Attend – Fest 2023


2023 Festival

The Performers

The Shineolas

Friday Sept 15, 12:00 Wesley Street Stage, O.C.Q.

Based on Vancouver Island BC, The Shineolas are a lively group of award-winning veteran performers, multi-instrumentalists and seasoned vocalists. The group combines a dazzling array of catchy original songs along with remakes of forgotten gems presented in their own rollicking rootsy style. With exceptional voices and killer harmonies, The Shineolas music has an eclectic “good time” feel that combines elements of Texas Swing, Roots, Country, Blues, Gospel, Folk, Bluegrass and Vintage Jazz. Their voices, musicianship and showmanship offers audiences a listening treat along with a high energy performance. The group ranges from an acoustic oriented trio to a rocking five-piece band known as the Spit Shine Orchestra that brings in additional players to create a larger sound when needed. This concert is a co-production with the Old City Quarter Association.

Teighan Couch Quartet

Friday Sept 15, 13:00 Wesley Street Stage O.C.Q.

Born and raised in Ottawa, ON, Teighan came to Nanaimo with ambitions of becoming a jazz vocalist. With very little singing experience she auditioned and was accepted into the Jazz Studies program at Vancouver Island University. She successfully completed her Bachelor’s in Music this year. Her dreams of becoming a vocalist didn’t come to fruition until she discovered vocalist and songwriter Amy Winehouse at the age of 19. Amy’s music lead Teighan to the likes of jazz, where she fell in love with the music of Ella Fitzgerald, the Oscar Peterson Trio, Dizzy Gillespie, Ahmad Jamal and many more. Her favourite recordings and artists often inspire her arrangements of standard swing repertoire. One of the arrangements she will be playing is inspired by a recording of “A Gal in Calico” by Ahmad Jamal off the album Live at the Spotlight Club in 1958. Over the past five years Teighan has evolved into a powerful, soulful performer with a knack for scat and a devoted love for swing. She encourages audience members to dance and is excited to be joined by talented musicians: Andrew Janusson on guitar, Nick Peck on keys, and Hans Verhoeven on drums.

Doc Fingers

Friday Sept 15, 14:00 Wesley Street Stage O.C.Q.

Doc Fingers with guest Blaine Dunaway

It was in the early seventies, during a stint with the Ronnie Hawkins Band in Toronto, Canada that Bruce Gallagher acquired that handle.  “They initiated me as a Doctor of Fingerology and ever since then I’ve been known to everyone as “DOC” if the name fits……..”

The Doctor has treated crowds of parties from the snow peaks of British Columbia and the Swiss Alps to smokey jazz bars in Paris, France, from Hawaii to Keffalonia, Greece, and many places in between.

Duncan Symonds & Super Fly Weight

Friday Sept 15, 15:00 Wesley Street Stage, O.C.Q.

One half of Toronto’s roots-rock darlings The Actual Goners, award winning singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist Duncan Symonds fronts a stellar group of musicians playing music inspired by Dr. John, The Meters, Neville Brosand other staples of the New Orleans sound. Duncan had performed all overNorth America and Europe, alongside Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo), Ed Robertson (Barenaked Ladies), Michael Doucet of Beausoleil and gospel artist Dionne Taylor, playing The New Orleans Jazz Festival, Preservation Hall, and Island Music Fest.

The T.B.A. Jazz Jam Band

Friday Sept 15, 16:00 Wesley Street Stage, O.C.Q.

Come and hear what happens when a bunch of professional musicians gather on stage, chose a random tune, and completely unrehearsed,  swing into the most fun musical collaboration ever. Who knows who will show up and share their talents and camaraderie onstage. All we can promise is that YOU get to sit in on this very intimate musical experience and enjoy musical magic! Requests are welcome!

Kenton Willem & Tasha Adams

Friday Sept 15, 18:30 at The Modern Cafe

Nanaimo’s own multi-instrumentalist and music teacher, Kenton Willem, is joined by singer, Tasha Adams, in an exciting new duo project. This collaboration, which started in May this year, grew from Kenton and Tasha’s shared open-minded and intuitive approach to musicianship. Drawing inspiration from their diverse genre backgrounds, Tasha and Kenton seamlessly weave their unique musical perspectives and voices together, creating an exploratory and captivating sound. Imagine a blend of textures, deep emotions, groovy beats, and heartfelt lyrics… that’s the magic they bring to their performances.

