Blues Coming to STM

posted Feb 26, 2020, 5:58 PM by Tania Gamache   [ updated Mar 2, 2020, 6:29 AM ]

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We are pleased to share that "Blues in the Schools" is coming to STM! This program was initiated in two Ottawa-area schools in 1999 and has since seen tremendous growth. Each spring visiting artists/educators and local musicians deliver the program to thousands of students in Ottawa schools, contributing hundreds of hours of in-class instruction over a two-week period. The school communities get to enjoy outstanding musical performances! Integral to the "Blues in the Schools" program is the mandate of reaching out to students and involving them in a universal form of communication; namely music. Music reflects the feelings of the times. Through Blues music and other styles, students learn how people can empower themselves with song through good times and bad. The goal is to integrate students from different experiences in a way to teach harmony and coping skills that will lead to a more fulfilling school experience.

Parents are invited to join STM for the daily musical concerts beginning March 2-5, 2020 (1:40-2:40pm daily). Please see below for the schedule of performances and a short biography on each musician.

We hope you are able to join us to enjoy some of these performances next week!

With thanks,

Ms. Gotell and Mrs. Gamache

Monday, March 2, 2020 1:40-2:40pm  Artists: Teilhard Frost and Brian Sanderson

Teilhard Frost: He is a founding member of the popular touring group Sheesham Lotus and Son, multi-instrumentalist and instrument maker Teilhard Frost specializes in traditional Appalachian old time music. He was raised on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, spending time with the elder fiddlers in the area. At the age of three he was given a jaw harp and harmonica by his father, and his mother gave him a fiddle and a record of Kentucky fiddle tunes. He has continued to play them all ever since. 

Brian Sanderson: He is a composer, performer, educator and multi-instrumentalist currently residing in Rupert, Quebec. He has been involved with music on stage, in theatre, with dance and on film both at home and abroad for more than 25 years. He is a member of the Juno award winning, Montreal based ensemble Esmerine and the popular Old-Time trio Sheesham and Lotus and Son and is also a long standing member of the Silver Hearts.  As an artist/activist, Brian has been instrumental in the creation of one of Canada’s most prolific community recording labels and has done field work at home and abroad in support of community based recording, cultural renewal, and youth outreach most notably with Radio Tarahumara.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 1:40-2:40pm Artists: Arthur McGregor and Graham Lindsey

Arthur McGregor: Guitar, banjo, mandolin, autoharp, vocals, bodhran, djembe, percussion. Arthur McGregor founded and led the Ottawa Folklore Centre from 1976 till 2015. He is an experienced, versatile performer who has played on stage since he was 12 years old. Besides being a regular performer for the Celtic Rathskallions, he leads community singing, writes songs about topical issues, and arranges unusual versions of national anthems. For 19 years, Arthur opened the Ottawa Folk Festival playing his ragtime version of O Canada. He is the recipient of the Helen Verger Award (municipal), the Estelle Klein Award (provincial) and the Canadian Folk Music Awards ‘Unsung Hero’ award (national) for his work in folk music across Canada.

Graham Lindsey: Graham Lindsey is a multi-instrumentalist and composer, writing inventive and varied tunes. His compositions don’t follow the traditional Irish, Scottish or other Celtic styles, and the subtle differences bring a unique feel and rhythm to each tune.  Graham was nominated for his 2019 album “TradHead” by the Canadian Folk Music Awards in the Instrumental Solo Artist category (2020). A total of five of Graham’s compositions have been played on the Carillon (the 53 bells) in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Canada’s Capital, Ottawa.  Three were played through the summer of 2017 as part of the recital series on the Carillon (the bells that play daily at noon) in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. This was followed-up in 2019 by a performance of a fourth tune, “The Carillonneur”, dedicated to Dominion Carillonneur, Dr. Andrea McCrady arranges many of the tunes she plays, and performs them daily, live!  Two more tunes will ring from the bells in 2020!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 1:40-2:40pm Artist: 

Jonny Olsen: Jonny Olsen has been a funky percussionist since the age of 4 when he first discovered the magic of rhythm on his family’s garbage cans.  Since then he has been drumming on absolutely everything and the kitchen sink. Founder of the well known Ottawa group ‘Junkyard Symphony’, Jonny has spent the last two decades playing drums and percussion in every style of band, from Disco to Soul, Jazz, Rock, Celtic, Folk and Blues and has become known as one of the most innovative and busiest musicians in town. In his twenties he hosted a percussion radio show on CHUO called ‘Drum or Die’ which featured marvelous percussive music from all around the world, and he has himself traveled the world with Junkyard Symphony, showcasing his awesome ingenious and explosive percussion talents.  “Rhythm is infectious, and those that understand it are primed to succeed in life.”

Thursday, March 5, 2020 1:40-2:40pm Artists: Sharon Riley and Jeff Rogers

Sharon Riley: Sharon Riley is a leading proponent of gospel music in Canada. In 1992 she co-founded Faith Chorale, a group that has established high benchmarks for Canadian gospel music, including: the first Black gospel group to sign a major international record deal; Grammy awards for work with the Chieftains and Grammy nominations for appearances on movie soundtracks; and Juno Awards and nominations for several albums. Sharon Riley’s gospel work is top notch as noted by Billboard Magazine where her group was praised for perfect vocal execution and energetic delivery “displaying both the heart of gospel and heads totally in touch with the R&B and pop of today.” Sharon is highly regarded as a music educator both for her work in the Blues in the Schools program and by the many students whose hearts and souls she has touched.

Jeff Rogers: He is a singer-songwriter from Ottawa who’s been performing in front of audiences since the age of 10.  Brought up on Blues and R&B, Jeff is an accomplished pianist with a strong soulful voice. As a member of various groups he’s developed a broad musical appreciation beyond his bluesy roots.  These days, as a member of acclaimed southern rock group The Cooper Brothers, as well as Ottawa rockers Silver Creek, Jeff has shared festival stages with many well known artists all over Canada.  He released his first solo album in 2007, a self-titled debut, and recently followed it up with a decisively Soul/R&B record in 2012 entitled “Let It Show”. Jeff is very excited and proud to be a part of The Blues in The Schools Program, and looks forward to sharing his passion for music with the students. 

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