Joe Coughlin reclaims the stage at the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre, once again to benefit the Sno’uyutth Legacy Scholarship.
Coughlin graced the stage in late 2015 to sing Sinatra’s songbook for the scholarship that grew out of the Sno’uyutth pole outside Oak Bay High. The traditional First Nations work that went up in November 2015 was a grassroots community project, led by the Community Association of Oak Bay, that raised nearly $100,000 for the Butch Dick design (carved by his son Clarence Dick).
That left funds rolled into the Sno’uyutth Legacy Scholarship augmented by Coughlin’s songbook showcase. “He hasn’t played Victoria since the Sinatra,” said Joseph Blake, organizer of the scholarship fundraiser.
This year, Coughlin, returns, donating his time and talents at Dave Dunnet Community Theatre backed by the swinging, Canadian all-star quartet of pianist Miles Black, guitarist Bill Coons, bassist Ken Lister and drummer Hans Verhoeven for another benefit concert for the Sno’uyutth Legacy Scholarship. Returning to the jazz standards from his album Saloon Standard – one of the multiple award-winning singer’s most popular recordings – Coughlin will celebrate songs made famous by Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Mark Murphy, Johnny Hartman and other jazz greats.
“I don’t know that he’s done it in Victoria before, the salute to the saloon singers,” said Blake. “When he does it, he’s just an encyclopedia of stories.”
Between songs Coughlin showcases the stories behind the songs, singers and songwriters.
“It’s almost as good as the vocals … embodies the history of the music. Every day he lives it,” Blake said.
A performer for more than three decades, Coughlin has proven himself in everything from heavy metal (he fronted Whiteheet, a successful Ontario metal band in the late ’70s) to adult contemporary (he scored a couple of Canadian top ten singles in the early ’90s), but since winning CBC’s Search for the Stars in 1979 and landing his first recording contract, he’s been most at home with the music of singers like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae and Johnny Hartman, vocalists rooted in jazz who can appeal to a wider audience.
Lister, A professional jazz bassist and teacher for over 30 years, has played, recorded and toured with some of the top musicians in the jazz world, winning the respect of his peers and two Juno Awards along the way. He has toured extensively, both across Canada and internationally; including the British Isles, Cuba, South and Central America, and Australia. Having started his career in the Vancouver music scene in the 1980s, Ken now lives on Vancouver Island, teaching and performing with many great local musicians. He maintains a connection with the Vancouver scene, which often finds him playing with visiting greats from New York City and elsewhere.
Verhoeven has lived and worked in some of the most vibrant music scenes in Canada and abroad. Recognized for his authenticity, playfulness and creativity, he has performed with a wide array of artists from Oscar Stagnaro, Ingrid and Christine Jensen, to Brad Turner, Phil Dwyer, PJ Perry, Brandi Disterheft and Teddy Kumpel.
Hans holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance from McGill University where he studied with Chris McCann, and a Master of Music in Orchestral Percussion Performance from the University of Victoria where he studied with Bill Linwood. He currently works as the drum instructor at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia.
Canadian pianist/composer Black has performed professionally since 1980, and has played with many jazz greats including Max Roach, Sweets Edison, Mark Murphy and Sheila Jordan, to name just a few. Black is also celebrated multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger and jazz educator. Adding to that, he has worked as a music therapist and collegiate music instructor. Especially in Vancouver, Black is well known as the “first call’ when musicians are looking for top professional enhancements to their projects.
Juno nominated artist Coon is one of Canada’s most highly respected musicians and is winner of the 2009 National Jazz Awards, ‘Guitarist of the Year’.
He has been performing professionally for over thirty years and has performed with numerous significant jazz artists including Jimmy Heath, Chuck Israels, Eddie Daniels, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Bucky Pizzarelli, Sheila Jordan, Hugh Fraser, Dave Restivo, Carol Welsman, Dee Daniels, Lewis Nash and Peter Washington.
Saloon Standards to support the Sno’uyutth Legacy Scholarship is Thursday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance at McPherson Box Office, Scotia Bank Oak Bay and Oak Bay Recreation Centre. Tickets are $35 at the door.
Visit joecoughlin.ca for a taste of his music.
About the scholarship:
The committee featuring members from the Rotary Club of Oak Bay, school district staff, school alumni and members of the CAOB, issued the first scholarship in June of 2016, to Ellery Kirkland, who studies biology at Vancouver Island University with the goal of becoming a forensic specialist with the RCMP. In June of 2017, the second annual scholarship was won by Alex Ross, a first year student at University of Victoria.
Sno’uyutth means spreading good energy and the dream is to expand the Sno’uyutth Legacy Scholarship to all the secondary schools of School District 61 and beyond.
“I would like to build it up so we’re beyond Oak Bay,” Blake said. “That’s my 10-year goal.”