The value of teaching music

View from the back of the Agincourt Collegiate band … with music teacher John Rutherford conducting. (May 1967)

Most of the time I sat among the back seats in the rehearsal room. But that’s OK. As long as I kept one eye on the music charts in front of me and the other down front where conductor John Rutherford stood, I knew I’d stay in step with the rest of the group. I just had to wait for Mr. Rutherford’s downbeat and I was part of the performance. And that meant a lot to me. He’d often begin the rehearsal with the same words of encouragement.

“OK,” Rutherford would say. “Let’s make a little magic.”

It takes a musical village

Whitney Ross-Barris headlined Toronto’s Lula Lounge, Dec. 5, launching her first jazz CD, “Everybody’s Here.”

It might have been the night she opened in the musical “Oliver” as the character Fagin and sang, “You have to pick a pocket or two.” Then again, it could have happened when she played the White Rabbit in “Alice in Wonderland.” They were both staged when our daughter attended public school. On one of those occasions she asked us for some last minute advice.

“Imagine I’m at the back of the auditorium, Whitney,” I said to her. “And sing out, so I can hear you from there.”