Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’


What do you know! ‘Tis AUTUMN

October 2, 2019

I am somewhat surprised and yet willing to accept the fact that Autumn has indeed arrived. Summer was wonderful and filled with music and vacation time too.

I’m back to teaching in my music studio and I certainly do have some interesting piano and voice students ranging from very young to much older. Some like jazz. Some like classical music. Some are pop singer-songwriters. Some are absolute beginners. My task? To help teach and guide and motivate and cultivate the joy of music no matter what genre my students are interested in studying.

I still have space for new students in case someone out there is considering lessons. Note: typically, my music room is far more cluttered than this photo indicates and that is a fact! Often song books and piano books begin to pile up during the week. There is table for that specific purpose and every once in awhile I decide to place books back on the shelf in an attempt to keep things tidy, at least for a day or so. Ha!


Aside from my teaching I have some lovely opportunities to perform coming up, here in Vancouver and also in Toronto and I am certainly excited about the month of October.

Soon, I’ll be singing at Vancouver’s premiere jazz club: October 11th at Frankie’s!  I’m delighted about sharing some of the music I’ve been working on this past September. I’ll be singing lots of jazz standards, some are new to me and others I have revised after many years of neglecting or “resting” them. I have one new original that I will debut that evening with my band mates. Reservations can be made here: Frankie’s Jazz Club


Just a week later I will be heading to Toronto to attend the Audio Festival and the Vinyl Festival and, even more exciting to me, I’ll be singing two exclusive concerts with the acclaimed Mark Eisenman Trio. The one of a kind “Jazz In The Kitchen” concert series is where these performances will take place and tickets are available here: Jazz In The Kitchen


Last but certainly not least it’s time for the new Joy of Jazz Concert season to kick off and Sunday October 27 will be a doozy! Kate Hammett-Vaughan and I will be joined by Miles Black and Conrad Good and the evening will be a Cole Porter celebration.

Many years ago Kate performed Porter themed concerts entitled “Kate Loves Cole”. We both love Cole! So, our concert is entitled “Let’s Do It” and we’ll definitely include that song as well as many others. Further information at the website: Joy of Jazz Concerts


Enjoy your Autumn days everyone!



What’s Your Story Morning Glory?

August 21, 2019

August greetings everyone! Here in my Vancouver garden the flowers seems content with today’s refreshing rain. Moments before the rain really kicked in, I ran outside to take a photo of my Morning Glory flowers. I love this blue! It’s a good day for me to write a blog about some of the music related projects in my life right now.


I have a new recording which will be officially released in December. It’s called “I’ll Send This Dream” and it is dedicated to the memory of Nancy Thorwardson, a musician who really made an impact on many people with her songs, her sense of humour and her engaging personality. She is dearly missed. Check out more about Nancy at her website:

I consider myself lucky to make music with and record with mandolin star John Reischman and incredible guitarist John Miller.  I admire and respect the musicality of both these men so much! Recording engineer Marc L’Esperance  was able to record us “live off the floor” here in our dining room and I am very happy with the end result. It’s natural and unadorned and just the way we like it! We recorded some beautiful jazz standards and we also included some original songs. We’ll be performing a CD release concert later in the year. Thank you to Paul Norton for the graphic design:


I’ve been putting the finishing touches on the next Joy of Jazz Concert Series for 2019-2020. These concerts take place at Hood 29 on Main Street and this year we’re presenting the concerts on Sunday evenings: October 27, December 15, February 23 and April 26. These are early evening concerts starting at 7:30 PM so even people who are working the next morning will (hopefully) consider attending. This is my labour of love series! I am part of each concert however some of my personal pleasure comes from hearing my fellow musicians in performance together and in solo presentations as well. Web-Meister Paul Norton will have the new website up and running soon. Here’s a link to last year’s series: 

Take a look at who is involved in the 2019/2020 series!! Yeah, it’s going to be a doozy…


There may be one more “Plato Pop Up Performance” which will be part of this series in 2020. I’m still scheming…

Enjoy the rest of your summer days everyone and thanks for reading my blog.



