Susan Boyle: Dreams Really Do Come True – Just Have Faith & Believe

I Dream a Dream

By Natasha Slinko

It is said that dreams do come true, and on January 21st 2009, Scottish-born Susan Boyle took one extraordinary leap of faith to achieve her dream by stepping completely out of her comfort zone, auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent to follow her one true passion – singing.

'I Dreamed A Dream’, a song made famous by the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical Les Misérables, was Boyle’s song of choice.

Boyle stepped onto the stage, only to be ridiculed by the judges and the audience alike, as they assumed and promptly judged a book by its cover, disvaluing anything else that was present, such as the human heart and the human spirit. How brave and resilient she was in the light of their scorn.

Then history was made as Boyle began to sing “I dream a dream in time gone by, when hope was high, and life worth living. I dreamed that love would never die, I dreamed that God would be forgiving…” You could have heard a pin drop.

Younger Crowd Drawn to Symphony Concerts

Nova Scotia Sypmhony


Thursday night in the Dunn Theatre, Symphony Nova Scotia found the audience it has been longing to find. For the first time in years white hair was outnumbered by dark as the orchestra played a program of entirely new Canadian music for the opening concert of the Canadian New Music Network’s Forum 2010.

The hall was packed.

Following the last work on the program, Dalhousie composition professor Jerome Blais’s setting of a Yiddish folk tune (Dremlen Feigl oyf di tsvaygn), the audience gave a standing ovation. It was probably as much for conductor Bernard Gueller and Symphony Nova Scotia as for Blais’s powerful music and the other five composers on the program.

The Dave Young Quartet

Dave Young

Reviewed by Bill McDonald
Cashbox Canada Jazz Writer

With every concert and every recording, whether as a band leader or sideman, Dave Young reminds us why he is one of Canada’s premier bassists and jazz musicians. His latest CD, Mean What You Say, is no exception. Along with Kevin Turcotte (trumpet), Robi Botos (piano), and Frank Botos (drums), he performs a variety of songs from well known jazz composers, as well as three of his own.

There are many soloing highlights from all of the performers. On ‘Will You Still Be Mine’, Young shows his mastery of the bow in his own solo. There is the uncommon trumpet and bass duet by Turcotte and Young on Celia. As usual, any solo Robbi Botos touches turns to gold, although his work on ‘Seven Minds’ is a personal favourite. Brother Frank Botos lays down driving rhythms throughout.

Canadian jazz is alive and well.

Oliver Jones and Hank Jones

Oliver and Hank Jones

Reviewed by Bill McDonald
Cashbox Canada Jazz Writer

Two jazz titans on two grand pianos, and one great CD. Long time friends Oliver Jones and Hank Jones had previously played together in concerts. It is wonderful to capture their combined virtuosity in a studio recording.

On the first three tracks – What Am I Here For, Groove Merchant, and Ripples – they are backed by two young talents Brandi Disterheft on bass and Jim Doxas on drums. Two other tracks – Monk’s Mood and Lonely Women feature Hank Jones solo. The remaining tracks are Oliver Jones and Hank Jones duets, which reflect, quite simply, two timeless jazz masters.

Within the duet tracks is a clear tribute to their mutual friend, the late Oscar Peterson with two of his well known compositions, Blues For Big Scotia and Cakewalk. As well, there is Oliver Jones own tribute, I Remember OP.

Thank you, Oliver. Thank you, Hank. Somewhere Oscar is smiling.

Blue Tattoo at the Black Swan, October 10, 2009 Toronto

Blue Tattoo

Reviewed by Sandy Graham

When you first see Joe Mavety off stage, you think what a sweet looking man, but rock guitar star? Doubtful.

The second he straps on his Firebird Gibson guitar he is transformed into guitar guru before your very eyes (and ears).

Starting off his concert at the legendary Black Swan, Mavety says “let’s keep it mellow for a little while.” and lulls the audience into a soft jazz instrumental that is comforting to listen to and all about the music. He then plays ‘Broken English’, the song that was a hit for Marianne Faithfull and co written by Mavety in 1979, when Mavety was her guitarist and musical director touring Great Britain.

His choice of material is brilliant, taking his fans to musical heights with Dylan’s wistful ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’, a song my Cashbox colleague Kathy Hahn (in attendance as well) thought should be re-released again immediately for commercial airplay.

Blurred Vision Live in Mel Lastman Square, Toronto

Blurred Vision

By Alistair Kael

Blurred Vision provided the ideal alternative for Toronto International Film Festival crowds who were looking to shake things up outside the regular film fare.  The second day of the festival here was also Quds Day in Persian culture - a time to show support for the oppressed and an ideal time for gathering as the sun dimmed over the glistening parabola of the amphitheatre at Mel Lastman Square in Toronto, Ontario.

This concert was aligned with other events occurring in the free world meant to draw attention to the impending arrival of Iran's dictator for a meeting at the United Nations in New York on September 24. The same United Nations that published the first charter on human rights which was drafted by the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 B.C. The same building where the entrance to the Hall of Nations is graced by a poem on human rights penned by the Persian Sufi and poet, Sa'adi.

Sass Jordan CD Release Party, Live at Hugh's Room

By Chris and Kathy Hahn

On a busy summer night in the midst of Toronto International Film Festival movie madness, there was no  better place to be for more than 200 fans than Hugh’s Room on Saturday, September 12 – packed into the CD release party for Canada’s rock icon, Sass Jordan celebrating her latest offering “FROM DUSK TIL’ DAWN.”

Choosing an intimate venue for her highly anticipated eighth recording (featuring the debut single, “Why Did You”) a dedicated crowd was entitled to a rare showing from Sass, former Canadian Idol judge and an award-winning singer, performer, composer and platinum-plus recording artist. The up-close and personal setting provided a welcomed alternative to the glitter of big concert stages and TV lights.

Ian Tyson Yellowhead to Yellowstone and Other Love Stories

Ian Tyson

By Don Graham

I have been listening to Ian Tyson since the mid sixties. The steel guitar player in my band, Graham County, the late Ron Dann, played with him in the seventies. He had one of those instantly recognizable voices; a pure, rich tenor that wrapped itself around his well crafted, descriptive lyrics. Songs like Four Strong Winds, Someday Soon, Summer Wages and The Navajo Rug all showcased his vocal ability.

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