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Markham Jazz Festival Newsletter
August 08, 2017

Grammy and JUNO winners, stellar Canadian artists and the best audiences in the GTA – It’s time for jazz in Markham!

Grab your calendars and plan to join us on the streets of Unionville for a very special edition of the TD Markham Jazz Festival – August 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20.
It’s our 20th festival! To celebrate we’re throwing an amazing party that starts with a brilliant opening night concert on Wednesday, August 16, and carries right through to Sunday afternoon August 20.
As well, we’ve invited back many of the performers who helped us build this festival into the outstanding event it is today. Making it even more special in the year of Canada’s 150th, Canadian-born or Canada-based artists comprise the entire lineup. And the headliners are amazing – including Canadian Walk of Fame artist David Clayton-Thomas, blues sensations MonkeyJunk, singers Shakura S’Aida, Carol Welsman and Ranee Lee, and so much more!
» Read on for an overview of the venues, plus the full lineup on our three main stages.
» Find our complete schedule, artist bios, maps and other details online at

What, Where, When
At this annual cultural gem in the heart of Markham, more than 30 performances happen on three main stages along Main Street in the historic village of Unionville – and at several “Hot Spot” restaurants along Main Street. (Call ahead for reservations.)
  • Markham Subaru Stage at the Millennium BandstandIdeal for bigger audiences and fuller sounds, the Bandstand is the southernmost of our venues, located at the corner of Main and Fred Varley Dr.
    • Thursday 7:30–9:00 p.m.; Friday 7:30–11:00 p.m.; Saturday 1–10:30 p.m.; Sunday 1–6:30 p.m.
Gracious, beautiful Unionville, the jewel of York Region
Settled more than 220 years ago, Unionville combines charming heritage buildings from the mid-1800s with a selection of fine restaurants and shops that make for great strolling, people-watching and relaxing with friends. Check the MJF website for info on historical walks taking place in the village during the Festival.
» Parking is limited: Attendance is high and parking is very limited. Take advantage of the frequent shuttle buses that will serve Unionville on Friday evening, all day Saturday and all day Sunday from the Markham Pan Am Centre (west side). See for map and details.
» Bring a chair: While some seating is provided at each venue, it fills up quickly. Experienced festival-goers often bring their own folding chair – not to mention a hat, sunscreen and layers in case the temperature shifts. 

The 2017 Lineup
Wednesday, August 16Opening Night Concert
The Festival kicks off with the only ticketed event of the weekend – a one-of-a-kind performance by York Region native and 2017 JUNO nominee Barbra Lica, one of Canada’s top jazz singers. This exclusive evening is held in the intimate setting of the Varley Art Gallery lobby. It includes a reception and silent auction. Doors open at 7:15, with music from 8 p.m.
» Tickets are limited and selling fast. Order yours now at

Thursday, August 17
Markham Subaru Stage at the Millennium Bandstand
Arrive early, because at 7:30 p.m., Canadian blues dynamo Shakura S’Aida takes to the Bandstand stage for a riveting performance. S’Aida has blown away audiences with her searing vocal style and stage presence, arriving at the Bandstand fresh from a European tour.
» Our thanks to “Thursday Nights at the Bandstand” for making room on its schedule for this additional evening performance, part of our special 20th festival offerings.

Friday, August 18
Markham Subaru Stage at the Millennium Bandstand
This talent-laden evening begins with two festival returnees. Vocalist Lorraine Klaasen brings her classic jazz training and international influences to life through a powerful voice. • She is followed by Montreal’s JUNO-winning fusion legends Manteca, blending the roots of world, jazz and orchestral music in continually innovative ways.

