East Ender Jill Léger recently celebrated the fifth year of her monthly Jill’s Living Room musical theatre open mic night.
The open mic series is open to performers or even just fans of musical theatre who want to sit and listen. Participants range from amateurs to professionals, from those hoping to test new material to singers simply looking for a chance to belt out a tune with a professional pianist providing the backup music.
“I started Jill’s Living Room kind of selfishly,” said Léger, also a songwriter and lyricist, in an email.
“In 2010 I had just started taking voice lessons and was looking for a place where I could publicly try out some of the techniques I was learning and not feel embarrassed if I couldn’t hit a note or if I forgot to breathe. And as a songwriter, I also wanted a place where I could sometimes test-drive my own material.”
The first Jill’s Living Room took place at a Second City Training Centre rehearsal room downtown. While attendance was light then, word of mouth spread and typical events now draw about 15 singers.
Jill’s Living Room relocated to the Red Sandcastle Theatre at Queen and Logan in 2012, with the help and support of theatre owner Rosemary Doyle.
The current roster of pianists includes Michael Barber, Chris Tsujiuchi, Paul Moody, and Jim Clayton. The age and experience level of singers ranges widely, said Léger.
“We have kids get up and belt tunes from Annie. We have folks in their 60s doing standards. We have first-time performers and people who have sung on Broadway,” she said. “I sometimes think of renaming the event ‘What’s that from?’ because so many times someone performs some obscure, fabulous gem and everyone then wants to know the details so they can look it up.”
Jill’s Living Room takes place on the last Monday of every month at the Red Sandcastle Theatre from 8 to 10 p.m. A $10 admission covers the cost of the space rental and the musical accompaniment.
Jazzy Sundays continue at Morgans on the Danforth, 1282 Danforth Ave., from 2 to 5 p.m. with no cover charge.
On Sunday, July 26, Lisa Particelli’s ‘Girls Night Out’ jazz jam – where gentlemen are welcome too! – will take the stage. Two weeks later, on Aug. 8, the Thyron Lee Whyte Band will be joined by David Restivo on piano. Chris Tsujiuchi will play Sunday, Aug. 15 with Ross MacIntyre on bass and Darrell Clifton on percussion. On Aug. 22, BOOM FOR RENT will play, with Reg Schwager on guitar, Alexis Baro on trumpet and Brendan Davies on bass.
Toronto Beach Chorale is offering a second season of free membership to young adults, 19 to 25 years old, in the TBC Choral Scholars Program.
Auditions will be held in early September for young singers hoping to enhance their vocal skills and gain quality concert experience.
The choir rehearses and performs in the Beach area under artistic director Mervin W. Fick. There are weekly rehearsals and the choir will perform four concerts in its 2015/2016 season.
For more information call David at 416-699-6634 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.