Toronto Blues Society | » Loose Blues News – December 2018

Loose Blues News – December 2018

Published December 3, 2018 in Loose Blues News, News

Hats off to Derek and Sarah:

TBS prez Derek Andrews has been awarded the 2018 National Arts Centre Award for Distinguished Contribution to Touring. The announcement reads, “Mr. Andrews is being recognized for his tremendous influence on the Canadian music scene, and in particular, his work supporting Indigenous and world music artists. Throughout his career as an artistic director, music curator, producer, manager and advocate, he has worked tirelessly to promote Canadian artists and culture across Canada and internationally.” In addition to his work with TBS, Derek is currently the Artistic Director of Mundial Montreal, the country’s first world music conference and has been the music programmer for the Luminato Festival, Cultura Festival, the NAC’s Canada Scene festival, the 2015 Pan Am Games, Artistic Director of the Guelph Jazz Festival and acts as a manager or consultant for a variety of Canadian independent musicians, including JUNO Award winners Digging Roots, Kobo Town and Quique Escamilla. The Award for Distinguished Contribution to Touring consists of $2,500 and a specially designed porcelain sculpture by Paula Murray, one of Canada’s finest ceramic artists.
In the same week, it was announced that TBS Board Member and resident publicist Sarah French has received the prestigious “Keeping the Blues Alive” award from the Blues Foundation of Memphis, Tennessee. In addition to an extensive current client roster of some of the best in Canadian blues and roots music, Sarah has worked for True North Records/Linus Entertainment, Richard Flohil & Associates, and musician Jeff Healey (as personal assistant). She is currently the publicist of record for Stony Plain Records in Canada and Busted Flat Records worldwide.



Every five years, Folk Alliance International is true to their name and take the conference out of the U.S. and this time it’s Montreal where the Toronto Blues Society will be presenting a showcase of six top Ontario blues artists on Thursday, February 14. The FAI has selected 180 Official Showcase artists representing 23 countries from over 1000 applications. Returning to Canada in 2019, the FAI conference theme, The Spirit of Creativity, is an exploration of the artistic process from inspiration to vocation and a collective conversation about innovation, collaboration, and spirituality in art. The 31st annual conference will be held at the historic Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s bed-in at the hotel where they recorded “Give Peace a Chance.” The conference takes place February 13-17, 2019. More at


Hot Blues Doc:

The TBS will co-present the highly anticipated documentary “Horn from the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story” at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on Bloor Street. Hailing from Chicago’s south side, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Paul Butterfield learned the blues as a teenager from the original masters, performing nightly in his own backyard. With mentorship from the legendary Muddy Waters, Butterfield went on to create The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which broke new ground and rejuvenated worldwide interest in the genre. Through his music and words, along with first-hand accounts from his family, his bandmates, and those closest to him, Horn from the Heart tells the complex story of a man many call the greatest harmonica player of all time. The screening is on Friday, December 21st at Hot Docs Ted Rogers at 9pm. Doors at 8pm. The night will kick off with DJ Chris MaGee and drink specials prior to the screening so make sure to arrive early!
Blues Dance: TO Blues Dance is hosting a blues dance on Friday, December 7! This will be a house party with a guest list. For details contact [email protected]


Blues for Soldiers:

Brantford Gunner’s Club continues its ongoing Blues for Soldiers Sunday shows this month which raise funds for PTSD and homeless veterans. Upcoming featured artists are Dec 2-Robin Banks, Dec 9-Mark LaForme, Dec 16-Silvia Dee & The Boyfriend, Dec 23-Chuck Jackson & Cheryl Lescom and Dec 30-.Mike ‘Mudfoot’ McDonald


Miss Emily Behind Bars:

On October 29th, Kingston singer/songwriter Miss Emily spent the day inside the walls and inside the cells of Kingston Penitentiary to shoot a video for “Hold Back the River”, the third single from In Between, Miss Emily’s fifth studio album – a passionate and poignant tribute to the #MeToo movement. It was an emotional and surprising experience for the veteran blues and soul singer. Acclaimed Kingston director Jay Middaugh was given unprecedented access behind the walls of Canada’s most notorious prison. The resulting visuals are unlike anything seen before. Nearly 100 women participated alongside Miss Emily in the video shoot and the video premiered on November 13th. It can be found at


Remembering Janet Zopfi:

We who knew her, have been feeling the weight of losing one of the most generous and loving people you could come to know. Janet Zopfi passed away peacefully at home at the age of 70 after a challenging final chapter contending with ALS. She was generous person with a beautiful soul that shone through her brilliant smile. She gave love so freely to people and animals alike – she was open minded, compassionate, and caring. She was an avid supporter of the blues, very regularly attending shows and buying at least one CD or t-shirt every time (or so it seemed) and who was often found on the dance floor or starting one.

As someone who moved to Canada from St. Louis during the Vietnam war, she kept an active interest in American politics right to the end. She was a big fan of baseball and the Blue Jays. She had a love for dogs that kept a companion by her side throughout her life and is survived by her rescue Chihuahua from Mexico, Chico. After getting a second chance after a struggle with breast cancer, she embraced early retirement from teaching and kept busy with not just her family and grandchildren, but a variety of activities including billiards, gardening, tai chi, zumba, skiing, knitting – you name it, she probably did some classes and kept up with friends she met doing so. She was the type of person who could make you feel like she was your BFF. Many felt she was a dear and beloved friend and her large circle extended further online internationally where she positively impacted lives of the many she shared her wit and wisdom with.

Time is not promised to anyone, but none of us thought the end would come so quickly for Janet – she passed away just over three months from her diagnosis, though some symptoms had been present previously, they weren’t anything to be largely concerned about, however, they started progressing rapidly from January of this year. We are thankful she isn’t suffering any longer, she was in great pain at the end, but even in her misery, she wasn’t miserable and was still smiling and spreading her love. We just wish we could have more time with her. It would have never felt like enough with the way she could make you laugh. Our lives will not be the same without you Janet – but is forever changed by meeting you and experiencing your love. (from Jenn Martin and all of the blues mamas and soul sisters). Photo by Judi Willrich.


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The Toronto Blues Society acknowledges the annual support of the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage, and project support from FACTOR< and the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada’s Private Broadcasters, The Canada Council for the Arts, the SOCAN Foundation, SOCAN, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.