Over 50 performers come together into one integrated, historical narrative showcasing the roots and development of our Canadian musical heritage in this unique and exciting, ninety-minute, bilingual musical production.
The gift of jazz, the gift of culture, the gift of music, and the gift of a live experience, shared by all ages.
With song, dance and storytelling, audiences of all ages and especially students have been guided through the importance of Canada’s history and culture.
“For the past 14 years it has been my pleasure to be a part of Odyssey Showcase’s productions. I wholeheartedly feel that their productions are icons of priceless educational and entertainment value.
My name is Darin Kyle. I am the first Canadian World Tap Dance Champion. I am a keynote speaker and local “community building” activist in Ottawa. My roots in this city run deep. And I have deep respect for how Deborah Davis, her crew and her cast have made an impact on the lives of students. With song, dance and storytelling, audiences of all ages and especially students have been guided through the importance of Canada’s history and culture.
Odyssey Showcase is devoted to finding the right talent to do the job and does it extraordinarily well. It is my opinion that if given the opportunity to back the Canada Speaks project, then the only course of action is to throw all of your support behind the initiative and ride the subsequent wave of success. Speaking from experience, it will be a partnership built on mutually assured success. I welcome you to experience this partnership for yourself.”
Darin David Kyle
Most of all, Deborah is one of those rare individuals that encompasses musical talent with a deep sense of purpose.
About Peter: Peter has over thirty years of experience as a musician, drummer and band leader. He has also completed nine Canadian Forces world show tours, to Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Dubai. He has had an impressive career as a respected and well sought after performer and recording musician with numerous world class Canadian and international artists including Harry Chapin, Petula Clark, Rita Coolidge and Rob McConnell (Boss Brass) to name a few. Peter has been working with Deborah Davis since 1997 on a number of projects as Musical Director includingSatin Dolls, What is this Thing Called Jazz, Canada Roars and the Canadian Musical Odyssey Ensemble.
The Gift of Jazz is an experience that perfectly captures the eclectic journey in North American musical evolution.
It is always wonderful to witness tribute to an American art form because doing so tips a hat to all of the diversity that contributes to its creation.
It is always wonderful to witness tribute to an American art form because doing so tips a hat to all of the diversity that contributes to its creation. The American experiment, at its very core is a testament to the involvement of so many cultures and backgrounds and the blessings that emerge.
At the core of this performance we see and feel the soul of the African Diaspora. We hear the agony of the middle passage and hope of a people newly freed from bondage. As the scenery and century turns and America begins to flex we witness the influences of the European classics and modernity on the presentation of jazz into the mainstream of culture. The ‘Gift’ presentation gives homage to the great performers of Bessie Smith, Louis ‘Satchmo‘ Armstrong, Fats Waller and many more.
All of the ‘Gift’ performers and musicians are dedicated artisans and lovers of both the arts and their professionalism is evident in this performance.
It is very clear the Deborah Davis and Segue to Jazz has a winner in the ‘Gift of Jazz’ as she continues to share this with the Greater Ottawa Community. When presented again it is a must see.”
Finding Jesus and Gospel music Michael sang in church choirs from Detroit to Ottawa. As a solo vocalist, Michael toured with and for his father, the late Sir Roland Hanna in the United States and Japan. Having a fondness for male vocal harmony, Michael nurtured this love of singing with male a cappella groups including the Canadian Men’s Chorus of Toronto.
Michael currently manages Rahanna Music Inc., and has developed over 300 compositions of Sir Roland Hanna. He can also be found on several CD’s in addition to performing in Ottawa and abroad.
Odyssey Showcases Ultimate Valentine to Jazz
Jazz music has certainly created enough romantic standards to slip into when making a Valentine’s Day playlist for that candle lit dinner with your sweetheart. Ella and Louis singing “Cheek to Cheek”, Miles soothing horn on “Stella by Starlight”, the sensual crooning of Holiday singing “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love)” and, of course, sorrowful Chet and his funny Valentine.
As an American living in Canada, I was surprised to learn how much of Canada’s musical history added to and changed the world.
