Jazz is back at Morningstar Farm for the 12th edition of Jazz, Tea and Cheesecake on Sunday, July 16. Here’s a view of a previous year’s performers. — File photo

Toe-tapping to tea and cheesecake in Parksville

Annual jazz concert at Morningstar Farm takes place July 16

Sit in the grass, taste the cheesecake and tap your toe to jazz at Morningstar Farm.

This will be the 12th edition for Little Qualicum Cheesework’s Jazz, Tea and Cheesecake event, and organizers are proud to have some impressive jazz talent performing this year, said Ray Haynes.

Father to Nancy Gourlay who, with her husband Clark Gourlay, own Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, Haynes said the Jazz, Tea and Cheesecake event came about from a yearning to share both the farm and jazz with the community.

“We are very fortunate to have one of the more beautiful farms in the general area,” said Haynes. “People love the ambiance, and I’m a bit of a jazz freak, so we thought, ‘Why don’t we do something and try to get the word ‘cheese’ into it?”

Now 12 years into the endeavour, Haynes said he’s excited to welcome the CanUS Hot Jazz Band, and Vancouver jazz artist Karin Plato to this year’s event on Sunday, July 16.

The six-piece band kicks off the music, who are known for playing Dixieland and swing favourites with a strong vocal component.

“They are a very experienced group, and we’re honoured to have them,” said Haynes of the CanUS Hot Jazz Band, which is made up of two Americans and four Canadians.

The group has performed in jazz festivals across North America, including the Kentucky Center in Washington, D.C., and recently have been playing twice a month at Hermann’s Jazz Club in Victoria.

“We’ve got a very, very top group here,” said Haynes.

Plato will provide a contrasting approach to jazz, he said.

“(The CanUS Hot Jazz Band) do this toe-tapping thing, and I thought it would be fun to have someone with almost a spiritual aspect toward jazz,” said Haynes.

Plato, originally from Saskatchewan, received a bachelor of music in piano and voice and moved to Vancouver to study jazz.

She’s since released several albums, and was nominated for a Juno for There’s Beauty in the Rain.

Plato will be singing, playing piano and the ukulele, with her husband playing guitar.

Haynes said he hopes the whole event will give people a sense of respite.

“Somebody said one time that people go to concerts to be healed… people go to be refreshed or renewed… and even without hearing a note, I think they are going to find the ambiance is refreshing and you’re going to get something,” said Haynes.

Tickets for the event are $25 for adults, and $10 for students. Tickets include wine tasting.

They can be purchased at the farm’s Farmgate Store, Mulberry Bush Books, Cranky Dog Music or at the door. The event runs July 16 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.

Morningstar Farm is located at 403 Lowry’s Rd. in Parksville.

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