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Music Memory - Shirantha Beddage

Tuesday, 13 October 2015 10:35

Music Memory is sponsored by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, offering the "Music For Memory Project": a program based on the effects of music and stimulation on people with dementia, by providing them with iPods containing personalized music. For more information, visit

This week we hear from Shirantha Beddage, Humber College music professor and local saxophonist.

When I moved to Toronto to study at Humber College in 2000, I was excited and overwhelmed by the energy of the city, especially by the variety and quality of live music.  One of my first experiences listening to music in Toronto was at the Montreal Bistro, a lovely jazz club which hosted top Canadian and international acts.  Though this would have been a lovely atmosphere for business meeting or a dinner date at other times of day, the room was always dead quiet when the music started.  People were there to listen. 

I’d arrived this evening to hear the flugelhornist Kenny Wheeler, accompanied by Don Thompson on piano, Mike Downes on bass, and Ted Warren on drums.  I waited in anticipation … the musicians arrived on stage… and then… it hit me.  Or rather, Kenny Wheeler’s sound hit me.  The first note out of his horn was like nothing I’ve ever heard before.  His tone was full, round, warm, and so powerful!  This “wall of sound" was seemingly in conflict with the  diminutive, soft spoken figure standing in front of us.  It was then that I began to sense that this man was, in fact, a giant.  I’ve been hooked ever since. 

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