This page is designed for Members of Encore Band and ANYONE who is interested!
If you would like to post on this page, please email to Ivy at encorebandgroup @ gmail.com (no spaces)
Thurs May 3 – Bill Crothers Senior Band students joined us for our monthly concert.
Alleycatz Bar/Restaurant, 2409 Yonge St, just north of Broadway, $10.00 cover charge.
Danny Wilks, Jonno Lightstone, Shelley Miller, and Sharon Smith
I’m very happy to be back at Mezzetta, 681 St. Clair Ave. W. on Wed. May 16th, 9-11 with my long-time friend and colleague, Brian Katz. Mezzetta is a wonderful intimate restaurant that has had a weekly music series on Wednesday evenings for the last 25 years! There are only 40 seats so reservations are advised. Res: 416-658-5687. The press release is below; hope to see you there!
Lightstone/Katz Klezmer Duo at Mezzetta Wed. May 16th, 9 pm -11pm; 681 St. Clair Ave. W.
Res: 416-658-5687 $10
Brian Katz (guitar, piano), famed jazz and Jewish music artist and Jonno Lightstone, acclaimed klezmer clarinettist / flutist combine their talents to explore some rarely performed klezmer repertoire. Bringing together a multitude of musical styles and experience, they create a variety of diverse moods by weaving the melodies of klezmer and Yiddish song with the sounds and textures of chamber music, jazz, Indian raga, Israeli music and down home rock’n blues! The inviting texture of the classical guitar and flute will especially intrigue listeners who have yet to hear the more intimate side of klezmer. And when they play some good old-fashioned,up-tempo Jewish dances with clarinet and piano, don’t just sit there!
I thought that I would share the memory of Johnny Cowell. He was both a friend and mentor to me throughout my career as he was to almost all who came to know him. The Encore Band did a tribute concert to him in the early 2000’s.
I’m sending a picture from that as well. The first pic has Dorrian Forrester on Flute, Debbie Sander Walker , singer, and Sonya Sim on piano.
Pic 2 , Jens Lindemann on Trumpet , Sonya on piano.
Pic 3, is Jens and me.
The last 3 pics are the program of the celebration .
Picture from the Encore Band ‘s Tribute to Johnny Cowell Concert (early 2000’s?)
The cast from left to right are, Trumpet Soloist Ross Turner
Composer,Arranger,Conductor Howard Cable,
Trumpeter Erich Traugott,
Special Guest Johnny Cowell,
Conductor, Trumpet Soloist John E. Liddle,
Professor of Music Trumpet Specialist U of T Steven Chenette ,
Trumpet performer and Educator,
Humber College Music Dept. Don Johnson,
Toronto Musicians Association Representative Murray Ginsberg
Marcy Cowell: Thank you so much John for an amazing tribute concert to my dad, Johnny. All the musicians did a wonderful job and you are very talented on the trumpet. My mother, my daughter and I enjoyed it very much
Here is a message sent to me by John Liddle, Encore Band’s conductor. I thought I should share it with everyone.
Our March 1st (2018) concert is a Tribute to Johnny Cowell and an old friend of mine, and the Encore Band Ted Richardson is bringing Johnny’s Cornet for me to play in the concert.
If you google Memories of Johnny Cowell the story of the cornet is there.
I hope that it still plays!
My name is Thorkell Hardarson and I am a member of Svanur Concert band in Iceland. I just saw your version of Let the good times roll on YouTube. Well done! This arrangement is the best I have found of this song so far. Could you enlighten me on how to obtain this version? I am arranging for our spring concert to have a blues theme.
Looking forward to hear back from you.
Best regards from Iceland,
Here is a link to the video “Let the Good Times Roll”.
Whose birthday is it?
Hi John (Liddle),
It’s Marcy, Johnny Cowell’s daughter. He just watched you play Marcella’s Waltz on Youtube and really wanted me to tell you that it sounded fantastic!
Watch Johnny Cowell’s compositions on Youtube
Photos provided by John Liddle
Eddie Graf was the greatest! I played in the Eddie Graf big band for about 20 years and he played in the Encore Band for around 20 years as well. He was a great player , friend and mentor. When Eddie was playing it was sweet and swinging and as a person he was humble and kind.
