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by Anne Finlay-Stewart

"Twenty of the most outstanding young jazz players in Canada". That's the way the Conn-Selmer Centrestage Jazz Band is described. So imagine how 15 year old Kaelin Murphy must have felt when he heard he had been invited to join the band at MusicFest Canada this May.

Kaelin auditioned for the invitation-only band back in March, and is looking forward to playing with other talented young musicians. He is particularly excited that the band leader is Alex Dean, Dean of Music at Humber College and an accomplished sax player, and he hopes to speak with a guest artist who played with Maynard Ferguson – Kaelin's favourite trumpet player.

The Conn-Selmer Band is named for the musical instrument manufacturer. Kaelin's own magnificently hand-engraved silver trumpet was made by the firm 91 years ago. It came from Michael Ray, a member of the Sun Ra Arkestra and of Kool and the Gang. But there is also a slight chance, enough to give the trumpet some special magic, that it might have been played by Maynard Ferguson when he was a kid.

If you have been out and about in Owen Sound on a Saturday morning or a pleasant summer's evening in Sauble Beach you have likely heard Kaelin play. His "home band" is literally that – the 8th Street Orchestra consists of his parents, brothers and assorted friends and fellow students who join in. Kaelin has been playing for about eight years, staring with the clarinet which he still plays, and in his first year won a scholarship to the Southampton Summer Music Camp. Along the way he borrowed a trumpet and taught himself to play and the rest will be history. In Grade 10 now, Kaelin plans to graduate a year early to pursue his music studies.

At this year's Kiwanis Music Festival Kaelin was accompanied on the piano by Christine McLean, herself an accomplished musician and piano/clarinet teacher. She was not intending to take on any accompaniment at this year's festival, but was excited to have the chance to work closely with Kaelin. She had already been impressed by his technical abilities, detail and confidence, but in his Kiwanis pieces McLean could see what she described as Kaelin's "developed musical interpretation underlining a true talent." Kaelin was invited to perform at the Festival of Stars, and was recommended for the provincial Kiwanis Music Festival in June.

The Hub is very pleased to be assisting Kaelin with his trip to Toronto for MusicFest Canada. If this kind of wonderful excites you as much as it does us, and you fancy yourself as a patron of the arts, The Hub is accepting donations toward Kaelin's accommodation and expenses. For any donation of $20 or more, you will receive an invitation for you and a friend to an exclusive concert by Kaelin and some musical guests after he returns from his adventure. Contact us at [email protected] and we will arrange for your invitations.


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