Sylvan United Church of Mill Bay and avid Jazz aficionado Rev. Dr. Murray Groom launched a Jazz Vespers program in April 2005 with the assistance of Pat Selman as organizer and promoter. The popular once- monthly event (every third Saturday at 4:30) is held in the newly completed sanctuary-in-the-round nestled in a lovely woodland setting next to Shawnigan Creek.
On January 20th at 4:30 pm Sylvan United Church, 985 Shawnigan Mill Bay Rd, Mill Bay presents a special In Concert" program featuring Juno Nominated trombonist Ian McDougall and one of Vancouver's great pianists, Ron Johnston.
Born in Calgary and raised in Victoria, Ian McDougall began his 'professional' career at the young age of 12 when he joined the Victoria Local 247 of the American Federation of Musicians; the youngest person ever to join that local. His first gigs were in 1951 at the Club Sirocco.
In 1960 Ian traveled to the U.K. to see the world. When finances dwindled he rang band leader/composer John Dankworth and asked for an audition to join his band. Ten days later he found himself a full- fledged member of the best jazz big band in England.
Returning to Vancouver two years later he became a part of what was one of the most vibrant and active music scenes in North America. Ian played three years with the Vancouver Symphony, worked ice shows, circuses, CBC radio and television, and perhaps most importantly, The Cave, Vancouver's premier nightclub. While there, Ian performed with the biggest acts of the day; Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, the Supremes, Nat King Cole and Rosemary Clooney, among others.
Throughout the 1960s Ian worked extensively with CBC radio and obtained his Bachelor and Master of Music from the University of British Columbia. Ian formed a sextet, Pacific Salt, which became an inspirational group for the young jazz musicians of the time. Moving to Toronto in 1973, Ian was soon contacted by Rob McConnell and asked to join the Boss Brass, as lead and solo trombonist. The Boss Brass drew international attention during the 70s and 80s, and Ian's association with the band led to his own international recognition.
In 1988 Ian joined the faculty of the University of Victoria's School of Music, retiring in 2003. During his academic career Ian maintained an international profile as a performer, composer and arranger, and continues to do so. His compositions have been performed by the Toronto Symphony, the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Lafayette String Quartet, the Victoria Symphony, the Toronto Cantata Chorus, Brass West, Babayaga, and the BBC Big Band.
Ron Johnston - piano
Ron's early piano influence was Canadian jazz pianist Tommy Banks. At age seventeen Ron studied with Oscar Peterson, and continues to be inspired the playing of Bill Evans, Ron Kenny Baron, Renee Rosnes and Fred Hersch. He has worked and recorded w ith many great musicians including Guido Basso, Moe Koffman, Fraser MacPherson, Dee Daniels, George Robert, Clark Terry, June Katz, Joanie Taylor, and Paul Horn, with whom he played and toured for seven years. He was also one of the original founding members of the west coast sextet, Pacific Salt, whose work inspired many of the next generation of west coast jazz artists. Ron performs regularly with his own trio and also with his long time friends Oliver Gannon and Ian McDougall in the Ian McDougall Sextet. He also works with his own quartet - the Johnston/Stafford Quartet - with his longtime collaborator Jack Stafford. A gifted and prolific composer, his self-produced solo and trio CD, Remembering Tomorrow, was released in 2004.
Free will donations at the door and light refreshments following the program. Information 250/743-4301 or 743-4659