Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

Can Am Jazz going all-Canadian for our birthday year

Published on

Cathy Dobson

A jump ‘n’ jive quintet that packs the dance floor and an award-winning jazz artist from London are making this year’s rendition of Can Am Jazz an all-Canadian affair.

“We’re giving a nod to Canada’s 150th,” said organizer Jane Anema with the Sarnia Community Foundation.

Can Am Jazz began 17 years ago when local musician Dr. George Delgrosso decided to stage an afternoon of jazz and showcase local talent.

“George started it all and continues to oversee it,” said Anema. Six years ago, the Sarnia Community Foundation got involved and began promoting Can Am Jazz as a fundraiser.

“We usually have between 250 and 300 people come. We’ve got a great venue where people can sit inside or on the patio, and we always have wonderful musicians and singers perform,” said Anema.

“As music evolves, there is always going to be an interest in jazz. We believe this is an event with legs,” she said.

This year’s lineup starts with The JitterBugs from London, who performed last year. They are described as a high-energy outfit with tightly harmonized vocals.

The JitterBugs set list includes a lot of swing, some R & B and Jump ‘n’ Jive by jazz greats like Louis Jordan, Colin James, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Frank Sinatra.

“Their music breaks all the rules and brought the house down last year, so we had to have them back,” said Anema.

Denise Pelley, also from London, is up next.

Pelley has performed for many years nationally and internationally, opened for Aretha Franklin and recorded seven CDs.  She’s also performed with major orchestras across Canada, and is known for her one-woman show “Jazzabel” that she presented in London, New York City and Washington DC.

Pelley tends to perform what Delgrosso – who will be in attendance – likes to call “straight up jazz” with all the old standards from Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

Anema said she anticipates a really engaging program, finishing up with the Jitterbugs and Pelley collaborating on the final set.

Tickets are on sale now from the Sarnia Community Foundation office at 110-560 Exmouth St.  The foundation provides grants to charitable organizations that contribute to the quality of life in Sarnia-Lambton.

Since its inception in 1983, more than $4 million has been granted, including $200,000 this year alone. It also hands out $40,000 in scholarships every year to local youth.

The money raised at Can Am Jazz is helping to build a secondary pool of funds so that new issues, like mental health, can be addressed and more grant requests can be met.


WHAT: 17TH Annual Can Am Jazz event

WHERE: Best Western Guildwood Inn

WHEN: Sunday, Aug. 20.  1:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.

TICKETS: $25, by calling the Sarnia Community Foundation at 519-332-2588. Some may be available at the door. Cash bar.

The Arts Journal highlights what’s going on culturally in our community. Send your ideas to Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or call 226-932-0985.




More like this