March 27, 2020
As a diversion from the pandemic, the American Banjo Museum is putting on a series of shows accessible over the Internet. Their schedule for upcoming shows is below. They are accessible via the ABM Facebook page referenced at the bottom of the schedule.
The Roxborough Retirement Residence
February 5, 2020
We had played at the Roxborough back in 2014 outside in their park area. This time, wintertime, we played inside in a very nice pub style room. Our audience was large and enthusiastic and seemed to have a good time. There were plenty of positive comments sent our way when the show was over about having us back, how much fun we all had and how great a banjo band sounded. Dave Robinson was back temporarily from the Maritimes and he, Jim Hindorff and Jim Groulx handled the singing along with Barbara Jordan who graces us from time to time. Thanks Barbara. Jim Groulx asked for volunteers from the audience to come up and sing with the band, and as always, he has a way to get them to the bandstand. Another enjoyable gig for the TBB.
The entertainment room at the Roxborough. We were set up in front of the fireplace. That's Jack and Maritime Dave in the foreground.
Left: Jim D., Sheila D. and President Glen. Right: Jim H.
Left: Director Jim encouraging more singers to come up and join the band. Right: Our volunteer choristers.
January 29, 2020
Sally Carroll, a long time member of the Toronto Banjo Band, passed away on Wednesday, January 29th, in Toronto. Sally had retired from the TBB a couple of years ago to pursue playing with traditional/dixieland jazz ensembles. She became a member of the Lakeridge Dixie Stompers of Ajax, Ontario, and also played at the Legion near her home in Toronto. During her TBB days, Sally played lead plectrum banjo. She was a fine player and adventurous enough to work up banjo solos to be inserted into our repetoire. She loved to attend the North American International Banjo Convention held annually in Dearborn Michigan. At the convention she played in the concerts with the TBB, the Toronto Strummers and with the American band called the Banjo Busters. The Banjo Busters was made up of top flight international banjo players playing multipart arrangements, and Sally was right in there amongst them. When the Toronto Strummers would rehearse for an upcoming NAIBC convention gig, she would graciously host the practises ... lunch included. The members of the TBB have missed Sally since she moved on to other banjo pursuits, and now the missing is more poignant knowing that she has passed away. Our sincere condolences to her children and their families.
Sally with the Toronto Banjo Band
Sally with the Toronto Strummers
Sally with the Banjo Busters
Amica Newmarket Retirement Community
January 7, 2020
We had played at this Amica back in January of 2019 and also in July 2019, and were back again for a return engagement. Thanks to Jim Hindorff for making the arrangements for us. Pictures by Jack Currie and Bev Cattle. Thanks Jack and Bev.
Director Jim Groulx.
Plectrum banjoists, Carl and Patrick.
Left: Jim Hindorff belting out a number. Right: Banjo-mandolinist, Bev, on camera.
The Band and Director Jim.
Left: Sheila on bass guitar. Right: Jim Groulx and Carl.
Left to Right: Sheila, Jim H., Carl, Patrick, President Glen, Earl and Jack.
The Elden of Bradford
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. After the show we had a TBB Christmas Dinner at a local Swiss Chalet. A few pictures below by Pounsett and Bev. Thanks Bev for sending these in..
Left: Bulleting board notice of the upcoming Toronto Banjo Band show. Right: Al and his plectrum banjo.
Left: The only one facing the camera is Bev. Turned away: Sheila, Carl, Earl and Glen. Right: Sheila.
Bev, Jim H., and Carl.
Carl, Patrick and Jeff.
Director Jim Groulx at the controls.
Some brave members of the audience volunteering to sing Jingle Bells.
Left: The end of the show at the Elden. Right: Al and Earl comparing Santa hat terminations.
After the show the band retired to the Swiss Chalet down the road for Christmas dinner. Carl, Glen, Jeff, Earl and Sheila.
Jeff, Earl and Sheila.
Patrick, Al, and two Jims.
Carl, Glen and Jeff.
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.