One of my favourite Eddie stories takes place at the Key in Bala. It is still a concert dancing hall today! In 1995 the war had been over for 40 years and the Graf big band had been hired to play with Canadian legend Mart Kenney a sax and clarinet band leader. Just like Eddie. Mart was well over 80 at the time and Eddie treated Mart like a star should be treated. There was never a hint of professional jealousy or envy . I should say that we had backed Mart up on many other occasions, as our agent John Dimon ,(the greatest promoter of big band music in Ontario) , was on a mission to keep this music alive as long as possible. He was also the publisher of the magazine Big Band World.
As we got to the stage Mart needed a little help with the stairs, it was Eddie who helped him up and led him to centre stage. We had ” The West A Nest And You ” , (Marts theme song ) , ready to play. The radio announcer Jim Paulson turned to the audience and said, ” if you were here in 1945 dancing to Mart Kenney please make your way to the dance floor” . Now this is where the genius of Eddie Graf the band leader comes in, not only did he write the arrangement of Mart’s theme song , he always knew when and how to count the band in. Wow , to everyone’s amazement the dance floor was filled with those who had been there in 45. It was difficult to play with tears in your eyes. This moment is one of my most treasured memories. It is rare to have a moment like this , but with Eddie it seemed to be a daily occurrence. I have so many wonderful memories of Eddie and will share them till my end comes. Heavens gain is our loss , good bye old friend.
I found this picture of Eddie and me at the Canclone recording studio , December 2011.
He was recording the clarinet solo on Ciribiribin for my CD , Roller Coaster.
Guess what we hear from Mr. Levowitz from New York?
Watch the song on Youtube
Message from composer, Adam Levowitz
Greetings from New York!
I just happened to stumble upon your video of Sandstone and Marble and had to reach out and say thank you and bravo! Thank you for finding my music and liking it enough to put in the time and energy to rehearse and put it on your program! It is very flattering and humbling to me anytime a group chooses my music. I am truly grateful
Secondly, bravo for a job well done. I know the piece is not easy and you all did a wonderful job. Double bravo to the soloist. I, too, am a trumpet player, or was many moons ago.
I composed the piece specifically for Chuck Seipp who was a career musician in the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”. After writing the first draft, I played through the piece on my own and promptly patted myself on the back for still having the chops to play a pretty challenging trumpet piece. I dared to daydream that if things didn’t work out with Chuck, maybe I could play the solo with the Army Band at the premiere concert.
I sent the piece for Chuck to review, feeling his equal on the horn, or almost. About a day later he called me, told me he loved the piece but wondered if we could speed the piece up and remove all the slurs from the fast section so he could really dig into the sixteenth notes. Well, at that point I knew that needed to un-pat myself on the back because there was NO WAY now that I could event attempt to play the piece. So faster the piece went and more fire and double tonguing went in the fast sections making the piece more exciting than I had first thought. Happily, I keep my feet firmly in place at the podium and let Chuck wow the audience.
And clearly you wowed your audience as the reception was tremendous. And kudos to the entire ensemble. I love hearing all the little details performed beautifully, the oboe solo, the warm trombone chords, the sweeping French horns line, the technical passages in the wood winds and the power of the percussion.
Once again, congratulations and thank you!
All my very best,
Thank you for your support in making today’s concert a reality at Cummer Valley. Please share this message with John and the band. I have had a great deal of feedback from both staff and students and it has all been overwhelmingly positive. The programming was excellent, the musicianship tremendous and John Liddle is masterful in carrying us along the musical journey.
We are delighted with today’s concert.
Thank you very much.
Cummer Valley Middle School
Len Graf’s message to members of band:
After just over 2 years of being very happy together Joanne and I got married last Sunday at Sunnybrook Veteran’s Chapel (where my parents are staying) It was a small ceremony with mostly family attending. Her 7 year old son Jason carried the rings for us and Bill Bridges (guitarist and very good family friend I’ve known since I started playing music) was my best man.