Jam Night hosted by Kelby MacNayr Trio

Friday Sept 15, 21:00 The Vault Café

Drummer / composer / band-leader Kelby MacNayr performs groundbreaking original music, soulful swinging jazz, reaching contemporary music and traditional music from around the world.  A dynamic and creative musician MacNayr performs in Canada and abroad with leading musicians from New York, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto & Europe.  A faculty member of the renowned Jazz Port Townsend Festival under director John Clayton, staff at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, Kelby follows his passion to create and collaborate, teach and learn.

The Kelby MacNayr Quintet released The Measure of Light featuring Phil Dwyer, Dan Lapp, Miles Black & Tom Wakeling.  Other projects include the Great American Songbook Trio featuring Louise Rose, the Swing Rhythm Kings and the SoulTet! MacNayr has performed with Phil Dwyer, Neil Swainson, Regina Carter, Jeffery Clayton, Marianne Trudel, Ingrid Jensen, Larry Fuller, John Clayton, George Colligan, Geoffrey Keezer and more.

Lady O & The Omen

Friday Sept 15, 21:30 The Nanaimo BAR

Orith (O’wreath) means Golden Light – Lady O is a charismatic and natural performer/entertainer who loves to bring people together in a shared experience. She’s a gracious host both at home and on the stage. She’s a firm believer that humans need to be musically/creatively expressive in order to be well. She’s an artist that is called to draw her audience into participation (only if they feel inclined of course) to encourage creative expression in community.

The styles she features are funky jazz with flavours of pop/reggae/latin and world music. Showcasing a combination of groovy originals, standards interpreted in an original way, and unique re-imagined old folk melodies .

Musical Walk, New Orleans style, with NIJFA Parade Band

Saturday Sept 16, 11:45

Meet us at Maffeo-Sutton Park and join in the fun as we walk, sing and play with the band along Nanaimo’s beautiful harbourfront. After, head up to our Wesley street stage in the Old City Quarter to start the day’s musical festivities!

The New Groovement

Saturday Sept 16, 13:00 Wesley Street Stage, O.C.Q.

For the last decade The New Groovement has been the funk, hip-hop party machine of Victoria, BC. Featuring a full horn section, congas, timbales, guitar, bass and drums – they’ll get you out of your seat and onto the dance floor. With current frontman and emcee Shane Blaq bringing lyricism and a soulful swagger, they are committed to 10 more years of funk. To quote Ed the Sock, “this band should be bigger than it is, not like in roster but in popularity.”

The New Groovement has made their mark on BC’s music scene, having been nominated for Urban Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards, winning Album of the Year at the Vancouver Island Music Awards, and opening for acclaimed acts such as Booker T. Jones, Five Alarm Funk and Busty and the Bass. They are found regularly wowing crowds at the region’s biggest festivals, and touring Western Canada. They are played on CBC and were previously featured as the Zone @ 91.3 (Victoria) Band of the Month. The band released their first full-length studio album, The Orange Album, in 2015 and their Tired of Waiting EP in 2018. Their current single “The Wave” is available on all major music platforms, and more singles are on the way.


Scott Arkell & Gosia Hagen

Saturday Sept 16, 14:00 Wesley Street Stage, O.C.Q.

Scott Arkell and Gosia Hagen have been delighting audiences together since 2022.

Scott, born and raised in Nanaimo, began his musical journey at age three under the mentorship of his grandmother, Audrey Thomas, Diana Krall’s former piano teacher. With her guidance and further studies at Vancouver Island University, he has nurtured a diverse repertoire, embracing a wide range of musical styles.

Hailing from the northeastern region of Poland, Gosia’s musical destiny was apparent from a young age. She began six years of intensive piano studies at the age of seven, but her passion lay in vocals. Embracing singing lessons led her to flourish as a prominent vocalist in her region. After obtaining her degree from the Academy of Music in Łódź, she set sail on a career that captivated international audiences the world over.

Both are proud to call Nanaimo home.

Rivercity Sidemen

Saturday Sept 16, 15:00 Wesley Street Stage, O.C.Q.

The Rivercity Sidemen is a trio of dedicated high school students from Quadra Island and Campbell River, BC. Their shared love of jazz standards, jazz fusion, and funk brought Willum Ashurst (Keyboard and Drums), Jake Elias (Tenor Saxophone and EWI), and AJ Lontayao (Drums and Bass Guitar) together. Playing markets, fairs, open mics, school functions and special events has kept the group busy for the past year.
They would like to thank the Nanaimo Jazz Festival for the invitation and amazing opportunity.

