December 12, 2019
We had played at the Elden in July and were invited back to do a Christmas show. We had a larger audience than back in the summer and they were up for some banjo interpretations of old favourites. We had a couple volunteer to do some dancing during one of the numbers and Jim cajoled some ladies and a gentleman up to sing Jingle Bells with the band. We had a lot of fun. With Tuba Tom's retirement, Sheila played bass guitar which she is great at. Al Pounsett, a multi instrumentalist, played the sleigh bells during some of the Christmas numbers. Members of the audience asked when we were coming back again when we were packing up. That is always a good sign. A few pictures below by Pounsett with hopefully more to come from Bev.
Bulleting board notice of the upcoming Toronto Banjo Band show.
The only one facing the camera is Bev. Turned away: Sheila, Carl, Earl and Glen.
Carl, Jim H., Bev and a bit of Sheila.
Director Jim Groulx at the controls.
Some brave members of the audience volunteering to sing Jingle Bells.
The end of the show at the Elden.
After the show the band retired to the Swiss Chalet down the road for Christmas dinner. Carl, Glen, Jeff, Earl and Sheila.
Remembrance Day at the Royal Canadian Legion
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 414, Woodbridge, Ontario
November 11, 2019
The Toronto Banjo Band has changed its practice site to the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Woodbridge this fall. We asked the Legion if they would like us to play at their Remembrance Day gathering. They thought it was a fine idea. We played some of the old wartime tunes along with our regular fare. Below are some photos provided by Jack Currie. Thanks for sending these along Jack.
Forming up on the stage at the RC Legion hall.
Sheila tuning up her bass guitar. Band spouses Pat and Gail waiting for the show.
The scene at the Royal Canadian Legion Remembrance Day lunch.
The TBB Has Lost Two Long Time Banjo Players
Doris Potter and Borgy Borgerson
This past week saw the passing of both Doris Potter and of Borgy Borgerson.
Doris was a long time tenor banjo soloist with the Toronto Banjo Band. Sadly, Doris passed away a short time ago. She was an excellent player and an inspiring addition to our band. We had played at Doris's residence a year or two after she had retired from the TBB. It didn't take much to get Doris temporarily back out of retirement and up on the stage to play a number or two. It's sad to know that our banjo playing friend has gone. This article on Doris was published by the Don Mills residence where Doris Potter lived.
Borgy passed away on November 4, 2019. He was a founding member of the Toronto Banjo Band and inducted into the Banjo Hall of Fame last year. The American Banjo Museum produced a YOUTUBE tribute to Borgy at his induction into the Hall of Fame. Borgy had a number of banjo playing friends across Canada as he had performed from Quebec to British Columbia and points in between.
In addition to the video tribute, the American Banjo Museum wrote the following: "It is with sadness that we report the passing of Alfred Borgy Borgerson on November 4, 2019 in his 94th year. He was a recent inductee into the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame in 2018. Borgy was a true gentleman and did much to promote the banjo throughout North America. His career as an entertainer and banjoist extraordinaire spanned more than half a century. He will be sadly missed by his many friends and family across Canada and beyond. He was a founding member of the Toronto Banjo Band, a band that is still going strong since 1986. Borgy is survived by Eunice his bride of 70 years, an occasion that they celebrated in August, 2019."
Chartwell Barton Retirement Residence
October 24, 2019
I think this was our third (maybe fourth) visit to the Barton Residence in Newmarket. A nice bright lounge area to play in at the Barton. The audience was appreciative of the older numbers we play and some came up to tell us that after the show. The band was treated to birthday cake when we finished as we were part of their monthly mass birthday celebration event. Sadly, this was likely long time band member, Dave Robinson's, final gig with the Toronto Banjo Band. Dave has been with the band for many decades as a tenor player, fine singer, board member and general mover and shaker. Dave was also the founder of the Toronto Strummers. The Strummers were a subset of the band, that performed at the North American International Banjo Convention in Dearborn Michigan. When the full TBB could no longer perform at the convention, the smaller Strummers took over. Dave's move to the Maritimes will leave a hole in our roster. All the best to Dave and his wife Beth on their new adventure.
Dave Robinson at the Barton.
