By Keith Tomasek, May 10, 2018
One of the highlights of my summer is always the Stratford Summer Music festival. It’s one of the most eclectic and exciting music festivals in the world. The respected British music journal, Gramophone, named Stratford Summer Music one of the top festivals on the continent and the only Canadian festival to make the distinguished list of the top twelve summer music sites.
The heart and soul of Stratford Summer Music is the artistic producer John A. Miller who will retire at the end of the 2018 season. As he planned the season with his departure looming, Miller invited back some musicians who made their mark in the past and hand-picked others to make their festival debut under his tenure.
Click on an image below to link to the respective performance
Stratford Summer Music has created a reputation for devising unique musical experiences that bring together musicians who would rarely appear together anywhere else.
On Monday, August 20, Ron Sexsmith teams up with musicians from Stratford’s INNERchamber, Music Director Andrew Chung, vocalist Barbara Fulton and narrator Mike Nadajewski. It’s the première performance of Ron Sexsmith’s new “Songs from Deer Life” with orchestrations by Ben Bolt-Martin.
Kiss The Cod at Stratford Summer Music
Back by popular demand, are The Ennis Sisters, Maureen, Teresa and Karen. Thursday, July 26, they’re performing with their Island kin, Bob, Mark, Chris and Billy a.k.a. Shanneyganock. There’s even an after-party at a secret location reserved for 100 attendees following the concert.
The Blind Boys of Alabama are returning Monday, July 30. I saw their energy-packed soul-stirring performance last time they were in town and highly recommend this multiple Grammy Award-winning act that the New York Times says reinvented gospel music by “adding jazz and blues idioms and turning up the volume.”
Favourite Friday Nights
The Cabaret series is always my favourite way to spend Friday nights in Stratford.
Friday, July 20 | Bruce Dow, A Funny Proposition
Another legendary Canadian performer returning to Stratford, who also happens to have been a guest on my podcast, is Bruce Dow who has received numerous awards for his work including the 2015 Helen Hayes Award and the 2014 Dora Mavor Moore Award for
Outstanding Performance. His endearing sense of humour and massive talent never disappoint.
Friday, July 27 | John MacLeod’s Rex Hotel Orchestra
If you’ve ever searched for jazz in Toronto, you’ve probably landed at the Rex Hotel. This summer some of Canada’s finest jazz and studio musicians, led by veteran jazz trumpeter John MacLeod, will be headlining the second Stratford Summer Music cabaret.
Friday, August 11 | Carole Pope, Mystery Tour
The legendary Canadian songstress Carole Pope returns to the Revival house. Before you see the show don’t miss my podcast with Ms. Pope recorded last time she performed at Revival House.
Friday, August 17 | Heather Bambrick’s Jazz Ceilidh
Rounding out the Cabaret series is the return of Heather Bambrick’s Jazz Ceilidh. It’s always a delightful evening with Heather at the helm. Someone once said that when Heather takes the stage, it’s as if “Ella Fitzgerald meets Carol Burnett at a Newfoundland Kitchen Party.” Backed by her quintet and her friends, the guys of Cadence, this will be a genuinely jazzy Newfoundland party.
There are many, many other excellent performances to see.
Visit Stratford Summer Music for the full schedule or click on any of the images above for concert details and tickets.
The season sponsor for Stratford Summer Music is Bard’s on Market Square.