie Richardson
St. Christopher House Music School is just one of the programs offered by St. Christopher House which has been in operation for over 90 years playing an important role in the lives of thousands of people with six locations in the West end of Toronto. St. Christopher House Music School is committed to providing professional, affordable lessons to these communities and to further subsidize lessons for low income families enabling access to all regardless of income. > www.stchrishouse.org

The Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund in association with The Brandon Street Community Development Foundation is offered to applicants in recognition of their achievements and to assist them in their musical education. It is open to students between the ages of 15 and 25 years who are enrolled in a jazz program, are graduates of a secondary school or in full-time attendance at a post-secondary institution, maintaining academic excellence and contributing to their community in an active manner.

We welcome your comments and feedback
Roger Humbert
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