Nick La Riviere is one heckuva talented touring artist who still finds time to mentor high-energy community R&B bands like Soul Source. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen file)

Lexi Bainas column: Art, fundraising and jazz on tap this week

It’s almost time for the Cowichan Valley Performing Arts Foundation’s first Annual Gala.

Excellent Frameworks, the folks who told me to “just call him up” when I asked about E.J. Hughes and gave me an afternoon I will always remember, have passed along a note.

They are hosting a retrospective for Edie Miller until Oct. 6. “Her work spans almost seven decades, and we are very excited for her opening,” says Suzan Kostiuck, the owner.

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Olivia Boudreau, one of our favourite folks, reminded me this week that it’s almost time for the Cowichan Valley Performing Arts Foundation’s first Annual Gala.

If you don’t know about the Foundation, listen up. Their idea is to help talented students, whose families may be short on cash, to develop that talent. They’ve been quietly making a difference for some years now, but this is a new departure for them.

“One hundred per cent of the profits from this evening will go directly to programs in the Cowichan Valley,” Boudreau says. “This past intake, over $20,000 was requested by local families to allow students to participate in performing arts classes throughout the Valley. Unfortunately, the Foundation was only able to accommodate approximately half of the requests.”

And there are new plans afoot.

“The Foundation is also currently in the beginning stages of developing an instrument library for Cowichan Valley school teachers to use throughout the school year. The library will have full classroom sets of instruments to allow teachers to expand their music program. We are extremely excited about this project and hope that this event will not only help us raise funds to get this project underway but also bring awareness to the project in hopes to find corporate support,” she says.

On Saturday, Sept. 29, you can join other gala night supporters at Blue Grouse Winery for small plates and wine pairings.

“We will have a fresh-shucked oyster bar and entertainment throughout the night. Our silent auction is growing quickly and we have secured one week’s accommodations in Mexico as one of our feature items,” she says.

Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite and the link can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/145736402934840/.

“I am very passionate about providing our youth with the opportunity to experience performing arts as they provided me with life long skills and so many opportunities throughout my life,” Boudreau said.

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A high-energy 19-piece R&B band, the feel-good sounds of New Orleans, the magic of swing-era and show tunes…

I don’t know about you but my toes are tapping already.

It’s all coming to Pat’s House of Jazz, every Sunday at 2 p.m. in September at the Osborne Bay Pub. Your Host is Preston Davies for this cool series, presented by the Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society.

Soul Source takes the stage on Sunday, Sept. 16. For only $15, you can groove to a 19-piece community band led by red-hot trombonist Nick La Riviere.

If you want hard-driving R & B, they deliver. Expect everything from Stevie Wonder and Taylor Swift to Duffy, Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, the Supremes and more. With four singers, a big horn section and a big rhythm section, this is one fat sound.

The indefatigable La Riviere performs somewhere almost every day, frequently tours widely, plays regularly with the international touring band The Paperboys, and performs with many other bands including Michael Kaeshammer, Pretzel Logic and the Timebenders, yet still mentors community bands.

Connor Stewart & the Bon Temps take the stage Sept. 23 in Laissez les Bon Temps Roulez (let the good times roll)!

They’ve been packing them in with all the raw energy, boisterous harmonies and feel-good excitement of the Crescent City’s vibrant and varied jazz scene.

Led by woodwind sensation Connor Stewart on saxes, clarinet, and vocals, this talented quintet showcases a front-line of Stewart and fellow Big Easy international touring artists, including New Orleans native Doyle Cooper on trumpet and vocals, and a stellar New Orleans-based back-line of Aaron Levinson on drums and tambour, and Noah Gotfritt on upright bass, with Victoria-based John Lee joining them on keys.

Stewart honed his chops at Pat’s House of Jazz when he first started appearing here at age 16 — still too young to be in the bar unless he was on stage. But, when he moved to New Orleans the next year, he took off, becoming a bandleader, frontman, sideman, writer/arranger and studio recording artist.

He has led or played in bop/hard bop, trad/hot jazz, gypsy jazz, swing, blues, funk, rock and big bands and earned accolades at prominent jazz and music festivals and venues on multiple international tours.

On Sept. 30, it’s time for Dock Side Drive.

Tickets for this one are $20 apiece, as one of the West Coast’s hottest swing and show bands, presents A Swinging Sunday Afternoon.

Led by Heather Burns, this dynamic band re-creates the magic and the music of the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, so be sure to bring your dancin’ shoes. A repertoire including tunes from the likes of Ray Charles, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and the Beatles, delivered with witty repartee and impeccable harmonies, is all you need to know.

Vocalists Christopher Newstead, Angela Ireland and Fran Bitonti join Burns on keys and vocals, Don Leppard on drums, Dave Flello on trumpet and Paul Wainwright on sax.

Reservations are recommended for all these bands. Call 250-324-2245. Tables are held until 1:30 pm.

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