I attended this performance and was thoroughly and totally transfixed and transformed by the talent, choreography, content and information in the most enjoyable show I have seen in many years. As an American living in Canada, I was surprised to learn how much of Canada’s musical history added to and changed the world. The school children attending were enthralled and attentive and were a joy to watch as they waved their arms and sang along. I would highly recommend this show to anyone who enjoys music! Deborah Davis was a pure joy and her talent transcends many musical eras. Bravo to a great, great show!
The team has consulted with myself and the other First Nations Cultural Ambassadors to make sure the culture, people and history are presented appropriately. These steps are greatly appreciated and therefore has strengthened our participation in the Musical Odyssey.
My name is Jason Gullo Mullins from the Cherokee Nation. I’m a First Nations cultural ambassador, educator, fine artist and performing artist. My roll as a cultural ambassador is to educate and represent First Nations properly.
I’ve been performing with Odyssey Showcase and the Canadian Musical Odyssey ensemble for 12 years. In this time frame we’ve been welcomed with warm arms into the cast as family. The team has consulted with myself and the other First Nations Cultural Ambassadors to make sure the culture, people and history are presented appropriately. These steps are greatly appreciated and therefore has strengthened our participation in the Musical Odyssey.
Canada Roars and Canada Speaks are an awesome layout of Canadian history, the format of teaching through the arts makes it easier for youth to learn especially when you entertain and engage them with mediums they can all relate to: live music, dancing, singing and acting.
I’m looking forward to performing with the cast again soon.”
a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the many positive contributions the First Peoples have made right here in our traditional territory of Odawa, also known as Ottawa
“…A brilliant teaching tool…both Canada Roars and Canada Speaks projects provide a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the many positive contributions the First Peoples have made right here in our traditional territory of Odawa, also known as Ottawa…”
You can see the change inspired by education through the arts, the evidence is in their eyes and in their smiles!
“When I portray the role of Pauline Johnson it is always a blessing to see young people’s minds and curiosities open up when they learn about some of the hidden treasures of Canadian History. Many participants come in not knowing who the characters are, but when they leave you can see the change inspired by education through the arts, the evidence is in their eyes and in their smiles! “
One Mohawk First Nation student who attended Canada Speaks was excited because he was able to share some of his history with his classmates.
The plays focus on how First Nations influenced our history, aligns perfectly with the new emphasis on aboriginal issues in School and Canadian Society in general.
I hope that plans can be made to have the show performed in the near future. In just over 2 hours the show brought history alive for my students, something the texbook and videos were seldom able to do in 10 weeks of classes!
We cannot underestimate the importance of the arts in our students life.
As a 6th grade teacher, I see The Gift of Jazz” as an educational “gift” for all junior-senior level students
“The Gift of Jazz celebrates the profound impact and diversity of black culture and history and portrays a musical story-telling of the contributions of African Americans in the development of music. The Gift of Jazz is engaging, dynamic….and a must see for both families and school groups. As a parent of an 9 year old and 14 year old, I can honestly say they were both fascinated by the production. Afterwards we engaged in wonderful discussions about the lives of African Americans, civil rights, and how mood and experience contributed to the development of different genres of jazz. As a 6th grade teacher, I see The Gift of Jazz” as an educational “gift” for all junior-senior level students. With the wealth of social justice and curricular connections the production provides, it’s the perfect support addition to support Black History Month.
My guests and I enjoyed every song, the singers, the dancers, the actors and speaking notes that framed and contextualized the songs
“…My guests and I enjoyed every song, the singers, the dancers, the actors and speaking notes that framed and contextualized the songs. . . . the backdrops and slides, the Band, lighting, choreography, sound levels – all fabulous! A Terrific show. . . . . it should be repeated each year, and on more than one evening. . . with students invited from every high school in town, to learn something about Black music and history…”
The music lively, the band flawless and the performers kept the audience entertained throughout.
“This is our second year attending performances by Deborah Davis and Odyssey Showcase, and we loved every minute of it. The music lively, the band flawless and the performers kept the audience entertained throughout. This year’s “Gift of Jazz” featured a wonderful selection of amazing songs from the greatest jazz singers of the past century….Deborah, Stefan Keyes, Michael C. Hanna and tap dancer Darin Kyle kept the energy level high, with the audience bouncing to the beat of their songs throughout. There wasn’t a lull in the performance from start to finish. The quality of the music, the dancing and the singing were inspirational.”
