Monday, April 14, 2014

A Cappella Jam at the Wychwood Barns

CSLH graphicThanks to one of our regular front desk volunteers at Jazz Fm , Jane I found out about this wonderful fun experience which happens  bi-monthly at the Wychwood Barns. It's called Circle Collective and is led by the effervescent Nicole Andre or Niki as she is known.

Isn't that a great enticement on the left? It's very true!!

It's also described as "mostly improvised, somes freestyle, always a capella".

There were about a dozen of us - most of us first timers with a range of ages and vocal experience - some admitted shower or even "stairwell" singers. Niki is a singer/songwriter who has studied with instructors from Berklee who in turn studied under the amazing Bobby McFerrin and were part of his original "Voicestra". If you've ever been to a Bobby McFerrin concert you know what an uplifting experience that can be!

We did some warm up and after determining our range were grouped with like individuals in a cozy circle. Niki started phrases and then gave each section their own phrase until we produced an amazing whole from interesting parts. Those who felt brave (not me this time) could step into the circle and "freestyle". I am not doing a great job on explaining it suffice to stay you have to come and experience this!

Niki said she realized after studying at Berklee that there wasn't anything like this going on in Toronto -so kudos to her for initiating this project.

Check out the website for upcoming collectives:

S Lefkowitz and appreciation of Jazz FM volunteers

S Lefkowitz Toronto
Photo from BlogTo. I think the hummous I had is on the right.

 In the former location of Ezra Pound - a mighty fine coffee shop is now one of the latest trends in Toronto - Mediterranean food and in this case homemade hummous. It is being referred to as a hummuseria.

I dropped in for lunch on a nice sunny day last week and enjoyed the hummous with warm olives which come with warm pita bread and also sipped a refreshing mint tea - made with fresh mint - how very springlike.

The owner - Ezra Braves is super smart to convert his place because as much as I love cafes, we are becoming a bit oversaturated with them.

There are variations on the hummous toppings - including some for meat eaters, eggs, tahini and labneh and also green salad as well as a medjool date concoction with mint and orange rosewater syrup. You can order snack size for full meal size - that was quite satisfying for my lunch. I can't wait to go back and enjoy the outdoor patio.

This past week was volunteer week and we had a wonderful (catered) celebration of our great Jazz FM volunteers - including moi at the station and a Live to Air concert. Jaymz Bee was our host with the most and it featured performances from Big Rude Jake, the delightful Barbara Lica, Heather Bambrick, math professor by day/crooner by night fabulous Sam Broverman and to my delight Carolyn Credico - one of our "Jazzology" graduates from Mohawk. Thanks to Churchill Cellars for the lovely tipples i.e. wine - I particularly enjoyed a Spanish Rose. Volunteers are the life blood of the station as Bernie Webber and Ross Porter pointed out and we like to think we have the best volunteers out there!