My formal education includes two Master’s degrees, one in Anthropology and the other in Sociology. Early in my career I assisted my husband in carrying out anthropological research in Alaska in an Eskimo village. I went on to work for the Indian Association of Alberta on First Nations’ treaty rights and land claims. This was followed by providing assistance to Edmonton’s public schools, related to surveys and research, and to research in and evaluation of continued learning by medical doctors in Alberta.
I am a mother of two boys located in Edmonton and Victoria. I am the grandmother of a little boy in Victoria.
I come from a family with a tremendous musical involvement and was exposed to a wide range of music starting as a young child with unappreciated piano lessons. My father was a composer, arranger, conductor as well as an executive in the film and record industries, based in both Los Angeles and New York City. In midlife I learned to play clarinet and have played with Cosmopolitan Music in Edmonton, and now play clarinet and saxophone with the Nanaimo Community Band, the Mood Swings Dance Band, and the Bowen Park Swing Band in addition to the Bryden Street Jazz Band.
Having a father in the Navy, I lived in many places in Canada but was raised primarily in Victoria and, at 22 moved to Alberta for work. I worked in industry in many capacities over thirty years; as a power engineer, millwright and an environment, occupational health and safety specialist.
I have two adult children, both married, and two wonderful grandkids all living in Edmonton.
Although I played trumpet starting in school in grade 7 and continued through secondary school, as an adult I took a hiatus to devote the majority of my time to raising my children, playing sports (soccer, hockey) and technical education. At the age of 45, I had an epiphany of sorts and decided it was time to pick up my horn again. I played in the community band in the town I lived in in Alberta and, after moving to B.C. in 2008, joined the Nanaimo community band and now am enjoying playing in several bands including the Bryden Street Jazz Band.
After some early learning in piano, I played trumpet in high school and fell in love with the sounds and rhythms of jazz. Most recently I challenged myself by learning the flute and completing an Assoc. of Music (Jazz) program at Vancouver Island University. I thrive on playing music and interacting with other like-minded individuals with a love of jazz! I currently enjoy playing flute in the Nanaimo Community Concert Band and the Nanaimo Conservatory Flute Ensemble. On the piano, I am playing with the Mood Swings Band, as a sub in with Nanaimo Bowen Swing Band, with the Dixie Down Beat Band and, as well, with the fun, high energy, Bryden Street Jazz Band.
I was born and raised in Winnipeg Manitoba where my mother sang to my brother, sister and me starting at an early age. By the time I was in elementary school my interest in music had taken hold for life. I participated in choir competitions all through elementary school and in high school I joined the glee club and sang at various events. The Gilbert and Sullivan musicals were some of my favorites.
In high school my interest in playing guitar took hold and I had formal lessons from a private teacher for about five years. I soon began playing in various groups and focusing on different styles of music. My early musical events included solo and group gigs at dances, weddings, retirements and socials, as well as playing often in pubs and clubs. My brother played the Hawaiian guitar so we occasionally played duo gigs together.
When I was starting out I decided to take up the electric bass and added it to my expertise.
I taught music at various music studios in Winnipeg, starting in the late 1960s, as well as continuing to play gigs. I left the studio environment in the mid-1970s and began teaching privately. In the late 1980s I took on different day jobs, the last as a courier, to augment my income until I retired and moved to Nanaimo in 2001.
I now play bass with the Bryden Street Jazz Band and Bowen Park Swing Band and guitar for the Mood Swings Dance Band.
I was born and brought up in the UK, and have been playing drums since I was eight years old. I played in a Beatles style band in school, and after graduating I worked regularly with party bands, until family demands led me to cease playing for a number of years. During this hiatus I continued to develop my career as a lawyer. I took up drumming again in the late 1980’s, gigging with a party band and a big band.
In the 1990’s I decided to end my 30 year legal career and bring my drumming skills to Canada. I opened a drum store in Nanaimo, which I ran successfully for ten years, and re-booted my playing in my new home, drumming with various bands and for many stage musicals all over the Island.
Now fully retired from the “day job”, I am more pleased than ever to be playing and intend to do so until I can no longer carry the drums in and out of gigs!
Sherrill Rutherford – Vocals and Clarinet
My adult life has included professional work as a physical therapist, forester, and adult educator which I have fully embraced; but making music has always been my passion. This passion was germinated early by my mother who was a concert violinist, and started me in piano lessons when I was 5. I joined the school band in elementary school as the oboist, and switched to the flute in high school band. I also sang in a high school Galadriel choir and had the good fortune to tour Europe with them. I became interested in jazz music in my teens; my father led a big band who held monthly dances in Vancouver, and I thought it would be so great to play and sing with a jazz band, however, at that time my focus was classical music so jazz would have to wait. Then my professional career took the reins and my musical endeavors were put on hold. I finally returned to music-making after more than 20 years when I enrolled in the jazz music program at Vancouver Island University, and started attending intensive jazz music workshops as a vocalist and pianist. I recently picked up my dad’s clarinet, and am loving the challenge of playing the “licorice stick”. My ear is inclined to prefer the style of jazz that originated in the ‘20’s and ‘30’s, so the Bryden Street band is a perfect fit for me.
Laara Dalan – Alto Sax
Sister Cecelia at St.Ann’s Convent in Nanaimo started me on piano when I was almost five (still have my first music book!). Did the Hoot Nannies with my Gibson in high school. Music has always been the strong river that moves me. I play various instruments – even a driftwood xylophone!