Monday Magazine contributor
For almost a year, Victoria blues musicians and fans have been celebrating Eric LeBlanc’s contribution to the local music scene with a series of Blues for Eric benefit concerts.
For 33 years LeBlanc was one of the world’s great disc jockeys, serving up an authoritative, weekly radio show on University of Victoria’s tiny CFUV-FM. Listeners all over the world listened to Eric’s Let the Good Times Roll on the web. LeBlanc also co-authored Blues: A Regional Experience with Australian writer Bob Eagle in 2013 and taught courses in the history of jazz and blues at Victoria Conservatory of Music.
When Eric died of cancer, friends and fans who missed his raspy, Quebecois-accented radio voice, deep knowledge of the blues, and warm and generous personality established the Eric LeBlanc Memorial Scholarship at University of Victoria, for students in the school’s jazz program.
They’ve hosted a series of inspired, fundraising performances at The Oaks Restaurant and Tea Room in Oak Bay Village, including standout Blues for Eric benefit concerts by Bill Johnson, Dave Harris, David Essig, Trio Espresso featuring jazz vocalist Carol Sokoloff, and a rollicking, sold-out reunion show by Children of Celebrities.
On Saturday, Feb. 23 at The Oaks, Sidewalk Trio reunite for what promises to be one of the highlights of this season’s local musical offerings. Featuring slide guitar and dobro playing of Vancouver Island Music Festival founder and musical director, Doug Cox, alongside his old bandmates, guitarist Ken Hall and bassist Rick May, the veteran trio’s return to a local stage is cause for celebration. Tickets are $20 at The Oaks (2250 Oak Bay Ave. cash only), and the 7 p.m. show is likely to sell out the intimate, 100-seat venue. Don’t miss it. Highly recommended.
On March 16 at 7 p.m. SP and Johnny’s Rhumba Kings perform their swampy, New Orleans-inspired music for another Blues for Eric benefit concert at The Oaks. That should be a great evening, too.
You make a tax deductible donation to the scholarship fund. Simply select “Other” under designation, then type in Eric LeBlanc Memorial Scholarship in the “other” box.
If sending a cheque by mail, label it with “for Eric LeBlanc Memorial Scholarship” on the envelope and send it to: University of Victoria Development Office, PO Box 1700, STN CSC Victoria, BC, V8W 2Y2. Your tax receipt will be issued by UVic.