Markham Fair Grounds, Ontario
October 5, 2019
The band assembled at the Markham Fairgrounds for another rousing afternoon of big tent banjo playing. Quite a few members made the drive to north Markham for the show. Bob Armstrong made a guest appearance singing and playing after unfortunately missing last year. It was great to have him back at the Fair. Bob Kobe made the trek down from Bracebridge. We missed having Tom Elliot on tuba and Sheila Dickinson on tenor banjo this day. We played our two sets, at 2:30 pm and 4:00 pm. For once, it was a beautiful sunny fall day and the parking lots and fairgrounds were packed. Our early show had a near record crowd in the big Entertainment Tent. We followed the unicycle rider and juggling kids' comedian both times. We watch his act from the wings. The kids love him. The Markham Fair is an annual highlight for many of us in the band .. it's fun playing in the fall farm fair environment. This was one more in a long long string of appearances. We are grateful. Photos below by Pat Currie, Jack Currie and Al Pounsett..
The Markham Fairgrounds main gate.
Jim Hindorff singing Wooden Heart with the band.
The bandstand at the Markham Fair.
Left: Dave, Jeff, Bob W. and John in the wings. Right: Bandmember Patrick obtaining the name of the unicycle rider's haberdasher.
Waiting to go on: Al, Bob Armstrong, Bob Walton and Director Jim Groulx.
Bob W. on bass, Bev on banjo-mandolin, Dave, Glen on tenor and singer Jim H.
Jim H., Al (in MacLean tartan tam), Jack, Jeff behind, Patrick behind, Earl in white cap, Bob K., Bob A., and just a bit of Carl behind.
Putting on the moves, Director Jim Groulx, singer/solist Earl C. and singer/soloist Banjo Bob Armstrong.
Dave behind, Bev, Jim H. behind, Glen, Al, Jeff behind, Jack, Patrick behind, Earl and Bob A.
Left: Bev Cattle on a street by the same name. Right: the back bacon on a bun place that the band supports heavily.
New Practice Site for the Toronto Banjo Band
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 414, Woodbridge, Ontario
September 9, 2019
The Toronto Banjo Band is practising at a new location. We have moved to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 414 in Woodbridge from the Emmaculate Conception Catholic Elementary School in Woodbridge.
Another change, practices will now take place starting at 12 noon rather than at 7 pm in the evening. Jack Currie sent in a picture of the first practice. You can see it below. Thanks Jack.
The outside of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 414.
The first practice at the Legion.
TBB Banjoist Jean Jolliffe
July 19, 1921 - August 22, 2019
Jean Jolliffe, a long-time member of the Toronto Banjo Band, passed away on August 22, 2019. A tenor banjo rhythm player, she was a great asset to our band with her bright smile and enthusiasm. She was a friend to all the members. At her service of celebration and thanksgiving her family had arranged for Jean's banjo teacher and banjo hall of famer, Tim Allan, to provide the music. We will all miss Jean very much.
Jean Jolliffe at the Evergreen in 2017.
Tim Allan, Jean's teacher.
TBB Golf Day
Timber Ridge Golf Course, Brighton, Ontario
August 12, 2019
This was the 7th time the TBB Golf Day has been held. Every year we have played at the same course, Timber Ridge, just north of Brighton, Ontario. Those that took part this year were Jim Hindorff with his friend Bob Musson, Glen Midgley, Bob Walton, Jack Currie, and Al Pounsett with his long time friend and neighbour Alan Brewster. The weather cooperated with variable cloudiness and a nice breeze to lessen the heat of the day. No holes in one, in fact, there has never been a hole in one on this event. Glen Midgley and Bob Walton tied for lowest gross score. Congratulations to Glen and Bob. After golf, the group travelled a few kilometres to Al and Betty Pounsett's home for beer, burgers and berries. Hopefully we can all make it back in 2020. A few snapshots below by Jack Currie and Al Pounsett.
The golfers: Glen, Bob M., Jack, Jim, Al, Alan, and Bob W. pose for the now tradiional group photo in front of the Pounsett shed and ox yoke.
Glen watching the preceding foursome move down the 10th fairway.
Bob M. tees off on the 1st tee with Jim, Al and Alan looking on.
Glen, Bob W., and Jack.
