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Music Memory - Shayla Gunter-Goldstein

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's Music Memory comes from listener Shayla Gunter-Goldstein who shares her memory of see Ella Fitzgerald at Ontario Place in the early 80s.

“I have so many amazing music memories I don't know which one to choose.  But, one that really had an impact on me was from the early 1980s.  The Jazz festival presented concerts at the Ontario Place Forum and one featured Miss Ella Fitzgerald.  I was so excited!  I had grown up listening to her in my household. My parents used to dance in the living room to all the big band sounds, and they especially loved Ella.  I would sneak out of bed and watch them dance.  So, on the day of the concert, I took off early and got a prime seat in the Forum, just as they were doing rehearsals, sound checks, etc.  I gave the guys a note, explaining how much I adored Ella, how I'd love to meet her backstage, and at the very least ... asking if she could please sing the song my parents so often danced to.  (It was “People”, by the way.)  The guys assured me they'd give Ella my note.  The concert was truly amazing - a highlight of my life, for sure.  At the end, Ella came out for a second encore, looked around the audience, and then read my note.  She said she wanted to make this concert extra special for an extra special someone, and asked me to wave.   I did, and blushed as the spotlight found me. She blew me a kiss, and then sang the most stunning version of my parents’ favourite song I'd ever heard.  I was in Jazz memory heaven!  It has stuck with me ever since.”

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