”Spectacular show! We were treated to an absolutely stunning evening – both visually and musically, from period costumes to amazing, strong, powerful vocals from Deborah, Michael, and Stefan!!! ….From Africa to present day….a story well told through music. Congratulations to TD and all the members of The Gift of Jazz.”
It was fun, emotional, professional and patriotic
“I was overwhelmed with the performance of A Musical Taste of Our Canadian Heritage. It was fun, emotional, professional and patriotic. I would highly recommend it to Canadians of any age. Bravo Deborah Davis!”
The show appeals to everyone regardless of language or age, and is a musically entertaining and powerfully cultural reflection of the history and beauty of our home and native land.
“A Musical Taste of Our Canadian Heritage/ Notre patrimoine canadien, une odyssée musicale” is highly recommended as an ideal production to showcase Canada … we recommend this production as among the best Canada has to offer…The show appeals to everyone regardless of language or age, and is a musically entertaining and powerfully cultural reflection of the history and beauty of our home and native land.”
It touches the soul and elevates the senses
“Deborah Davis’s powerful, expertly researched, bilingual production “A Musical Taste of Our Canadian Heritage/Notre patrimoine canadien, une odyssée musicale” is a collaborative performance infused with music, dance, song, and historical narrative reflecting the Canadian experience, past and present. This ninety minute interactive teaching tool not only ignites an interest in our country’s music and history, but cultivates in the audience a feeling of national pride, while potentially creating a whole new generation of theatre goers. It touches the soul and elevates the senses, no matter the age of the audience. It is brilliant! You will not be disappointed!”
It brings together more than 50 performers, 100 pieces of music and authentic regalia and costumes
“Deborah Davis’ blockbuster show: A Musical Taste of Our Canadian Heritage/Notre patrimoine canadien, une odyssée musicale has been amazing audiences for the past twelve years. It brings together more than 50 performers, 100 pieces of music and authentic regalia and costumes in a ninety minute odyssey of Canadian music, culture and history. In my own experience, this is not a production you can just sit back and watch passively. It is too moving and uplifting to fail to engage the audience at a personal level. Deborah has created something remarkable and noteworthy. She is a true talent.”
You could feel the energy and excitement of Canada’s history
“….This production was amazing !!! It was exciting throughout…A heart stomping feel good experience, the costumes were authentic, the performers engaging…You could feel the energy and excitement of Canada’s history…. a truly unique opportunity to connect with the great history of Canadian song and dance..”
A superb combination of education and entertainment
” …The Odyssey Showcase is a superb combination of education and entertainment. It was great fun to experience the highlights of Canadian music through the years in this innovative way. Deborah Davis and her cast are terrifically talented and energetic performers. Loved it!!”
The show mesmerizes students from start to finish
“A Musical Taste is extremely valuable from an educational perspective because it changes the way students look at history and exposes them to the arts and social studies in a way they could never otherwise experience. The show mesmerizes students from start to finish and takes them on a journey through the evolution of our country and its people. The connections between music, dance, clothing, people, and physical development of the land are vivid, and provide connections that cannot be made through textbooks, DVD’s and CD’s. A Musical Taste is a multidisciplinary production that consolidates many of the “big ideas” presented in the Arts and Social Studies/History /Geography documents of the Ontario Curriculum, and it has a tremendous impact on students…
The accompanying Teacher’s Manual is an asset because it provides many creative activities that help teachers to extend the excitement of the production into the classroom for weeks afterwards, while increasing student knowledge, appreciation, and participation. The manual provides necessary background information for teachers, and the activities allow for integration with the Ontario Language Arts curriculum document and technology skills. It really is a hands-on, innovative way to teach students about their “home and native land” while integrating core content, and in my opinion, it should be a mandatory component in the education of all Canadian students. On behalf of all teachers, I thank you for this wonderful program.”
Amazing, exciting and entrancing!