She Can Bloom

March 2, 2019

March is the month that signifies the beginning of a new season. It’s also the month when I’m involved in assisting with and performing as part of the Strong Women Strong Music concerts. These fund raising events specifically help Enterprising Women Making Art (EWMA), a program of Atira Women’s Resource Society based in Vancouver. This will be the 13th year we’ve presented women in jazz performing these concerts.

This year, since the SWSM concerts take place March 5-7 and, because International Women’s Day is actually Friday March 8th, I decided I’d like to produce another special event celebrating creative women artists. She Can Bloom will be an intimate community event which will take place on the Hood 29 Stage in East Vancouver. Hood 29 is a local Bistro with a warm and inviting atmosphere with a good stage and room to seat 100 people max. Expect spontaneous laughter, tears, joy and appreciation when these artists take to the stage with songs, poems, prose and thought provoking themes with wide ranging appeal. All are welcome to attend! Consider this a Dinner + Show event with the show starting at 8 PM, doors open for dinner by 6:30 PM.

Blooming Women composite

Five creative, intrepid & inspiring artists in collaborative and solo works:

Kristina Olsen -American based song-writer/multi-instrumentalist

Jodi Proznick – Juno Award winning bassist/composer/educator

Shauna Johannesen- Leo Award winning actor/writer/film maker

Kate Braid – Acclaimed Canadian poet/writer

Karin Plato – Juno nominated vocalist/composer

I am absolutely thrilled that these extraordinary women have agreed to perform for the ‘She Can Bloom’ project. These are women I have watched and listened to, have been inspired and deeply moved by. I have cried, I have laughed, I have cheered for these talented artists. I have read the poems, books and songs that they have written. I have watched their films and plays. I have listened to their recordings and in some cases I have been able to share the stage with them. Now, the Vancouver audience will be able to attend an evening featuring each of these creative women in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Advance tickets are available through (She Can Bloom) Here’s the link:

She Can Bloom Tix

She Can Bloom – Friday, March 8th – 8 PM at Hood 29 – 4470 Main Street Vancouver 



November 7, 2012


(part one)

As I write these words I am on board a southbound train heading for Portland with the purpose of going to hear vocalist Nancy King and pianist Steve Christofferson perform an evening of music. This performance won’t take place in a theatre or concert hall but rather in a Portland restaurant. Certainly Nancy & Steve are musicians of a particularly high caliber in the world but with jazz music and jazz musicians (perhaps other genres too), unless you are on a concert tour and booked into playing soft-seat theatres you are sharing your music in restaurants and bistros and cafes or wherever you are able or, hopefully in a designated jazz club where the audience is coming for the music first and foremost. I hope this is the case in Portland! The music that Nancy and Steve perform together is of an intimate and improvisational nature and,  they have played together for such a long time that there is an easy comfort and wonderful chemistry between them. They certainly should be famous and many fans and critics know that to be so. The circle of people who love their music and artistry grows as the word gets around about who they are and where they reside.

Time ticks on (isn’t that the truth!) and the decision was made to head down to Portland to “catch them while we can” because Nancy and Steve just aren’t performing that frequently and they certainly don’t get to Vancouver often. So…a train trip to see and hear two of my favorite artists and what a fun way to go.

This delightful train trip includes the rocking & swaying motion along  with occasional creaks and sounds that trains are known to make plus the stops and starts as people get on and people get off depending on where they are headed.  There is much gazing out the windows at the Autumn landscape on this grey day. Grey is a color I actually do like but it didn’t exactly inspire Irving Berlin to compose “Grey Skies” did it? Here heading down through Washington and into Oregon State many leaves are still on the trees and they are ablaze with color. There is also a carpet of leaves everywhere on the meadows and beneath the trees so there is a gorgeous contrast of the colors we associate with fall against the grey sky canvas. The rain is threatening or promising, depending on how one likes to view things. I’ll go with “promising” and then when it does, I can say “ok then, you had mentioned you’d be dropping by.”

