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men in black

The Men in Black Brassline accompanied the Saturday evening performers for the 25th Canadian Big Band Celebration. From left, Cam Porter, Charlie Bell, Ian Burbidge, Wayne McGrath and Peter Rissi.

Hub Staff

It was a big year for the Canadian Big Band Celebration (CBBC) as they celebrated their 25th anniversary this past weekend with a wide range of music at venues throughout Saugeen Shores.

The three day event was held September 20 to 22 with Friday Night Jazz kicking off at venues in Port Elgin and Southampton. The SS Trolley shuttled people between the two communities to listen to a mix jazz, blues and soul music.

The entertainment moved to the Unifor Family Education Centre in Port Elgin for the remainder of the weekend. An afternoon show saw the dance floor fill up as the Canadian Big Band performed songs from the 1920s through to the 1980s, an homage to dance pavilions of the time that were spread along the Lake Huron shoreline.

Jazz singer and classical vocalist Sonja Gustafson, Saugeen Shores crooner Ethan Salmon and Aria 21, a classical ensemble comprised of local trio Christina Edwards, Meghan De Jager and Liz Coates, all perfumed alongside the Canadian Big Band throughout the afternoon.

The dancing continued Saturday evening as The Lulu's Band took to the stage performing a variety of genres of music, accompanied by The Men In Black Brassline with Elvis tribute artist Peter Irwin performing various classic Elvis numbers to the excited crowd.

The music continued Sunday as the Sunday Jazz Brunch gave guests an opportunity to listen to The Midnight Ramblers perform while enjoying a meal prepared by Unifor's Executive Chef.

CBBC's Charlie Bell said it was hard to believe that it was the 25th anniversary of the event. “It feels surreal in a way because you think, has it really been 25 years,” Bell said. “You kind of forget year to year and you just keep plugging ahead and all of a sudden it's 25.”

Bell was pleased to see the number of people attending this year's event. “It was the best year in a while. It went really well.”


The Lulus Band had people up and dancing throughout the evening September 21 as the Canadian Big Band Celebration took over the Unifor's Family Education Centre.


Elvis was in the building as tribute artist Peter Irwin performed numerous Presley classics.


The dance floor at Unifor was full of dancers throughout both Saturday shows September 21.


Ken Thornburn of Northern Flyer Designs and Promotions with an original drawing he had created for the 25th annual Big Band Celebration. Proceeds from a ticket draw were going to support the purchase of musical instruments at Saugeen District Senior School.


A balloon display at the Unifor Family Education Centre in Port Elgin reminded guests of the event's 25th anniversary.


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