For just over two years, before I started with Toronto Downtown Jazz, I had the privilege of managing a local children's choir. It was a fantastic experience - as the sole administrative staff for an organization of 120 choristers, I got to work on my managerial chops; but I also got to see the effect on the choristers of singing together, and learning from the inspirational artistic staff (headed up by the incredible Zimfira Poloz).
Josh Grossman's blog
As much as possible, I try to maintain a positive outlook on life in general, and the various facets that make up what I do every day. I'm grateful to be surrounded by supportive colleagues and family, to have stable employment (which I recognize is a privilege at this time), and to be doing work which I continue to find challenging and stimulating. But I'm going to be honest - these past six months have been difficult. From work to home and everything in between, nothing feels normal, and in many ways I've been feeling "one step forward, two steps back."
It's right around now - the beginning of August - that we typically dive into planning the next TD Toronto Jazz Festival. And although there may be nothing "typical" about Festival planning this year, it is time to set our sights on next June - the pitches from agents are already coming in.
It's just about time to officially open the submission process for the 2021 TD Toronto Jazz Festival. And although at this point we don't know exactly what next year's Festival will look like, we are excited to get back to planning, and working towards presenting ten days of outstanding music. Plus - next year is our 35th anniversary!
Needless to say, these past few months have been challenging. At home we've done our best to settle into some sort of routine, which works better some days than others. But music is usually a constant. Whether I'm working in the basement or hanging with the family, we usually have some sort of music playing. I'm doing my best to keep track of new releases, and to catch up on recent releases or older recordings - I'm currently aiming to listen to every album on the Polaris long list.
Well this is weird. Usually at this time of year we'd be making final preparations for the annual TD Toronto Jazz Festival. I'd be writing blog posts about the various acts appearing at the Festival. And we'd have started the weather watch.
Um, hi. It's been a minute. (Several, actually.) But I'm finally feeling close to back to normal after what ended up being a fairly intense six or so months, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to get back to some semi-regular blogging.
This is a post I've been meaning to write for a while. It takes its inspiration in part from the musicians who again and again provided some outstanding performances at this past summer's Festival, but it's truly directed at any musician who has committed themselves to pursuing the performance of music as their main career.
It's crunch time here at Festival HQ - print deadlines are looming, and it feels as though there is still an impossible number of details to be finalized. We'll get there, but it's going to be a hectic couple of weeks.
Fitting, then, that the title of this year's final TD Discovery Series Special Project presentation, May 2 at The Tell, is "Coding Chaos." Presented by Spectrum Music, the concert will explore the relationship between composers, live musicians and artificial intelligence - and the role that AI plays currently, and might play in the future, in music-making.
I'll admit that it's been a challenging several weeks, both on the home and work fronts. Everything's fine, everyone's healthy, it will all work out. But it's been a bit of a slog. I feel lucky to have supportive family, supportive colleagues, and work (official and personal) which continues to inspire me in a variety of ways.