The CanUS Hot Jazz Band performs before hundreds of music fans during the Little Qualicum Cheeseworks’ Jazz, Tea and Cheesecake event in 2017. The band is back at Morningstar Farm in Parksville to perform at Jazz, Tea and Cheesecake once again, this time on July 15, 2018. — NEWS File Photo

CanUS Jazz Band back for Morningstar Farm event in Parksville

Morningstar Farm’s annual jazz concert takes place July 15

It’s one more time to Morningstar Farm for the CanUS Hot Jazz Band, who will be performing once again at the annual Jazz, Tea and Cheesecake event taking place at the farm Sunday, July 15.

The event, now in its 13th year, combines cheesecake, fruit wine samples, tea and coffee, an outdoor stage and experienced jazz musicians for an afternoon.

Back again after their first performance at Morningstar Farm last year is the CanUS Hot Jazz Band, so named for their American and Canadian members.

Playing on a farm is quite a different experience for a band used to smoke-filled clubs (back in the day), said the band’s leader, Toni Blodgett.

“It was a wonderful experience,” she said of last year’s event, noting that they felt so close to nature that, “if the drummer had fallen off his stool, he would have been right in the creek,” with a laugh.

“It was just idyllic, it was lovely,” said Blodgett.

The band has its roots in 1991, when Blodgett had the idea of putting a quartet together.

“Because we didn’t have a big full horn section, we elected to do some singing and one of the things that drove me to form the band was my love of a little trio of singers from New Orleans called the Boswell Sisters,” said Blodgett.

Blodgett’s bandmate, Joey Smith (bass and vocals) re-arranged some Boswell Sisters music, turning it from a three-girl work to something Blodgett and two guys could pull off.

“That’s how we began,” said Blodgett, adding that the band did a good amount of touring right into 2006.

“And the reason we got to travel all over the United States and Western Canada… was because we were so different. Yes we play Dixieland, yes we play some old 1940s swing tunes and Benny Goodman and so-on, but the thing that made us standout was we had this repertoire that nobody else was doing.”

It’s a sound that Ray Haynes (organizer of the event and father to own of the farm’s owners) is happy to have return.

“It’s kind of a blend of New Orleans, Dixie and the vocal music of the Boswell Sisters,” he said.

“People leave tapping their feet, sniffing the air and just feeling a great sense of peace and satisfaction.”

Taking place at Morningstar Farm (403 Lowry’s Rd. in Parksville) from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for students, and those under five years old get in for free.

They can be purchased at the farm, at Mulberry Bush bookstores or at Cranky Dog Music in Parksville.

Haynes noted that he encourages young people to come check out the music.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair.

Haynes also noted that “one more time” may also be applicable to the Jazz, Tea and Cheesecake event as a whole, saying there may be some changes in the works for following years. He suggested a change of musical genre is possible, but nothing has been decided, he said.

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