The Ian White Band returns to the Free Times Café, 320 College St., on May 2 from 8 p.m. onwards. White will be performing songs from his most recent CD, Wonder Grows, as well as a few new songs. The Ian White Band consists of White on guitar and vocals, Aldo Missio on mandolin and Bill MacLean on bass and harmony vocals. For more information visit ianwhite.org. For reservations at the Free Times, call 416-967-1078.
Kingston Road United Church is proud to present Vocal Gems, a concert by soprano Julia Dawson, May 5 at 1:30 p.m. at the church at 975 Kingston Rd. Dawson is the daughter of Tim Dawson, the man behind so many of the recent musical performances at KRUC, himself a bassist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Dawson recently earned her Masters Degree from Rice University in Houston, Texas, and is looking forward to studying voice at the famed Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia in September.
Dawson is expected to invite her father up to perform a duet for voice and bass by Beach composer Ed Hayes, a piece they played for her graduation recital. For more information visit juliadawsonsoprano.com.
Tickets for Vocal Gems are $20 for adults and $10 for students, with children 12 and under free. All proceeds go to the church’s ramp repair project. Tickets are available at the door or by calling 416-699-6091. For more information visit kruc.ca.
Building on the success of last year’s inaugural festival, SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival returns to Harbourfront May 9 to 12. Featuring world-class concert performances, school workshops and a public singalong, SING! is a weekend-long celebration of the voice.
“The response to last year’s festival was overwhelmingly positive,” said artistic director Aaron Jensen, former member of the successful Canadian a capella group Cadence. “Since then we’ve grown, both in size and with respect to artistic vision.”
This year the Swingle Singers, celebrating 50 years as one of the world’s top vocal groups, will take to the stage. Also performing in concert will be The Real Group, a Swedish vocal ensemble known for its pop originals and vocalese treatments of standards. A special tribute to Frank Busseri of The Four Lads called Moments to Remember will feature songs from the 50s and 60s.
Tickets can be purchased through the Harbourfront box office at 416-973-4000, or singtoronto.com/tickets.
SING! also offers vocal workshops for singers at every level, covering such topics as singing, songwriting, performance techniques and the business of music. A special school workshop day will be held for middle and high school ages, led by members of The Real Group.
Throughout the weekend there will be several free performances featuring vocal groups specializing in many diverse styles from jazz to gospel to choral. To cap off the weekend – giving new voice to the voice – the public is invited to join the festival performers, staff and volunteers in an inspirational singalong on May 12.
For more information or to register for any of the various workshops, visit singtoronto.com.
The Jeanine Mackie Band will be making a special appearance at The Old Mill, 21 Old Mill Rd., on May 11 from 8 p.m. to midnight in the dining room. Jeanine and her band have been popular mainstays at the Beaches International Jazz Festival every summer for years. They recently released an exciting live CD – Live at the Drake – which demonstrated why the band has such a dedicated fan base. Their renditions of traditional R&B tunes get people up on the dance floor. Expect plenty of dancing at the Old Mill. For more information visit the band’s website at jeaninemackieband.com.
Tickets to the Jeanine Mackie Band at the Old Mill are $15 from 416-236-2641 or online at oldmilltoronto.com.
Beach singer Peggy Mahon invites everyone to her sixth annual Interval House Benefit Concert, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave. in Yorkville. Joining Mahon for this special concert are Danny McErlain, piano, Dave Field, bass, and Don Vickery on the kit. Tickets are $30 and can be reserved by calling 416-698-2163. There will be a reception following the concert where you can meet Peggy and the band.
The Relish Bar & Grill, 2152 Danforth Ave., continues its weekly New Music Nights when Mushkat takes the stage Saturday, May 4 at 9:30 p.m. On May 11 catch singer-songwriter Alun Piggins. For a complete list of live entertainment call The Relish at 416-425-4664, or visit relishbarandgrill.com.
Beach singer-songwriter Piper Hayes launched her debut album, Live in NYC, at the El Mocambo last weekend. The New York City-born and Beach-raised performer studied musical theatre for two years, but decided to shift her focus to writing and performing her own tunes two years ago.
Live in NYC was recorded during a holiday visit stateside, where Hayes ended up playing a few unplanned shows, including the one where the album was recorded at Arlene’s Grocery. Danny Garcia of Firstlive Studios recorded the album, and Ray Montford of Toronto’s Soundhole Studio mastered it after Hayes returned home.
Live in NYC was recorded with just Hayes and an acoustic guitar. She describes it as “very raw, powerful, and full of bitter- sweet melodies … It is an album that allows one to reflect on their experiences and get lost in a world of darkness and light.”
Hayes recently started working with a band, including drummer Emory Martin and bassist Tosh Hero. She’s also started a Pledge Music campaign to promote the album and raise some funds to carry on with her fledgling musical career. The campaign is online at pledgemusic.com/projects/piperhayesliveinnyc.
Live in NYC is available through iTunes and Bandcamp. The hard copy cd will be available soon through Hayes’ website at pipersings.com.