Entertainment Beat

Jeni and Billy from Nashville, Tennessee will be performing in the East End on Saturday, Sept. 21, to kick off the 17th season of Acoustic Harvest.

Jeni and Billy
Jeni and Billy

Jeni and Billy’s ‘new old music’ has been described as sophisticatedly simple, a slow and spare sound with unrushed performances.

Jeni Hankins drew early inspiration from childhood summers spent in the Appalachians, as well as training with Pulitzer-winning Northern Irish poet Paul Muldoon. She’s been compared to Maybelle Carter and Iris Dement. Billy Kemp grew up in Baltimore, learning to love the sound of Appalachian country from migrants who moved north for work.

The pair have toured over 150,000 miles in the past four years, sharing their harmonies and stories of miners, preachers, ramblers, lovers and others. They’ve won ribbons at festivals for songwriting, traditional folk singing, guitar picking and flatfoot dancing.

Jeni and Billy will play at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, at St. Nicholas Anglican Church, on Kingston Road a block east of Warden. Tickets are $22 or $20 for seniors and students. For more on Jeni and Billy, visit jeniandbilly.com. For more on Acoustic Harvest, visit acousticharvest.ca.

Tapestry New Opera’s 17th annual 10-day composer-librettist laboratory has resulted in Tapestry Briefs, a professional fully staged performance in the Distillery District. Beach resident Michael Mori is the Artistic Director Designate of the company.

Michael Mori
Michael Mori

The workshop brought together four leading Canadian playwrights, four composers, four singers, a director and a music director in a creative ‘speed dating’ situation. Each composer creates a short opera with each individual librettist, with the end result of 16 operas written in only 10 days. Four of those short works are selected for the Tapestry Briefs show.

The stories cover everything from clueless lovers to serial killers to genocide survivors. Tragedy, romance and comedy both dark and light energize the dramatic stories presented by some of the best writers, composers and singers in Canada, animated by the power of music.

Tapestry Briefs runs from Sept. 19 to 22 at the Ernest Balmer Studio in the Distillery District, 9 Trinity St., studio 316. Tickets are $35. For more info, visit tapestryopera.com.

The Next Star, a reality show airing on YTV, features a local talent in its sixth season. Jaden MacPhee, a 14-year-old from the Upper Beach, was selected as one of the top 12 finalists from across Canada in the series, which began airing in July.

Jaden MacPhee
Jaden MacPhee

MacPhee is inspired by soul and R&B artists, and comes from a family with a passion for music and dancing. The young performer takes inspiration from Bruno Mars and James Brown among others, his musical theatre training has paid off in helping him reach the top six, the only Toronto performer among the group.

The live finale of The Next Star takes place on Sept. 22, live from Canada’s Wonderland, where MacPhee will sing his heart out, hoping to earn the votes of viewers to catapult him to the top of the pack.

To vote for MacPhee or find out more about the show, visit nextstar.ytv.com.

Relish Bar and Grill, 2152 Danforth Ave., just east of Woodbine, continues to offer a home to live music on East Danforth.

Regular gigs include Bentroots playing ‘swampy N’Awlins blues’ on Mondays, the BTBs playing jazz/funk/fusion on Wednesdays and David MacMichael playing power pop on Fridays.

Tonight, Tuesday, Sept. 10, The Usual Suspects bring jazz to the stage. If notice is too short, fear not, the group will be back in two weeks’ time, on Sept. 24. Singer-songwriter Anthony Lohan will take the stage on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

Saturdays are new music nights at Relish, and September features a full slate of local singer-songwriters and bands. On Sept. 14 Roger Dory will perform. James Clark Institute is slated for Sept. 21, with Flamingo Bay bringing their indie rock sounds to the Danforth on Sept. 28. All shows start at 7 p.m.

The Toronto Beach Chorale is once again taking part in Canada Culture Days. The group is inviting everyone in the Beach to join in and learn chorale techniques during an open working rehearsal.

The chorale is an adult choir consisting of about 55 members who rehearse and perform in the Beach. The group’s members share a passion for classical chorale music and the desire to share musical experiences. The open rehearsal is a chance to get behind the scenes and interact with experienced choir members, while learning how choral music is rehearsed. Conductor Mervin William Fick will lead the rehearsal for the choir and audience, ending with a short performance of a piece from the chorale’s current concert season.

The rehearsal will take place at Kingston Road United Church, 975 Kingston Rd., from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29. For more on Culture Days, visit culturedays.ca. For more on the Toronto Beach Chorale, visit torontobeachchorale.com or email torontobeachchorale@gmail.com.

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