Rain…Lately,  RAIN has been on my mind since, in Vancouver we continue to get lots of it as is the norm this time of year. The endless rainfall a few weeks inspired me to look up all song titles related to rain. I have written songs about the rain too! Certainly I found hundreds and hundreds and some of them very good ones indeed. Just last week I performed my new arrangement for a song about rain; a song that I  performed a figure skating solo  to when I was a teenager living on the prairies and, when I was presented the “Figure Skating Queen” award one year. The song is Burt Bacharach’s song “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”, a song forever associated with the movie “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid” more than it would be associated with my figure skating prowess. Ha!  Further on the topic of rain; I do know that living in Vancouver  (or perhaps all parts of the lower mainland) that we might see rain for days and days on end and it can make one feel tired since rain doesn’t seem to be the energy giving force that sunshine is. It’s true that rain really does affect certain people when it continues in that fashion. I actually do enjoy going for a run in the rain or a walk in the rain; the scent of the air, the sound of it landing on trees and roofs, the sensation of it on your skin. Still it’s true that certain other outdoor activities require further planning: umbrellas, boots, rain coats. If you’re a musician It does seem to be a great time for being inside with one’s instrument working at the craft of music composing, playing, arranging, listening so I for one hope not to complain too much about the “green maker” which (at least in Vancouver) gives us green landscapes through the year.

I TOOK A TRIP ON A TRAIN  (part two)

I write this entry on the return train trip to Vancouver after being in Portland for a few days. The performance by Nancy King and pianist Steve Christofferson was an absolute highlight and going to see them was the primary reason for going in the first place. In particular, Nancy and Steve are well known for the duo work they do (on recordings and in live performance)  but this time the group size was enhanced with a flutist, an acoustic bassist and a drummer. (drummer Todd Strait!!!) Before the first downbeat I wondered whether the magic intimacy of the duo format would be consumed or over shadowed  by the greater decibels and energy of this larger ensemble. Most delightfully that didn’t occur at all. There was such high level of musicianship and,  of mutual admiration between these great musicians and the only thing that mattered with each tune was the communal sharing of the mood, story, improvisation and life of the song. No charts were used all night with just a few seconds of conversation about each tune selected. Everyone was on their game, so to speak, and  Nancy, simply put,  CANNOT sing a bad note. She is what I call (and who many know to be) a fearless artist. There’s never a doubt that any note or sound color that comes to her imagination in the moment of singing, will arrive on time, in tune, surprising and complete. She’s absolutely born to sing this music. There’s never a doubt that she will connect with the story of a lyric, with the rhythm or groove that the band is playing, with some higher power she must tap into I suppose. A jazz performance of that calibre is exactly what I love about music and is exactly why I feel so lucky to study this music and its concepts and to (hopefully) improve my musicianship skills with each new experience whether that is through my own study or whether it is because my ears and mind are once again opened when I hear such greatness.

A performance such as Nancy and Steve and their friends is a reminder to me that most jazz musicians are doing this music because they are strongly drawn to it and they love it  and not because it may draw a huge audience. It would be lovely for the artists to be able to attract greater audiences but I see (and have known for some time) that great jazz artists don’t always translate into great numbers in the audience. As I noted in my posting on my trip down to Portland, I knew in advance that this performance would be in a restaurant and I had crossed my fingers that it would be a listening audience. How wonderful to have the room packed with people who enjoyed their food and drink BUT they were there for the music and they (we) clung to every note. It may be true that on occasion there are theatre performances but probably for the most part the venues are smaller if one is performing in one’s home city regularly.  And so I head into deep Autumn newly inspired and thankful for all I have seen & heard…