Jim preparing to shoot on the 11th fairway. Alan B. in the golf cart.
Bob M. on the 11th.
Alan B. and Bob M. waiting for Al P. to get his shot off on the 14th.
Pounsett's patio scene.
Back at Pounsett's patio: Jim, Jack, Bob W., Bob M., Alan B., Alan's wife Maureen, Al's wife Betty and Glen.
Same people, different viewpoint: Maureen, Betty, Glen, Jim, Jack, Bob W., Bob M., and Alan B.
Jean Jolliffe's Birthday
Sally Carroll sent along a note about Jean Jolliffe's birthday celebration at her retirement residence in Burlington. Sally along with Dave Robinson and wife Beth and Glen Midgley attended from the band. It was reported that Jean sang her signature song, Second Hand Rose as only she can. Jean retired from the TBB last year and we miss her very much. Jean played tenor banjo in our rhythm section. Happy birthday Jean and we all wish you well in your new Burlington home. Happy to have you back on old Ontario.
Jean and her huge birthday cake.
Kingsway Place Retirement Residence
July 24, 2019
We have played at the Kingsway in Aurora several times now. Kingsway Place has added a large expansion to their building which looks great but unfortunately eliminated the garden patio setting were have played before. This time we were inside, but a nice room to play in nontheless. The audience was in fine form and Jim weaved his magic in getting some of them to come up and sing with the band. Barb Jordan joined the band today and sang some of her great numbers to the plunking banjos. The residence fed the band before we played which was very nice. Some of us come from a long way off to play these gigs and somehow miss lunch. We are grateful to the Kingsway Place for looking after us. Before we left, the audience was calling for a return concert by the Toronto Banjo Band. Thank you. Some snaphots below by Pounsett.
Our concert room including tenor banjoist Jack.
Bev tunes up. No mean feat on a banjo mandolin.
Our bandstand. We were given lunch in the dining room behind the bandstand.
Director Jim, band singer Barb Jordan and some of the singers that joined us from the audience.
The Eldon of Bradford Retirement Residence
July 18, 2019
This show was at a brand new retirement residence just west of Bradford. A very nice place. For this gig, bandmembers from Woodstock, Bracebridge, Greenville, Toronto, Trenton, Aurora, Brampton, Brechin and Schomberg took part. The audience was great and six or seven came up to sing with the band. The band singers included Sheila, the two Jims, and Dave. The accommodations for the band were fine with a green room for cases and a nice spot for the bandstand. Photos by Pounsett.
Setting up the bandstand at The Eldon.
Our Director, Jim Groulx, relaxing prior to showtime.
Left to right: Jeff, Bev, Bob K., Bob W., Carl and President Glen.
Left to right: Tuba Tom, Dave, Sheila, Jeff, Bev, Bob, K, and Carl.
Amica Newmarket Retirement Community
July 1, 2019
Our return visit to the Amica residence in Newmarket, Ontario. We were here before back in January. This time we played outside in a really nice shaded patio area. This being Canada Day, we started off with O Canada. Our play list also included Bobby Gimby's Canada song from 1967. A really lovely setting for some banjo playing and listening. Some of the band's wives and sweethearts attended as the plan was to go out for an early dinner after the show in Aurora. Director Groulx was able to cajole a gentleman in the audience to come up and sing along with the band and three lovely ladies who also volunteered. Band singing was handled by Sheila, Dave and the two Jims. A little solo work on the banjo by Bev, Al and Jim Groulx. A fine day. Pictures by Pounsett and Midgley.
The shaded audience area at Amica in Newmarket.
President Glen, Secretary Dave, and Director Jim at the patio bandstand.
The well trained and obedient band follows 'stand up' order. Carl and John on the right end.
The shady bandstand with Director Jim, Tuba Tom, Sheila, Bev, Glen, Al, Jim H., Dave, and Carl.
Special Birthday Entertainment
Glenerin Inn, Mississauga, Ontario
April 13, 2019
The Toronto Banjo Band was invited to provide the entertainment at Mr. Earl Fee's 90th birthday party at the impressive Glenerin Inn in Mississauga. Mr. Fee has been a champion senior runner, a holder of many event titles. Our president, Glen Midgley, pulled together many clips and photos of Earl and created a presentation board for him. It was very well received by Earl and the party guests. Photos were taken by Patrick Longhurst and Jeff's wife Barb Jordan. Details of the event were provided by Glen Midgley. Thanks Barb, Patrick and Glen.
