I’m Cathy and I help Ottawa Jazz Orchestra with the financial and administrative responsibilities. I’m also a musician: a classically trained clarinetist that loves playing baritone saxophone, too. I play all the clarinets and all the saxophones…even the monstrous bass saxophone. I’ve played clarinet in concert bands, woodwind quintets, chamber groups, and symphony ensembles. I have also played in saxophone quartets, jazz bands and show bands on baritone saxophone.
I was hired to perform with OJO back when it was called Impressions in Jazz Orchestra. The music was challenging enough to require significant hours of ‘woodshedding’ on my part. Listening carefully to original performances, learning the nuances of the notes on the page, rehearsing the instrument switches so that there were no glitches, practicing so that the music flowed. Then THE rehearsal with the whole group: intense, long, and scary! Scary because it became clear that there were a few spots that could have used more rehearsal but now time was running out. And then it was the performance. And it was exhilarating! Everyone pulled out all the stops and IJO made exciting music that our audience loved. Worth every bit of effort.
As a doubler (playing more than one instrument on a single gig), I got hired for quite a few more gigs with IJO/OJO and had great fun on every single one. More musical challenge than I had had for a long while. Lots of audience appreciation, too. And OJO was performing music that no one else was doing. Quite simply, I wanted to give something back.
When Adrian invited me to join the board, I didn’t need time to think about it. I know that an organization like this takes a lot of behind the scenes activities. Adrian had been single-handedly doing most of it with the help of a few close friends. Keeping this type of music performance viable seemed like a good idea and I wanted to help achieve that: it has been several years now, through a few long-distance stints, and retirement, and continuous OJO changes and challenges. Though I no longer perform with them, I love that I can still help Ottawa Jazz Orchestra bring such diverse concerts to Ottawa audiences. Best of all, it’s still exciting and fun and of course the most wonderful music!