Performing is in our veins. Not only performing but participating in our community is a very important part of who we are.
Bringing music to our community
We have had opportunities to play with students, perform at care homes, dances, music festivals, burlesque shows and at live music venues. We love being able to share our music with the community, as it brings big smiles to people’s faces – especially in the care homes – it is evident that our music brightens their day and inspires us to continue to play. We never knew the impact music could have until we saw it first-hand.
“The coolest experience is when we play at the senior residences – Carewest Sarcee or Bethany Calgary, for example. Seeing the residents in wheelchairs or beds brings tears to my eyes, sometimes to the point where I find it difficult to play. Seeing them dancing, clapping, singing, moving their hands or feet is heart-warming, especially when told by the staff that some folks haven’t moved in months. Additionally, we were told that one couple had a “last dance” to us performing, and one of them passed away shortly after that. There are no words to describe this impact.“
– Deb Watson
The senior residences are some of the most impactful performances we have played. Our band members reflect on these performances and have memories of seeing the pure joy on a resident’s face and the wheelchair dancing. “I will never forget these moments. The individuals there exhibit direct joy in response to our playing. There is no judgment…[just] simple appreciation for the music,” says Sarah King.
We have had the good fortune of having the opportunity to collaborate with community groups to perform at the Ironwood Stage & Grill in Calgary. The Ironwood is an accessible, all ages, restaurant and lounge that hosts over 400 shows a year.
“We have really knocked it out of the park at some of our Ironwood gigs. That is due to: music selection; great leadership, including some good humour entertaining the audience (and the band); the band playing really well and being inspired by the audience feedback; and the ambience of the venue.”– Paul Howard
“I very much enjoy playing at the Ironwood. I like the smell of the wood and beer mix, I like the patrons, I like the jammed tight ‘green room’ quarters, and of course the sound guy! These performances stand out in my mind and the venue is top-notch!”
– Sarah King
“Every performance is memorable whether it is the venue setting, weddings, seeing elegant dancers at dance clubs, packed pubs like the Ironwood or the Lynnwood, burlesque shows or seniors’ homes. The band always comes together to put on a show and the audiences always show their appreciation.”
– Myrna Michieli
Music across generations
Beyond the senior residences, we have been fortunate to play for and with students. This has proved to be impactful as we can show musicians of tomorrow that you can continue to play an instrument, no matter the age – and love every minute of it. Another notable moment for MBJS is playing at the family dance of the school at which we rehearse.
We believe that the impact goes both ways for the students and us to share music across the generations. “I’ve enjoyed playing with students (though I suspect many of them played much better than me). Letting them see that music doesn’t have to stop when you graduate and get older is important,” says Colleen Crosweller.
In 2009 MBJS performed for the grand reopening and naming ceremony of a park and playground in honour of a local Inglewood legend, Nellie Breen. “Our performance was appreciated and embraced by the community, and we had an absolute blast as our green room was a neighbour’s lawn with adult beverages available”, says John Watson.
Age knows no bounds for members of MBJS, with ages running from 22 – 80. Fun fact – the youngest and oldest members happen to sit beside each other (with plenty of teasing and bantering).
Did you know that MBJS has a CD?!
We were able to record a CD in a real recording studio (Sundae Sound Studio) which was a fantastic experience. It made us feel like real musicians, playing along, doing takes, listening to the recordings, and making critical decisions on what needed to be cut or kept. Our highly sought-after CD has been given out at various performances enabling fans to listen to us on demand.