The seventh annual edition of the St. Thomas Public Library’s popular “Words and Music” program will bring bestselling author David Rotenberg to the stage of the Princess Avenue Playhouse in St. Thomas on Thursday, September 27, 2012. Joining him will be members of the Rainbow Gardens Quartet and jazz singer Sharon Smith. It’s a fun event and one that many people look forward to every year.
The program, which alternates a telling anecdote or reading by a talented, popular writer with a song done in impeccable style by an accomplished assemblage of Toronto area jazz musicians, gets under way at 8 p.m. Admission is by free ticket available at the St. Thomas Public Library, though this year organizers are suggesting that event goers might want to make a goodwill donation when they arrive for the show. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
David Rotenberg’s seventh and most recent book, released earlier this year, is The Placebo Effect, described by the Winnipeg Free Press as “a smart, intriguing ride.” The main character is Decker Roberts who has a dual career as a master acting teacher and as a synesthete, someone who has an unfailing ability to tell if a person is lying, a talent for which large corporations are willing to pay big bucks. Not long after returning to his Toronto home from a whirlwind US tour collecting those large fees, Decker discovers that there are people determined to ruin his life and, in the words of The Globe and Mail, “this novel heats up and never stops.”
David Rotenberg is also the author of Shanghai: the Ivory Compact, an historical novel, and five books in the Zhong Fong detective series which is set in modern-day China. In addition to being an entertaining writer, David is also, like his character Decker Roberts, a much-in-demand master acting teacher. In his Professional Actors Lab in Toronto, David has worked with many well known film and television actors including Scott Speedman and Rachel McAdams.
There will also be a question and answer period with David, and his books will be available for sale and signing. There’s more about him on his website: http://www.davidrotenberg.com
Sharing the bill with David, and counterpointing his readings and commentary, will be the Rainbow Gardens Quartet with singer Sharon Smith. This year’s Quartet includes Michael Davidson on vibraphone, Brian Bauer on saxophone and clarinet, Cor Klamer on piano and leader Ric Giorgi on string bass.
Sharon Smith is a Toronto singer whose performance career includes musical theatre, nightclubs and live television appearances. She has sung with several Toronto musical aggregations including The Shelley Miller Band, A Touch of Class, and The Starlight Orchestra. She has trained to become a teacher and now teaches music to children, while continuing to keep up an active schedule as a professional singer.
Michael Davidson appeared in the 2009 edition of Words and Music and those who heard him then will be very pleased to learn that he is making a return appearance. Michael is a protégé of famed Canadian jazz musician Don Thompson, and is known for his brilliant work with the “Tribute to Benny Goodman Sextet.” He continues to compose and play music both for CDs and for live performances at The Rex and other Toronto venues with such groups as Stop Time, The Michael Davidson Sextet, and Hobson’s Choice.
Brian Bauer (aka Dr. Jazz) has had a long career performing professionally on the saxophone and clarinet. The Buffalo musician has an encyclopaedic knowledge of jazz music from the twenties to the fifties and once played with the legendary Joe Venuti. Brian notes that some years ago he accompanied Bonnie Raitt and Maria Muldaur, and still plays with Leon Redbone every so often. Former radio host Ted Howes says, “You can depend on Brian’s talents to broaden your musical experience and brighten your day.”
Cor Klamer has been the regular pianist for the Rainbow Gardens Quartet/Quintet for the last eight years. He has several solo CDs that get airplay in North America and Europe and has worked with such artists as Peter Appleyard. He continues to keep busy with musical engagements in the Toronto area.
String bassist Ric Giorgi is a long-time leader of music groups of various sizes from full symphony orchestras through to his well known Rainbow Gardens Jazz Orchestra. He is now in his third year as conductor of the Resa’s Pieces Strings, a string orchestra founded by the Resa’s Pieces organization. He has also written music for film and television and has been a part of various CBC radio and TV productions. Cor and Ric have been the musical backbone of all seven “Words and Music” programs.
It’s an excellent line-up, and with the marvellous acoustics of the Princess Avenue Playhouse, it promises to be a literary and musical night to remember. We hope to see you there!