This week’s featured artist is drummer / educator Lorie Wolf, who participated in Jazzology in 2007.
A native of Toronto, Lorie began studying drumset at the age of 17 and was soon performing at local festivals, clubs, and private parties. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at York University, where she studied South Indian music with Trichy Sankaran. Lorie then completed a Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto and later completed music performance classes at the Humber College, studying drumset with Rick Lazar, Mark Kelso, Chendy Leon, Ted Warren, and Paul Delong.
In 2006, Lorie was selected to be part of the Sisters in Jazz All-Stars, performing at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival. Lorie released a recording of original jazz music, Taibele and Her Demon, in 2008, that features Don Thompson, George Koller, Andrew Kay, and Mike Wark. In 2010 she released Mazel and Schlimazel, an album for children that was featured at the Ashkenaz Festival and the Fringe festival.
Lorie has performed at the Rex Hotel, Gladstone Hotel, Toronto Centre for the Arts, TD Toronto Jazz Festival, and the Toronto Roots Festival. Lorie’s current projects include the Sisters of Sheynville, an all-female Yiddish swing band, the Lithuanian Empire, a funky klezmer-based world music band, and the Dull-Eyed Llamas, a pop quintet with clever and catchy songs. She also teaches music part-time at Clinton St. Public School.
Lorie shares her memories of the Jazzology program and provides an update on her more recent activities:
1) Describe your experience with the Jazzology program. What was your favourite aspect?
Jazzology is a great experience because it really makes you look inward as a musician, to tally up who you are and presents it neatly and articulately to the public.
2) What is your strongest memory of the Jazzology program? Are there any funny stories or incidents that come to mind?
I remember Larry being very warm and drawing out a lot of information out of me. I was very nervous and he put me at ease.
3) Would you recommend this experience to other young musicians?
Sure, because it really makes you think about who you are and what part of that you want to share with an audience. You have to explore your musical experiences and bring something interesting to the table.
4) How has this experience helped in your personal and professional development?
Having the opportunity to do this kind of soul-searching boosted my self-confidence. It helped me get over a nagging bit of stage-fright, some doubts…
5) This program is made possible by our generous donors and sponsors who strongly believe in the importance of arts education initiatives. If you had the opportunity to thank them in person, what would you say?
Thank you for your support and keep it coming. If you have the means to advocate and support the arts, then you must.
6) Why is music education important?
I am now a K-6 music teacher. I see the impact of music education every day. From the tiny kindergarten students learning the relationship of ‘so’ and ‘me’ to the graduating Grade 6-ers improvising over blues scales, the joy, confidence, and fulfillment it brings them is beyond measure. It’s something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, something that they can draw from and build their musical relationships. It also goes without saying the incredible impact music has on the brain. Students of mine with learning disabilities and intellectual challenges come out of their shells in music class. Even if they can’t physically contribute more to the class than a small smile, the happiness in their faces to be in a musical atmosphere is evident.
7) Since participating in the program, what have you been doing?
When I finished at Humber, I started teaching music with the TDSB first part-time and then full-time 4 years later. I teach music to K-6, including students with developmental delays. (ie. Down’s syndrome, autism, etc.) Besides that, I’ve played in a few local bands, the most successful of which, Sheynville, won a National Folk Music Award in 2010.
8) What music are you listening to at the moment that you find particularly inspiring?
I listen to a lot of ethnic folk music, particularly that of Eastern European origin. That’s where my family is from and it draws me closer to my heritage. I also like to listen to Afro-Cuban music, particularly Santatian and Yoruban styles, because I find the rhythms fascinating. I try to listen to more music that might appeal to children to broaden their musical experience in my classrooms.
9) What are your plans for the future?
I’d like to be an instructional leader for the music department with the Toronto District School Board. They help plan huge, inspiring events for the students, and I find that kind of work very fulfilling. Of course, playing music with different people and going on tour is always on my mind.
10) How can people learn more about you and your activities?
Jazzology is proudly sponsored by RBC Emerging Artists Project.
About RBC and the Arts
RBC sponsors a wide-range of grassroots and local initiatives that contribute to the cultural fabric of our communities. Proud to support events and passions that resonate with our clients and all Canadians, RBC provides opportunities for up-and-coming artists through programs such as the RBC Canadian Painting Competition, one of the largest competitions of its kind in the world; and the RBC Emerging Filmmakers Competition, part of our commitment as the Official Bank and major sponsor of the world’s top public film festival – the Toronto International Film Festival®.