Alex Hemminger,left, David McPherson, Carina Collins, Sophie L’Homme, and Jeremy Lachance warm-up for Saturday’s Tofino Jazz Festival. The All Star Jazz Band performs a free concert at the Tofino Village Green at 8:30pm. (Nora O’Malley / Photo)

Alex Hemminger,left, David McPherson, Carina Collins, Sophie L’Homme, and Jeremy Lachance warm-up for Saturday’s Tofino Jazz Festival. The All Star Jazz Band performs a free concert at the Tofino Village Green at 8:30pm. (Nora O’Malley / Photo)

Tofino’s first Jazz Festival swings into town this weekend

“I wanted a night of music were you didn’t have to go through fences to access the music.”

Every summer, when the Montreal Jazz Festival gets underway, Sophie L’Homme says she aches for it.

“I miss it so much. It hurts me like crazy. It hurts me for twelve days,” said the founder of the Tofino Jazz Festival.

L’Homme, a University of Montreal jazz program graduate, said she also receives a lot of emails from colleges touring Vancouver Island that are looking for gigs.

“I received an email from my friend in Park X Trio this year and I said, ‘We need to do something around that.’”

The Montreal-based Park X Trio won the prestigious TD Grand Prize for Jazz at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2010.

“They are really, really awesome musicians,” L’Homme notes.

Park X Trio kicks off the Tofino Jazz Festival on Friday night, June 22, at the Clayoquot Sound Community Theatre. Tickets are on sale for $20 at the Caravan Beach Shop or at the door. Doors open at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, June 23, Tofino’s Village Green will be swinging with a free evening concert that is open to all ages.

“I wanted a night of music were you didn’t have to go through fences to access the music. There is no alcohol involved. You can just go in and go out. I wanted to have some music in the park. I think the Village Green just needs more music in the summertime in Tofino,” said L’Homme, who is the Tofino and Ucluelet choir director.

The Ucluelet Secondary School Jazz Band comes on at 6 p.m. to loosen up the crowd for a swing dance lesson with Christopher Cuming and Katherine Crossley from Victoria. At 8:30 p.m., L’Homme will take the stage with an All Star Jazz band featuring a local cast of characters, including: high school music teacher David McPherson on the saxophone, Carina Collins on the stand up base, and USS student Alex Hemminger who was called up to jam with the pros.

“Come out,” encourages L’Homme. “Come and learn how to dance. I want generations to mix together. That’s one of my points as well. To make it a very multi-generation event, to gather, and to just inspire with the music.”

She said garnering support for the new music festival was easy. When she went to the District of Tofino with the schedule and the idea, they partnered with her right away.

“Tofino is like a blank page for creative people. Just make it happen. I’m so happy. Tofino is really hungry for this kind of thing.”

Jazz pianist Esther Celebrini and guitarist Jeremy Lachance cap off Tofino’s little Jazz Festival with live music at Darwin’s Cafe in the Tofino Botanical Gardens at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning. This is a free morning of music, open to all.

Anyone interested in learning more about the event can visit the Tofino Jazz Festival Facebook page or www.tourismtofino.com/events.

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