Jazz on the Patio gets off to a great start - three performances left for the weekend.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 12th, 2017



Rain threatened so they moved the event from the patio to the expansive space indoors where the sound was just fine and the audience happy and dry. The third annual Jazz on the Patio was about to begin.

Jazz - horn player Jane B

Jane B on the clarinet.

Jane Bunnett brought her exquisite all-female sextet: Maqueque and their soul of Cuba sound to the stage.

They were the first night performers of the very successful Jazz on the Patio series that the Performing Arts puts on each August. This is the third year and it worked wonderfully.

Four performances being done by four different female groups chosen by Brian McCurdy – who should be referred to as the Executive Director Emeritus of the Performing Arts Centre, has produced a sterling program.

He ran a superb program when he was the full time Executive Director and left a SOLD OUT performance for the woman that replaced him when he decided to try retirement – only to have to return to the job when she proved to be less than was expected.

Tammy Fox was brought in to run the place – she wasn’t at the Jazz event on Friday so we didn’t get to meet her but we have heard nothing but good things about the woman who has an impressive resume.

The problem with the Executive Directors at the Centre is that they seem to have trouble lasting beyond their sophomore year was the way one wag put it.

The really solid programs have been put in place by McCurdy – who was on hand to watch the event Friday evening.

The Jazz program is the best of that music form one is going to hear in this city. Take in the show – it is a free program – where you will hear some of the smartest and sweetest sounds that will float from the stage.

Jazz crowd - from balcony

The threat of rain moved the event indoors – it was still a fine event.

In terms of numbers – the Performing Arts staff had nothing to complain about – there were a couple of places where you could find a seat but not many.

Jazz audience - not young

A very good crowd, a very loyal crowd – but the demographic for the Performing Arts Centre needs to be broader.

The problem was with the demo-graphics. The down-town crowd have made the Performing Arts Centre their turf and they are a loyal audience.

The younger crowd – the people who are the future of the Centre, just weren’t in the audience.

The Gazette was told that the marketing people distributed flyers, advertised in local markets including Hamilton and Oakville and had post cards delivered to homes in the Burlington market.

Something isn’t working – the room was full –and there is nothing wrong with the seniors and the in the process of becoming a senior market. But the purpose of the Centre is to include a wider demographic.

Whatever the magic is to attract those younger couples – the marketing people haven’t found it yet – and it certainly isn’t because they aren’t trying.

The program content for this Jazz on the Patio series is as good as it gets – equals anything you will hear at the bigger city locales.

Jazz Cuban violin

Classically trained violinist showed the audience how the sounds of the soul of Cuba can be heard.

The classically trained Cuban violinist was superb. Those Cubans certainly know how to move on a stage. There were times when she was as aggressive with her bow as Ashley Macisaac  has been on occasions.

It was just plain fine music in a great locale – take it in if you are downtown – performance in the afternoon and the evening on Saturday and on Sunday afternoon.

Jazz on the Patio at the Performing Arts Centre – program line up.

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2 comments to Jazz on the Patio gets off to a great start – three performances left for the weekend.

  • Marilyn Ansley

    In my opinion, another reason why the free concert was attended by mostly seniors is the high cost of BPAC tickets for all venues. A lot of seniors would love to attend concerts at a reasonable price. Yes, you have a small senior discount on the less popular concerts, but the popular ones do not have a discount for us. For example, I would love to see Jann Arden, Gordon Lightfoot and Bare Naked Ladies. How about lowering the prices for us?

  • Thanks, as always, Pepper for your avid coverage of performing arts activities in our fair city. I was in the audience at BPAC last night and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It is wonderful to have world-class musicmaking right here in town. Former BPAC CEO Brian McCurdy certainly deserves huge credit for this.

    However, I think it is unfair to place the onus on the BPAC marketing team for the lack of a younger demograohic at last night’s show. The reality is that jazz appeals to an audience that is only marginally younger than the classical audience. Indeed, some consider jazz to be the classical music of the Boomer generation. BPAC is to be commended for reaching that audience so successfully.

    Editor’s note: We did say – “Whatever the magic is to attract those younger couples – the marketing people haven’t found it yet – and it certainly isn’t because they aren’t trying.”

    I think it is incumbent on all of us to provide an appropriate introduction to the glories of classical music and jazz through our educational systems. If youngsters are exposed at a very early age, they will likely acquire a taste for it, and we shall have equally large audience twenty and forty years hence. The current lack of arrs education in our schools is appalling.

    I am wondering if an outdoor family jazz concert might be worth considering for next year’s festival, which I hope continues to flourish abd expand.

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