“Amazing, exciting and entrancing! …Sure to impress and delight anyone fortunate enough to get to see it! We would go over and over again, it just left us wanting more as we danced out“
Both the production and the manual are nothing less than brilliant
”Both the production and the manual are nothing less than brilliant. They are just as much a history of Canada as a history of various genres of music. It is a tour of our vast land with a sociological look at our provinces and territories. I will have absolutely no hesitation in using parts of this manual in my college-university courses nor will I hesitate in recommending both the production and manual to all educators. It is an excellent contribution to learning!”
I saw students who were obviously seeing Canadian history in new ways
“The production not only emphasizes the important role of music in Canadian history, but also uses music as a point of entry to related discussions about the full sweep of social, economic, cultural and political change. This approach is in keeping with the current thrust of interdisciplinary teaching and research in education as well as efforts to link schools and the larger community.”
“…In creative and compelling ways, Deborah Davis and her colleagues are at the forefront of such innovative efforts to support the study of Canada’s past. They have shown how music can stimulate, inspire and inform students about key social and cultural transformations in the making of modern Canada. In recent years, I have had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand the excitement and engagement of students “tasting” Canada’s musical heritage, and my enthusiasm for this approach is the direct result of this experience. I saw students who were obviously seeing Canadian history in new ways. They were, indeed, becoming active learners who were connecting with the past through their appreciation and wonder at the sounds and sights of our musical heritage…”
Fascinating, appealing and pertinent to the understanding of Canadian History.
“This is just a little note to let you know how much I loved your production of A Musical Taste of Our Canadian Heritage that I had the pleasure to see in Ottawa this past May. I found it fascinating, appealing and pertinent to the understanding of Canadian History. I am sure the students will just love to see it and the teachers will certainly promote it.”
” …We were immediately impressed by the originality of this concept…Music has indeed long been recognized by educators as a most effective way of teaching, but it has never been applied to history on this scale.. As the RCMP played a crucial role in the development of Canada, particularly the Western expansion, we are always seeking new ways to promote this often forgotten aspect of our organization. In collaboration with Ms. Davis and her team, we identified several pieces of RCMP music that would allow us to promote the role our institution played in nation building. The RCMP Historical Section provided images and historical information which Ms. Davis combined with period music. The result was very moving, yet historically accurate depiction of the role the RCMP in the late19th century…We had the honour of attending the production and were immediately genuinely impressed by the high caliber of all the performers and musicians. The final product was a lively and moving overview of Canada’s rich history, from Pre-European Contact to the 21st Century. Judging from the audience’s response we were not alone in our sentiment. We believe that A Musical Taste of Our Canadian Heritage is an extremely worthwhile endeavour that would instill in Canadians a greater appreciation of our heritage…”
A rich and colourful tapestry
…This eclectic musical experience of Canada’s heritage and diversity produced a rich and colourful tapestry that would awaken the spirits of our ancestors and remind us of our deep connections. All the performers engaged well with the audience with their enthusiasm and vitality. Three cheers to all the soloists and the Odyssey team!
It not only provides fun for young (and not so young) folk, but also can teach them so much about language and culture
“What a pleasure to attend your June 1 show at the Museum of Civilization!
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and we had with us old friends from Scotland who had never been to Canada before…their comment after the show was that they loved Canada…Let me also say, from the standpoint of someone who has spent his career in the Official Languages area, that your show is a most useful way of convincing Canadians, and others, of the value of learning second languages. It not only provides fun for young (and not so young) folk, but also can teach them so much about language and culture. Felicitations et continuez le beau travail.”
The quality of talent, the creativity of the performance and the passion displayed by the performers was inspiring
“TD Canada Trust has been a part of this production forn the beginning and we are proud to continue our support… I had the pleasure of attending this production at least four times and each time I was more wowed… the quality of talent, the creativity of the performance and the passion displayed by the performers was inspiring..it was excellent, representing our diverse culture and showcasing many Canadian legends… the production made me proud… quite simply, Wow!”
The highlight or our week long trip to Ottawa!
“A Musical Taste of our Canadian Heritage was the highlight or our week long trip to Ottawa! Don’t miss this wonderful, inspirational musical and dance extravaganza!”
