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Ken Wallis Chats With Derek Andrews Ahead Of The 26th Annual Maple Blues Awards


By Ken Wallis.



The Maple Blues Awards salutes the best blues music and musicians from across Canada. Multiple categories are highlighted and the awards are given out at a star-studded ceremony, coming up soon.


Ken Wallis interviewed Derek Andrews for the radio show BluesSource Canada. The following are excerpts from that interview, edited for brevity and clarity.




Ken Wallis

The 26th Annual Maple Blues Awards are coming up very soon in a new venue, and joining us to tell us all about it is Derek Andrews, President of the Toronto Blues Society. Derek thanks for coming on the show


Derek Andrews

I am happy to spread the word about our annual blues community gathering and the changes that we've made just recently.


Ken Wallis

So, you're moving to a new venue. Tell us all about the venue.

Derek Andrews

Yeah, we've been at Koerner Hall for a dozen years and I have to acknowledge that we've had a bit of a Covid fallout and ticket sales aren't what they were. We wanted to get to a more intimate experience and we looked around and spoke to a few venues in Toronto and Harbourfront Centre came on board. I don't know if you're familiar, but Harbourfront Centre is a 10-acre Arts Complex with several buildings including the Harbourfront Centre theatre. I used to work there and I know the room pretty well. It's 350 seats and a really nice production house where we'll drop in the Maple Blues Band and all our guests. We’ve offered the experience in a revitalized and refreshed way and shifted the ticket prices around a little bit. We're carrying on with a January 30th, Monday night show. We’re bringing in the community to experience the best in Blues in Canada.

Ken Wallis

And who's going to be hosting the show?

Derek Andrews

None other than Quisha Wint, who is a powerful vocalist and happens to be on The Toronto Blues Society board. You've seen her singing gospel and doing shows at Hughes Room and all over the place. She's a busy gal and she was a presenter at the last show, and she did such a fine job we asked if she could host. We have a lot of confidence that she's going to master things.

Ken Wallis

And are there any special guests that will be performing that evening?


Derek Andrews

One of our innovations is that we have a new indigenous Blues Artist of the year and we have an indigenous artist coming in from British Columbia, Blue Moon Marquee, a duo that we saw at the Blues Summit and they've had a number of nominations. We're just finalizing the lineup; Paul Reddick is performing with Kyle Ferguson from Sidemen and Ann Vriend from Edmonton. Kevin Harvey's in from Quebec from the Durham County poets and from Bywater call Megan Parnell and Dave Barnes. So it's an eclectic mix and all backed up by the Maple Blues Band that Gary Kendall leads.


Ken Wallis

And where do folks get tickets for this?

Derek Andrews

Harbourfront Centre's box office is up and running, they can click through the Toronto Blues Society or even from the old Koerner Hall site. They've got a link directly to the Harbourfront Centre's box office. If you're a TBS member or a nominee, there's a discount but the prices are based on the seating selection and there's good seats. There's not a bad seat in the house,

Ken Wallis

And we're all thrilled that one of our radio blues buddies is getting an award. Patrick Monahan, the Blues Booster Award.


Derek Andrews

The selection was done by the board of directors, that's the only award that's been announced. Patrick up at Canoe FM in Halliburton area is being acknowledged and he'll be on hand to receive his trophy. And you're right, it's a great moment for representing a guy who's around town and supporting blues artists all the time.

Ken Wallis

And it's going to be one heck of a night. The Maple Blues Awards is a fantastic evening of music. Will there be an after party as well?

Derek Andrews

Things are a little different because we have less space at the Harbourfront Centre's theatre. I actually know it from the old days the different names of buildings when I was there. The outdoor stage was called Molson Place, but Molson is no longer a sponsor. There was something called the Premier Dance Theatre which is called the Fleck Theatre. The Power Plant has never changed names as far as I know and Harbourfront Centre's theater is right beside The Power Plant. At Harbourfront Centre theatre there are a couple of lobby spaces where we'll have a meet and greet after the show. I don't think we're going to have a performance because we don't have space for a band but we're working on a lot of things. Over the holidays we were very busy dealing with these changes.

Ken Wallis

Well we're all looking forward to that great evening, and Derek, I thank you so much for coming on the show.


Derek Andrews

It's been a lot of fun putting it together, a little crazy, but Gary Kendall's promising to deliver. I should mention that Gary's got a little bonus up his sleeve and that the Maple Blues Band have signed a deal with Cordova Bay Records, and they have a new record coming out. They'll be celebrating that along with the award show and all the trophies that will be handed out. Thanks for your help spreading the word Ken.



Website: www.mapleblues.ca/

Harbourfront Centre Theatre: my.harbourfrontcentre.com/39330



The Maple Blues Band Perform At The Maple Blues Awards 2020.





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