A young boy around age nine sat in the front entrance of his house in the foothills of Alberta, with one shoe on and one shoe off, his eyes closed, transported by the music playing on the CD player in his house, while the neighbourhood kids watched and waited for him to come out and play.
It was violin music.
The boy, Jeffrey Bazett-Jones, is now an accomplished musician, part of a string orchestra based in Charlottetown, called the Atlantic String Machine. They are bringing their impressive skills to Nelson on Saturday at the United Church, and will be sharing the stage with the sensational soprano, Rachel DeShon.
DeShon made Nelson her home base a few years ago. She has toured throughout the United States, and internationally. As a guest artist with the Marvin Hamlisch National Tour, she performed with the Boston POPS!, Seattle Symphony Pops, Pittsburgh Symphony Pops, and the Singapore’s Esplanade Concert Hall, to name a few.
DeShon was in the Broadway-bound revival of The Secret Garden at the 5th Avenue Theatre. She has performed with Joan Baez, Ann Wilson, Thelma Houston, Martha Davis, Norman Durkee, Lilianne Montevecchi, and Frank Ferrante. Nelson audiences may recall her in the role of Donna in Black Productions’ Mamma Mia!
The Atlantic String Machine is: Sean Kemp (violin) Karen Graves (violin) Jeffrey Bazett-Jones (viola) Natalie Williams Calhoun (cello) and Adam Hill (bass).
The group has received multiple awards from Music PEI (Achievement in Classical or Jazz – 2016, 2017 and 2019). Their debut album, Lost Time, received two East Coast Music Award nominations (Best Classical Recording and Best Classical Composition – 2017). The band has played in festivals across the country, including the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, the Vancouver Island Music Festival, Summerfolk, and the PEI Festival of Small Halls.
Over the past few years, String Machine has performed with a long list of exceptional artists, including Sarah Slean, Duane Andrews, Paper Lions, The Once, James Keelaghan, Meghan Blanchard, Rachel Beck, and Adrienne Gallant. They have also appeared on recordings by Lennie Gallant, Irish Mythen, and Dave Gunning.
Their newest album, The Bayfield Sessions, builds on that spirit of collaboration by featuring guest performances of original songs by Ian Sherwood, Catherine MacLellan, Nathan Wiley, Matthew Byrne, and Alicia Toner.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased through the Capitol Theatre in advance, or at the door.