President Glen making a presentation to Earl Fee.
The board of memories and achievements presented by the TBB to Mr. Fee.
Mr. Earl Fee on banjo. Another of his talents.
President Glen and Earl Fee.
Left: Director Jim leading the band. Right: Tom on tuba and the band front row.
Left: Sheila, Bev, Glen, Earl and Patrick. Right: Patrick, Grace, Jeff and Tom.
Amica Newmarket Retirement Community
January 16, 2019
This is the first time we have played for the folks at the Amica residence in Newmarket, Ontario. The audience was very welcoming and I think I can say we all had a great time. We had a fine complement of band members in attendance. The room we played in was nice plus we had a 'green room' immediately behind it for coats and instrument cases. Our vocal soloists were Sheila Dickenson, Earl Craddock, Jim Groulx, Jim Hindorff and Dave Robinson. Banjo solosts were Earl Craddock (multi talented), Bev Cattle and Al Pounsett. A nice event for the band. Photos by Pounsett.
Jim Hindorff, Jim Groulx, Bev Cattle and Jack Currie setting up the bandstand.
Tom Elliot, Jim Hindorff, Carl Finkle, Bev Cattle and Sheila Dickenson in the Green Room.
Grace Longfield and Earl Craddock.
Immaculate Conception Catholic Elementary School
December 10, 2018
For many years now the Toronto Banjo Band has held its twice monthly practices in Woodbridge, Ontario, at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Elementary School. This Christmas season we once again had the fun of playing for the students (435 of them) in the school gym. The kids were great, the teachers were great. Director Jim Groulx invited the teachers to come up and sing Jingle Bells for the kids which they did to the kids' delight. Everyone ended up singing along. The gym roof seemed to hold up OK. Thanks to Jim Hindorff for setting this up between the band and the school. Thanks to Jim Groulx for his leadership. Unexpectedly the band was graciously treated to some goodies by the school and its teachers; not necessary but appreciated. After the show, the whole band retired to the local Swiss Chalet for an early dinner together.
Setting up in the school gym.
Most of the band.
Our President, Glen Midgley, thanks Director Jim Groulx and the band as the year ends.
Dave Robinson and Bob Walton.
Christie Gardens Apartments and Care
November 7, 2018
The band was invited to play at Christie Gardens near the downtown Toronto area. Christie Gardens is a large complex and we played in the auditorium, a very nice venue. Adjacent to the auditorium was a lovely little coffee shop were some of the early arriving band members had refreshments or a light lunch. We had a great audience who quickly volunteered for Director Jim's conga line invitation with Creole Belle, We had a good turnout from the band members for this gig, but missed our tuba player, Tom. Sheila filled in on electric bass. Singing was handled by Director Jim Groulx, Bob (Mr. Blues) Walton, Jim Hindorff, Dave Robinson and Earl Craddock. Earl also did some great chord melody banjo numbers for the audience. Bev Cattle on banjo-mandolin and Al Pounsett on plectrum banjo handled a few solo breaks. Grace Longfield's sister was in the audience, Grace is a long time tenor banjo player in the band. Remembrance Day was honoured by Director Jim Groulx as he had the band play a couple of WWII numbers from our repetoire. Photos below were taken by Jack Currie and Al Pounsett.
The Christie Gardens auditorium with the TBB milling about before the show.
Earl, Dave and Patrick.That's Dave displaying dues cheques from some bandmembers; and Grace with her sister.
Our long serving president and gig manager, Glen.
Markham Fair Grounds, Ontario
September 29, 2018
The Toronto Banjo Band was invited again to play at the Markham Fair. This was the latest in a very long series of performances by the TBB at this large fall fair. We played twice on the Saturday afternoon; 2:30 PM and 4:00 PM. This gig is different from most of our other gigs with the excitement of the farm show and the midway in the air. We had a fine turnout from the band and were glad to see Bracebridge Bob Kobe and Earl back in the show. Director Jim had an upbeat set list for us which is great for the variety of ages in the audience. We followed Mr. Craig Douglas with his kid friendly unicycle and juggling comedy act for both sets. No wild animals onstage with us this time. Grateful. Some snapshots below by the Pounsetts, thanks Betty.