Bonnie Brett with Steve Wallace & Phil Dwyer

Saturday Sept 16, 16:00 Wesley Street Stage, O.C.Q.

Bonnie Brett, for decades, has been a favourite of Toronto Jazz audiences. Known as a swinging singer of great power and finesse, Bonnie has headlined many concerts and club venues, most notably, The Montreal Bistro, The Top of The Senator and the REX in Toronto, Herman’s in Victoria, The Old School House in Qualicum and various club dates in Ascot and London England. Sha had appeared at the Du Maurier Downtown Jazz Festival, The TD Canada Trust Jazz Festival, The Port Hope All Canadian Jazz Festival and the Festival International de Jazz du Montreal. Bonnie’s repertoire is sophisticated and sweet but also fun and swingy – vocal jazz at its finest.


Wellington Jazz Band

Saturday Sept 16, 16:10 to 16:50 Pre-show entertainment in the lobby of the Port Theatre

This award-winning Wellington Secondary Jazz Combo is part of the Wellington Secondary Jazz Academy in Nanaimo under the direction of Carmella Luvisotto. Students in this group are all individual award winners Provincially, Nationally, and Internationally. Featuring Elijah Geddes on Flute, Sandro Jost on Baritone Sax, Rowan Spearing on alto sax, Ava Rihanni piano, Josh Smiley on Bass and Garrett Tomkins on drums.

All Star Concert

Connor Stewart & Bryan Stovell at The Port Theatre Saturday Septembre 16

With Connor Stewart Sextet

Connor Stewart – Picking up the first of eight horns at 13, Vancouver Island born and raised Connor Stewart was invited to join Arrowsmith Big Band at 15, and assume lead alto with the Nanaimo Musicians Association Big Band at 16. He started playing professionally and leading adult jazz bands that same year, and began earning his living full time in New Orleans at 17 as a bandleader, frontman, sideman, composer/arranger, studio musician, and educator.

The Connor Stewart Sextet features John Lee playing bass, Miles Lyons trombone, Zack Knewstub piano, Aaron Levinson drums,  Mike Clement  and Connor on saxes and clarinet.

Earning accolades from from colleagues and fans alike for his emotive playing, multi-instrumentalist CONNOR STEWART (tenor/alto/soprano/bari saxes, clarinet, trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, flute, vocals) plays soprano sax and clarinet for the “Swamp Donkeys Traditional Jass Band,” tenor sax with the “Shannon Powell Quartet” led by Preservation Hall drummer Shannon Powell (Harry Connick Jr, Dr. John, Diana Krall, John Scofield,) and has recently been invited to join and play trumpet in “The Trumpet Mafia” led by Grammy winning University of New Orleans jazz trumpet studio leader Ashlin Parker (Irvin Mayfield’s New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Aretha Franklin, Adonis Rose, Ellis/Jason Marsalis.)

Decadence under the direction of Steve Jones

Steve Jones’ Decadence’s 10-piece ensemble featuring a rotating cast of Nanaimo’s top music professionals and VIU alumni join the fun on Saturday night! What fun awaits.

NMA under the direction of Bryan Stovell

Bryan Stovell – Bryan retired from a 35-year career as a music educator in Nanaimo. Since ‘retiring,’ he has taught Jazz Theory and Improvisation in the Vancouver Island University Music Department.  He directs the Nanaimo Musicians’ Association Big Band.

Bryan’s school bands won many provincial and national awards; and his groups performed in Japan, the United States, various countries in Europe, and every major city in Canada. Many of his former students are professional musicians and music educators, the best known being international stars Diana Krall, Ingrid Jensen, and Christine Jensen.

Bryan is a Music Fest Canada Hall of Fame member and recipient of the Marshall McLuhan Distinguished Teacher Award for both BC and Canada; upon his retirement he was honoured by the BC Music Educators’ Association with its Professional Music Educator Award. He is former chairman of the Concert Band and Orchestra division of Music Fest Canada and sits on the Festival’s board of directors.

What Bryan enjoys most is working with music students of all ages.

Brad Shipley & Duncan Symonds

Saturday Sept 16, 19:30 Courtyard by Marriott

Brad Shipley and Duncan Symonds guitar duo will play tunes from the great American songbook as well as person favourites. If you haven’t heard two guitars playing jazz music together, don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to hear these two perform in a relaxed environment from the lounge at the Marriott hotel.

Jam Night hosted by Nick Peck

Saturday Sept 16, 21:00 The Vault Café

Nick Peck is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist and composer, primarily known as a jazz pianist and organist who has performed across Canada and Europe.

