Friday, April 12, 2024

Music Scene in Aurora – Local Aurora Talent Showcase

By John Abel. Let me write about local Aurora talent today. Each community has it’s own unique identity. Subtle, between neighboring communities, but as we pass through regions and the provinces there are significant, distinct differences.

When I was in Halifax last year, I had the pleasure of checking out a few of the pubs providing entertainment. The Halifax downtown core has great pedestrian traffic, so the pubs are busy. The bands were fantastic, rich with that Celtic flavour, guitars, fiddle, and great harmonies. I would say, it’s a style of the maritime, folk, rock, but distinct to this region of Canada.

Does York Region/Toronto/Ontario have a unique style? Good question. And the answer is absolutely. Probably several styles as we have so many varied cultures here in comparison. Southern Ontario has its own unique distinct style as does Montreal, Quebec, and the Maritimes.

“Who knows what Aurora talent exist below our radar within our community.”

I would like to talk about local artists/bands that are performing in our local Aurora pubs and at the many major community events like Ribfest, Concerts in the Park and the Aurora Jazz+ Festival. Performers who hail from, or live in Aurora, and/or perform frequently here in Aurora. I would find it interesting to know, how and where did these talents nurture themselves?

Glenn Marais, hails from Aurora, is an acoustic, Pop, recording artist who performs frequently at events in Aurora. This year, Glenn has appeared at the Canada Day Celebrations, the Aurora Jazz+ Festival, and a few times at the Sgt Peppers Pub and Grill. Glenn is a singer songwriter, talented musician, excellent performer, but above all a great humanitarian. Glenn teaches guitar and serves as a tower of hope and inspiration for our youth, and the under privileged children within our world.

The gem of all venues in Aurora is Lou Moore on Thursdays at King Henry’s Arms, starting at 9 PM. Lou Moore hails from Richmond Hill, however Lou has lived and performed in Aurora for past 10 years. So Lou is now Aurora’s own. Lou has been teaching guitar at all levels for 40 years. Go to youtube and check out “A Leafs Dream”.

This is a song his father Doug Moore wrote in the glory days of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the early 1960’s. But the best is the showcase of Aurora talent that Lou consistently delivers every single week! It’s a Who’s who of Southern Ontario musicians at every level over the last 40 years. We’re so lucky they reside in our region. It’s been called the “Bullpen” and it so deep, with 20+ of the finest musicians you’ll find anywhere! That’s another article for another day.

Sgt Peppers Pub and Grill in the Walmart plaza features Pat Mete, along with Ck Armstrong on the 5 string base and Jamie Persaud on the drum-kit. Every Wednesday night, starting at 8 PM. Pat opens with the band for a set of varied covers. Great tunes, as Pat possesses a smooth rich vocal with a solid, complete band compliment. After which the evening proceeds to an open mic format.

Jonathan’s Restaurant features a weekly Song Circle with Patty McLaughlin and Friends, and recently celebrated its 7th year. This Tuesday evening get together (7:00 PM to 10:00 PM) allows local amateur musicians the opportunity to perform along with Patty and Bass player Paul Snelgrove. It’s casual, fun and attracts a big audience. Note that occasionally the first Tuesday of the month is moved to the Wednesday.

Another great local Aurora talent is Paul Ellis and his present band called the Dustaleros. Paul has been performing for over 30 years, and I believe this band crystallized from the Rise’n Shine Breakfast at the United Church held every Saturday morning during the winter months (November – March). There are many volunteers, one of the founders is local keyboardist, David Pilkey. David brought music to the breakfast and together with Paul and other fine musicians play background songs for the patrons. Entering its 4th year, it has developed into an excellent showcase as Paul invites others to join in.

There’s plenty more local Aurora talent, if you consider the multiple Juno Award winners – the Good Brothers. Performing most recently at the Concert in the Park and this year at the Magna Hoedown. They have lots of friends here and they know Aurora. There’s Delaney Drive, the Coyotes, the Manatee Band, Thursday Night Jam Band, Aurora Community Band, George and Alex St. Kitts, Al & Trudy Yetman’s Gig Centre. There is some fine upstart talents like Stacey Kaniuk, Kevin Myles Wilson, and Danielle Bourjeaurd. I’m sure I have missed many more. My apologies, no slight intended.

So to find out what is happening, I would encourage those who want to keep up with the music scene in and around Aurora, go to the new website MusicLynk Magazine. You’ll find about local regional coverage, reviews, general interest, articles, speakeasy, events, interviews, even a radio station exclusively dedicated solely to music in the York Region.

Established artist had to start somewhere, and likely gained their performing stripes at events such as Music in the Park, or Aurora Idol. Who knows what talent exist below our radar within our community. These programs nurture that Aurora talent and makes our community that much richer in cultural fabric.

I think we should be encouraging the next generation to come forth. The Town does hold an Aurora Idol. The Region host the Celebration of the Arts. And wow, is there ever a lot of very talented teenagers. When I was a student growing up in Don Mills, a neighboring Drop in Centre (in a portable no less) was inviting us to watch a newly formed trio of teenagers making their debut. I didn’t go, but I do recall the following week in our local newspaper, The Mirror, the trio was called Rush. You never know.

It should be noted that established artist in Aurora, like Glenn Marias, Lou Moore, Patty McLaughlin and Paul Ellis give back to the community. They teach our young musicians and provide venues to showcase their talents.

This is why the Music in the Park program is so important. To allow local, budding Aurora talent a venue to perform in our Town Park Band Shell on Saturdays during the summer months.

On September 22, 2012, there were 15 local artist that performed in our Town Park Band Shell.

Music in the Park, held Saturday mornings along side of the Aurora Farmers Market is an initiative of the Town Council. It’s on a trial basis, and the final showcase is Saturday October 13th, 2012. From 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, again at the Town Park Band Shell.

Come do some shopping at the fabulous Farmers Market and enjoy the sounds of our local musicians. You’ll be delighted, I’m sure!

John Abel
Councillor, Town of Aurora ON


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