The show lineup in front of the Entertainment Tent at the Markham Fair. We are part way down the sign following Mr. Craig Douglas's comedy act.
Inside the Entertainment Tent before the TBB took the stage. Mr. Craig Douglas and unicycle.
Bev in the wings waiting to go 'on'.
The TBB and our audience.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Toronto Banjo Band.
American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
September 6 to 8, 2018
Canadian banjoist Borgy Borgerson was inducted into the banjo Hall of Fame this September. Canadian banjoist Roy Hill attended on behalf of Borgy to accept his award. Canadians Tim Allan and Sandy Perrotta were also there. Roy has sent in some snapshots taken at the event by his friend Carol Johnston. Thanks to Carol and Roy.
Tim Allan on stage (both photos).
Taylor Pfeiffer from Adelaide, Australia. Mummers Quartet.
Roy and Tim Allan. The Banjo Hall of Fame Award. Roy Hill and friends.
Jamming in the lobby. Bela Fleck and Carol Johnston.
Sandy Perrotta and Roy Hill. Sandy Perrotta, Roy Hill, Carol Johnston and Doug Parsons (President, ABM)..
Credit River Retirement Residence
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
President Midgley reported that the Credit River Retirement Residence is a new mult-story retirement home in Streetsville, Ontario which was originally a mill town. Today, it's part of Mississauga. Although we played in the lower rotunda and it was fully packed with residents, the two adjacent hallways also had people sitting in them along with people listening in a room that joined into the rotunda. I would estimate that there were about sixty residents who attended and no one left until the concert was finished. The pictures below were taken by the residence staff and kindly supplied to our website. Thank you.
Jim left, Tom right, the TBB in the middle.
The bandstand at the Credit River Retirement Residence.
TBB Golf Day
Timber Ridge Golf Course, Brighton, Ontario
Monday, August 13, 2018
According to the records of the Toronto Banjo Band, the first TBB Golf Day was held in 2012. For some reason, the event was not held in 2015. The games played have all been contested at the Timber Ridge Golf Course just north of Brighton, Ontario. Attendance is limited to anyone in the band who would like to play plus a friend if desired. This year we had eight golfers, and as it turns out, the same group that played in 2013. The weather forecast for the day was possible thunder showers, but we only ran into one shower (non thunder) which lasted about 5 minutes. Other than that, not a bad day with some sun and some overcast. After the game, back to Betty and Al Pounsett's near Trenton for burgers and refreshments. This is a non-competitive event but, it must be said that President Glen Midgley had the Lowest Gross. The Most Honest Golfer award did not come up in the post game conversation. A few pictures of this year's event are below. Planning is already underway for the 2019 TBB Golf Day.
The 2018 Golfers: Bob Musson, Al Pounsett, Alan Brewster, Glen Midgley, Bob Walton, Doug Harper, Patrick Longhurst and Jim Hindorff.
Doug, Patrick and Alan, Doug and Patrick at the 18th tee.
Golfers and host Betty at Pounsett's patio.
Another patio action shot.
Borgy Borgerson Interview on CBC Radio
Borgy To Be Inducted Into the Banjo Hall of Fame
CBC Radio Interview from British Columbia. Click here for the interview.
"Borgy Borgerson is still picking at 92. The Vancouver Island got his big break on the banjo at Expo 67 in Montreal, and this year if being inducted into the Banjo Hall of Fame. He shared some of his memories with Gregor Craigie."
Borgy has had a long association with the Toronto Banjo Band from its very start. What an amazing banjo career.
Woodhall Park Retirement Village
June 28, 2018
Another return show at the Woodhall Park Retirement Village in Brampton, just west of Toronto. A good crowd with enthusiastic clappers and volunteer singers. Many of the audience said they look forward to our band coming to entertain them every year. Always nice to hear. Our President Glen declared it a 'good show' when it was all over. The residence celebrated all the June birthdays in the crowd and included our very own Dave in the mix. Happy Birthday Dave.