Nick’s background in the music was initially, self-taught, playing on the local Jazz circuit around his native Kent (UK). Pursing formal studies in music he was introduced to a wide range of classical, contemporary and world music that would broaden his outlook. However, it was in Jazz improvisation that he found his preferred outlet. Moving to London, he studied piano and composition at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. During this time, he received tuition from Simon Purcell, Scott Stroman and John Talyor, all of whom implied ways in which a diverse range of ideas and colours could be brought together with respect to the Jazz tradition.

Following this, Nick was increasingly active as a sideman, gaining valuable hands-on experience accompanying visiting Jazz artists on piano and Hammond organ in and around London and the South of England. Since 2013, he has resided in British Columbia, Canada.


Louise Rose

Sunday Sept 17, 13:00 Wesley Street Stage, O.C.Q.

Musical from a very early age, Louise’s capabilities and interests haven’t exactly been restricted to making music. A native of the United States, she has, among other things, been a police officer, a Baptist missionary and a sociology teacher. But all that changed after she arrived in Victoria in the early 1970’s and fell in love with British Columbia’s capital city. Louise was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania. A pianist, vocalist, and actress, she was formally trained in piano, organ, voice, conducting and arranging. Her teachers included Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington and Leonard Bernstein. She is host of Let’s Sing Again, recently rated the most popular television show on a specialty channel in Canada (excluding TSN or MTV) and leader of the Louise Rose Trio. Louise is also conductor of the highly successful Victoria Good News Choir, which specializes in blues, gospel, semi-classical and jazz.

The Big Mess

Sunday Sept 17, 14:00 Wesley Street Stage, O.C.Q.

Kicking off  the Dancin’ in the Streets finale of the 2023 Festival!

Since 2011, with inspiration drawn from blues, Latin, pop, jazz, swing, musical theatre, electronic (& even classical) music, this father/son duo has been delighting audiences from ages 3 to 103.

They’re named The Big Mess for two reasons:

1. They play a big mess of musical styles, and mess with them in their own big messy ways.

2. They honour that being a mess is a quintessential part of being human. Let’s celebrate THE MESS!

Kyle has performed with a variety of musicians, including Marty Steele, Nico Rhodes, James McRae and Andrew Homzy’s Disney does Da Jazz orchestra. Theatrically, Kyle Shepard has performed major roles in Rocky Horror Show and The Little Mermaid.

Marty Shepard was born & raised way too long ago in Chicago, Illinois. As one of the original members of REO Speedwagon, he has also enjoyed performing with Brooke Maxwell’s Planet Swing & El SuperBando, Joëlle Rabu, Nico Rhodes, James McRae and Marty Steele.


Mahogany Hall Swing Band “Dancing in the Street”

Sunday Sept 17, 14:45 Wesley Street Stage, O.C.Q.

Mahogany Hall Swing Band is a Vancouver-Island based jazz ensemble led by pianist Patrick Courtin and vocalist Simon Paterson. The two first met as historical interpreters working at Barkerville Historic Town while performing music of the gold rush era on a historic stage. The pair became fast friends and were particularly drawn together by their mutual love of classic jazz music – especially the Great American Songbook. Their influences include Frank Sinatra, Billie Holliday, Nat King Cole Trio and Kurt Elling, but also Tom Waits, Stephen Sondheim and Seth MacFarlane. Their sound is full of hard-swinging jazz, soulful blues and lush ballads. They also specialize in playing music for swing dancing, with a repertoire that is stocked full of hot jazz tunes in the styles of Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton, Cab Calloway, and more. They are delighted to be joined by exceptionally talented musicians Nico Rhodes (saxophone), Drake Shoemaker (bass), and Al Murray (drums).

Stealing Dan

Sunday Sept 17, 15:45 Wesley Street Stage, O.C.Q.

Stealing Dan is an ultra-authenticate celebration of one of the greatest pop-jazz bands, Steely Dan.

Listening to Stealing Dan is a truly elegant and unique musical experience, where jazz, pop, soul and blues are merged into a brilliant marriage of lyric, melody and form.

Stealing Dan performs this amazing music with respect and delight, with special attention to tonal accuracy and blended dissonant harmonic content.

Stealing Dan covers the full Dan catalogue, performing jazz-infused songs including Babylon Sisters and Kid Charlemagne, early radio favourites Reelin’ in the Years and Do It Again and blues/rock deep cuts Don’t Take Me Alive and Black Friday.