This is a production that should be seen by all Canadians (and the world)
“…For several years we have been aware of the creativity, vitality, vision, energy, commitment and artistry of Deborah Davis. (Satin Dolls and A Musical Taste of Our Canadian Heritage), Everyone dreams dreams, but the difference with this dynamic woman is that she is uniquely capable of making her dreams come true.. This is demonstrated nowhere more than with A Musical Taste of Our Canadian Heritage. Almost single-handedly she brought this impressive production to life on a shoe-string budget.
We well remember being at a public performance absorbed and enthralled, as was the entire audience, young and old, as the history of Canada was memorably interwoven with the distinctive sounds of Canadian music. It truly was a virtuoso performance..it increased one’s appreciation for the distinctiveness of Canadian music.
What a clever and appealing concept. This is a production that should be seen by all Canadians to enhance their pride in our country. Beyond that, residents of Countries outside Canada will learn about our colourful heritage – it will have a profound effect on tourism. The more we think of it, the more convinced we are that this production could become a summer staple in our Nations’ Capital, appealing to Canadians and non-Canadians just as Anne of Green Gable does in P.E.I. … We as musicians, choral conductors, music festival organizers and business people, wholeheartedly support Deborah Davis… Frankly we also think it makes good business sense for Ottawa and Ontario!….This is a production that should be seen by all Canadians (and the world) to enhance their pride in our country. Truly, a virtuoso performance that will have a profound effect on audiences.”
Pendant tout le spectacle j’ai ressenti une telle fierté envers mons pays
«…Lorsque j’étais enfant, je m’ennuyais du cours d’histoire…et je sais que je n’étais pas la seule. Plus maintenant. Pendant tout le spectacle j’ai ressenti une telle fierté envers mons pays, tout en apprenant son histoire à travers les nombreuses scènes historiques..Des Premiers Nations et du peuple Inuit, en passant par le Québécois, le Français, les Celtes, les Acadiens…et tant d’autres cultures et styles de musique, j’ai découvert comme jamais auparavant, les plus important événements historiques présentés au moyen de chansons, de danses et de courtes pièces de théâtre. Je n’oublierai pas de sitȏt ces chapitres de l’Histoire du Canada…parce que je me suis amusée en apprenant…Pas une seule longeur pendant tout le spectacle, un vrai tour de force!.. »
I am left with an overwhelming sense of pride in being a Canadian
“I’ve been to see A Musical Taste of Our Canadian Heritage three times now… What amazes me is how many great songs out there are Canadian…Each time I watch the show, I am left with an overwhelming sense of pride in being a Canadian and my hands hurt from clapping along with the music and applauding the performances. It is my honest and heart-felt belief that every Canadian and every visitor to our nation’s capital should do themselves a favour and attend this incredible, spiritually-uplifting performance. You will not be disappointed!”
Fostered a greater sense of pride and Canadian identity for our aboriginal community
“We appreciate the respect and understanding that your production demonstrates on the unique contributions of the first people to the music and history of Canada. We strongly believe that participation in this production has helped to create a greater understanding of first people for the general public. Additionally, it has fostered a greater sense of pride and Canadian identity for our aboriginal community… Professional and Superb.”
I loved hearing our history
“I loved hearing our history. It is not every-day that you can hear Inuit throat singing, Acadian fiddling and Canadian folk music in one place. It was amazing.”
Makes us all aware of the role that cultural expression played and continues to play in strengthening the bonds of social cohesion in this country
“…In my opinion, this is a pioneering work that, by letting us sample Canada’s rich musical heritage, makes us all aware of the role that cultural expression played and continues to play in strengthening the bonds of social cohesion in this country. Our laws and Parliament form only one half of the equation, our cultural expression, of which music is an important part, forms the other.”
What a wonderful way to actually EXPERIENCE Canadian history
“After spending three action-packed exciting days in Ottawa the students are still rating “Odyssey Showcase/ “A Musical Taste of Our Canadian Heritage/Notre patrimoine canadien, une odyssée musicale” ” as their most favourite event. What a wonderful way to actually EXPERIENCE Canadian history. To teach through music and theatre is a media seldom used in our educational system. For challenged students such as my own, the show taught them about Canada and their heritage in a dynamic, impressive way. On behalf of the Joliette High School students…….thanks for the memories! Hope to see you again in 2012. Please keep us posted.”