The bandstand setup at Woodhall Park. Minimal sound equipment was used due to the intimate setting.
Park Place Retirement Residence
June 14, 2018
This was our first time at Park Place. A nice venue for our band and a great singing audience. We had an almost full turnout from the band banjoists and we had a smooth running show. Once again we were missing Earl and Jeff in recovery mode. Our singers were represented by Jim Groulx, Jim Hindorff, Dave Robinson, Sheila Dickinson, and Bob (the Blues) Walton; lead banjo solos by Glen Midgley, Bev Cattle and Al Pounsett. Parking was a bit of an issue, but we all made it in time.
Setting up the bandstand. The audience was seated cabaret style. A nice facility.
Yonge Lawrence Business Improvement Association Village Day
June 9, 2018
Another engagement at the Yonge Lawrence BIA Village Day of sidewalk sales and live entertainment. We were set up again beside the Scotia Bank just north of Lawrence Avenue with a pavillion to shield us from the sun; the forecast rain never appeared. We had a good turnout from the band members and everything went smoothly; not always the case playing outside in a parking lot. Singing was handled by Music Direcxtor Jim Groulx, Dave Robinson and Jim Hindorff. Banjos solos by Bev Cattle and Jim Groulx. We seem to attract an older crowd on the street as well as little kids who make their parents stop to watch and listen. Little Maizie showed up again this year with her parents and new sister and the band responded by plaing Maizie for her once again. Little Maizie is getting bigger. We missed Jeff Hood and Earl Craddock today. A speedy recovery to both these gentlemen. The BIA look after us very well and we enjoy taking part in their blocks long event. We hope to be back again next year.
Jim and Jack at the Yonge Street bus stop.
Our pavillion set up beside the Scotiabank Branch near Yonge and Lawrence.
The Scotiabank charity hot dog and hamburger BBQ on the left. Lunch for some of us.
Yonge Street decked out for the Village Day sidewalk sale.
Jack checking out other lunch options on Yonge Street.
Tom with his Sousaphone. That's Director Jim over near the parking meter by the street. .
The scramble to start on time. Carl, Dave, Jack and Jim H.
Sheila on tenor banjo and Bev on banjo-mandolin.
John just back from Europe to play with the band.
The President of the Toronto Banjo Band, Glen Midgley.
Bandmember Jack Currie Visits the American Banjo Museum
Hall of Fame Induction of Canadian Borgy Borgerson Announced in ABM Quarterly Magazine
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
Toronto Banjo Band tenor banjoist, Jack Currie, sent in some pictures from his visit to the American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Thanks for doing this Jack. It looks like a great place to visit.
Original bandmember and top flight Canadian banjoist, Borgy Borgerson, is to be inducted into the Banjo Hall of Fame at the ABM later this year. Some bandmembers are planning on attending this event. Congratulations to Borgy from the band.
The entrance to the American Banjo Museum with TBB member Jack on the steps.
Left: Jack amongst the Vega banjos. Right: TBB original member and Banjo Hall of Fame inductee, Tim Allan, has a banjo of his on display (centre banjo).
Banjos and more banjos.
Are these Richelieu banjo resonators?
Thanks Jack for finding this one. A lovely Weymann banjo in the centre of the front row.
Jack Currie sent along the American Banjo Museum Quarterly article on the new Hall of Fame inductees which include Canada's Borgy Borgerson. Once again, congratulations from us in the band Borgy.
Highway Terraces Seniors Valentine Party
Rexdale Presbyterian Church, Etobicoke, Ontario
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Our annual engagement for the Highway Terraces Seniors and their Valentine Party. The band played from Leader Jim's set list with singers Sheila, Jim H., Earl, Dave and Jim g. Banjo solos by Sheila, Jim G., Bev, Earl and Al. The seniors are always very welcoming which makes it fun for the band members. They got up to dance and even executed a magnificent conga line for a number. We were treated as always to dessert at the break which is appreciated. Back again next year.
The hall and bandstand at Rexdale Presbyterian.
Bill keeping an eye on Glen's setup process.
Dave working on one of the mics.
Tom, Leader Jim and Grace.
Glen, Bev, Tom, Jim G., Grace and Jim H.