We plan to have a big “reception” in the spring and everyone will be invited!
I would like to thank you for your recent appearance on September 3 at the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre. My dad, Donald, is in long term care there. He has recently had a hard time with memory and confusion. I took him to the show and was watching him and many of the veterans around me. Some appeared almost comatose and unable to keep their heads up but as soon as the music started, their heads came up, their eyes sparkled and they were moving their hands in time with the music and singing along. One gentleman with the personal license plate on his wheelchair that read “Georgy Porgy” was playing an imaginary set of drums including cymbals, and I wondered if he had been a drummer in his younger days. Dad has always loved music, especially big band. He so enjoyed your performance and his condition is much improved. Dad also got a real kick out of Eddie still performing and doing what he loves when most people would have long ago retired. It’s remarkable to see the healing power of music and how music can reach people in a way that nothing else can. Please know how much your commitment to perform for the veterans is appreciated and what a difference it made to those who attended. I hope you will be doing a return engagement sometime in the future.
Thank you for playing at the Unionville Bandstand Sunday to kickoff our summer concert series! We created a short video from clips/photos of the show, and you can check it out at http://www.mcband.ca/check-out-the-first-show-in-our-concert-sundays-series/ if you’d like.
See the message below from the Brighton School: (posted May 5, 2016)
The concert was amazing. Thank you so much!!!!!! Everything worked liked clockwork!!!!!
Such an amazing event. Thank you so much! I just can’t seem to thank you enough.
Head, Elementary Programs and Admissions
Letter from Colin Gibson of Alzheimer Society of Toronto on Eddie Graf story
Oct 29, 2015
Hello Mary and Ivy!As Stephe mentioned, I’m fascinated by this story and I’m a huge music lover. So I’m definitely going to the next performance. (Encore Band concert on Nov 5, 2015)Also I am writing up a post about this for our blog (planning to do that tomorrow)—I’m so glad there are people cataloging and collecting this work! I’ll let everyone know when our blog post is ready and scheduled.
Alzheimer Society of Toronto
Oct 30, 2015
More from Colin Gibson:
Just listened to Trade Winds for the first time and I wept. Beautiful stuff. Eddie is a genius and the Encore band is wonderful and sublime. Thank you for pointing me toward the videos!
A response from Stephen Perry of the Alzheimer Society of Canada to CBC Metro morning program, on beneficial effects that music has on stimulating people with dementia Oct 26, 2015
Hi Mary, (Mary Wiens is reporter for CBC Metro Morning)It is so nice to get a response back from you. I am a regular listener of Metro Morning and have heard and enjoyed quite a few of your stories. So the Eddie Graf story was interesting to me because the story talked about the power that music has with helping people with memory loss. At an International Alzheimer’s Disease conference that we hosted a few years back in Toronto we launched a video called the Power of Music that also captures some similar stories like the one described with Eddie. We have put it up a clip on-line at the Alzheimer Society at http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/We-can-help/Resources/Power-of-musicBut Eddie’s music was so beautiful and he composed these intricate pieces, which had even more impact when you hear about how he doesn’t remember them very well anymore. But it was inspiring to hear how the community group was rallying and performing his pieces with Eddie being involved. People with memory lose often get alienated from participation in events like this.
I have shared your e-mail with Tina Barduhn at the Alzheimer Society of Toronto who is the Director of Community Engagement. She sent me a quick response saying she was going to share the link through their social media channels, but she was very excited to hear about the piece when I told her about it on Friday. She has also asked some of her staff to look into making a blog with your story.
The Alzheimer Society of Toronto has a neat program called the I-Pod project, which is based on the beneficial effects that music has on stimulating people with dementia. They give out i-pods, the playlist can be customized and it works with today’s technology. Other societies across Canada have music therapy programs in their day programs but the i-pod project is very unique. I am not doing justice to their program and you can read more about it on their website at http://alz.to/get-help/ipod-project/
Thank you for getting Eddie’s story on-line so that others could hear it. I will also share this with the Manager of media Relations at the national office. Tina will be in touch with any updates on how your story gets leveraged. It was a beautiful piece.
Alzheimer Society of Canada