An Open Letter to the Jazz Festival

How time flies.

We have now come to the end of the 30th annual TD Toronto Jazz Festival. At times it seemed like it was over in a heartbeat, while at others it felt as though it would never end (mostly when I had to work at 7:30 a.m. all week). I learned a lot about myself, jazz, and writing, and will certainly take this TDJ News Corps experience with me as I pursue a career in journalism.

This festival was a time of discovering new music, making new friends, and becoming even closer with old ones. I am so very fortunate for having the opportunity to see so many incredible shows and meet great people. I was able to see one of my idols, Oliver Jones, on his farewell performance in Toronto. I got a picture with Robert Glasper, whose music never fails to brighten my day. I even got a chance to sit down and talk with Gregory Porter, which netted me a new appreciation for his fantastic music.

I need to sincerely thank everyone who made this festival – and particularly my time in the TDJ News Corps – possible. To Josh Grossman, your work as the Artistic Director of the festival is fantastic. There was a wide variety of shows and venues which really made things unique and exciting, rather than cliché and predictable. Thank you for always being around to publish my articles, even when you had a million other things going on.

To Anna Tom, festival Publicist - you were instrumental (heh) in every one of my pieces. Whether it was arranging interviews, setting up press passes for the shows or even just being around to chat with, I could not have done even a fraction of my job without you.

To Simone Pabreza, you served as the intern. Yes, the thankless, “be my slave” type of job that most people would cringe at. I certainly hope that Josh and Anna were decent with you (at least some of the time). Thanks for helping to keep everybody sane through what could have been a stressful week of severe hair loss. I hope this experience was as interesting and useful for you as it was on my end!

To John Terauds, I KNOW I couldn’t have done all of this without your help. Your mentorship meant the world to me and I feel like I really developed as a writer. Thank you for always making the time to meet, whether it was at the festival HQ or at Mark’s ‘Hungry’ Deli in Etobicoke. Your comments and criticisms were always firm but fair, and the explanations helped me see where you were coming from.

To David Cruz, my fellow News Corps member, we may have only worked together on this project for a short time, but I’m really glad that we are so close. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours, and I know that we’ll be good friends for a long time to come.

Finally, to all of my regular readers and fans, thank you for all the love and support as I undertook this journey. You were so important in keeping me motivated to write interesting pieces and seek new angles to old stories. This has been an amazing experience for me, and although I cannot name everyone here, I send my utmost gratitude to everyone who made this festival possible. It will be a long year of waiting for the 31st edition, but I know it will be worth it to see another set of amazing performances. See you on the other side.

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