Saturday, August 19
This year, we track the Saturday and Sunday performances from north to south along Main Street, starting at the iconic Varley Art Gallery.
Source Office Furnishings Stage at the Varley Art Gallery Patio – First up at noon is singer/songwriter Stacey Kaniuk, sharing her love of Motown and soul. • Louis Simão follows at 2 with an eclectic mix of samba, folk and funk that calls on his Portuguese roots. • At 4 p.m., Toronto band Bad Luck Woman and Her Misfortunes blend blues and R&B inspired by great singers of the ’60s. • The final performance of the day on this stage comes from Drew Jurecka, an in-demand violinist who plays multiple instruments with sass and polish.
Kennedy HiFi & FOCAL at the McKay Art Centre Beer & Wine Garden – The fun kicks off at 12:30 p.m. with the Marito Marquez Quintet’s renditions of music inspired by drummer Marito’s Mediterranean roots. • Next up are The Millwinders at 2:30, getting toes tapping with a distinctive mix of country, rock and soul. • Anything goes at 4:30 when C.R. Avery & the Special Interest Group share their brand of poetry-infused sounds. • At 6:30, Elise LeGrow showcases her stunning voice and inventive arrangements.
Markham Subaru Stage at the Millennium Bandstand – Saturday’s action on the big stage starts at 1 p.m. with the returning Jazz.FM91 Youth Big Band. • Next, we welcome back former MJF Artistic Director Michael Occhipinti and his frequent collaborator, Elizabeth Shepherd, for a tribute to iconic Canadian music. • Canadian favourite Carol Welsman hits the Millennium stage at 5 p.m. to wow listeners with her stylish vocals. • DO NOT MISS the next performers, billed as the 20th Anniversary All-Stars, loading the stage with talent and surprise guests. • The night culminates with the spotlight on Grammy and JUNO winner David Clayton-Thomas and a killer back-up band, offering a full range of familiar and fresh music.
» Another outstanding Saturday!

Sunday, August 20
Source Office Furnishings Stage at the Varley Art Gallery Patio – At this intimate stage, the final day begins at noon with the Roger Chong Quartet, featuring Roger’s critically acclaimed jazz guitar compositions. • The Hoffman/Lemish Quartet take over at 2 p.m. with two of Israel’s most remarkable musicians, a co-presentation with the Ashkenaz Centre. (Find out what an “oud” looks and sounds like!) • The Stu Harrison Trio rounds out the day with fine interpretations of Stu’s elegant compositions.
Kennedy HiFi & FOCAL Stage at the McKay Art Centre Beer & Wine Garden – At 12:30 p.m., head to the garden to hear New Orleans-inspired and genre-blending sounds of Rebecca Hennessy and FOG Brass Band. • Next, Brenda Navarret shows her chops as one of Cuba’s great young talents, a singer, percussionist, composer and arranger. • At 4 p.m., Busty and the Bass break out the fun with its brand of electro-soul, hip-hop and funk for a massively danceable end to this excellent day.
Markham Subaru Stage at the Millennium Bandstand – Sunday at the Bandstand is fantastic from start to finish. Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar dig into the heart of jazzy blues at 1 p.m. • At 3, JUNO winner and Canadian treasure Ranee Lee reprises her early appearance at MJF and brings her amazing vocal range to life on stage. • The Festival’s final headline performance comes at 5 p.m. with blues sensations MonkeyJunk, including a special appearance by blues vocalist and harmonica virtuoso Paul Reddick, 2017 JUNO winner for Blues Album of the Year.  
» See you in Unionville!
The TD Markham Jazz Festival is a not-for-profit organization with a mandate to enrich cultural life in the region by bringing emerging and established jazz artists to Markham for all to enjoy. Established in 1998, the festival draws more than 25,000 residents and visitors to the streets of Unionville during the third weekend in August. Local and international artists deliver over 30 open-air performances during the weekend as well as in selected “hot spots” and at a ticketed opening-night concert. During the year, the festival hosts “Hot Spot Concerts” at selected venues in Markham. TD Canada Trust became its title sponsor in 2014.
Tel: 905-471-5299 (voicemail)

Contact Linda Briggs, Executive Director at:
(416) 200-4306 or
Copyright © 2017 Markham Jazz Festival, All rights reserved.

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