May 25 , 2010
Victoria Day Fireworks

A few days ago, folks from the Town of Dundas called me to ask The Relics to perform during the pre-fireworks festivities on Victoria Day. I had in fact been waiting for that phone call for about 25 years: when I was a kid, they used to have live music in the band shell at the Dundas Driving Park just prior to the fireworks. Later, as a teen, I thought that it would be the ultimate gig, but they stopped having bands a long time ago - up until now.

So we set up our sound and lights in the band shell (actually, it's the skating rink area where the Stan Rogers Bandshell used to be). The opening acts consisted of three Avalon Music Academy rock band classes. We (The Relics) played prior to, and immediately following, the fireworks. It was a great show, worth waiting 25 years for actually. They counted over 10,000 people in the park that night.

They've already hired us for next year. This time, however, they want the band to play DURING the fireworks, and to synchronize the two. Not having done that before, I'm pretty excited about the whole thing. I figure if the TSO and VSO (Toronto and Vancouver symphony orchestras) can do it (The Symphony of Fire), I'm sure our 4-piece rock band can figure it out.

March 1, 2010
NAC Orchestra

It looks like my contribution to the show with the NAC Orchestra has been put off until next year or so. I was to be arranging one song to perform with the orchestra (in Ottawa) in May, but now we've been talking about doing a whole show next season instead. I've got some great ideas for it, and I'll share them here as soon as the decision-makers get back to me. They're a good bunch of folks at the NAC Orchestra, and anyone who has worked with Boris Brott (who will conduct this show) knows that he is great to work with as well.

December 17 , 2009
NAC Orchestra

I have been commissioned to arrange music for the NAC Orchestra for a concert in May 2010; Boris will be conducting. The music itself hasn't been determined yet. I'll have news by mid-January.

November 8, 2009

Jam Sandwich

We are doing some more shows under the moniker, "Jam Sandwich: Classic Rock for Kids (and their parents)". The band is really an incarnation of The Relics, with some modifications to accomodate the fact that our audiences are under age 12. The shows will all benefit The United Way.

December 12, 2008
It's been a busy year for gigs. I started doing shows with Christopher Clause and the all-star group of Hamilton musicians who put on Beatles tribute shows to raise money for James Street Baptist Church's charity, "Out of the Cold".

August 10, 2007

Dundas Cactus Festival – Avalon Kids’ Stage

The Dundas Cactus Festival is happening soon (Aug 17-19). As usual, a stage has been allotted for Avalon Music Academy students. Thankfully, we have been given the Kids’ Stage, a.k.a. the Local Performers’ Stage, a.k.a. the Indie Act Stage – in this case situated on King Street between Main and Ogilvie. It’s good for our students to play on the Kids’ Stage - because they are kids. Occasionally, the Cactus Fest booking agent gives us the Main Stage; this is normally an honour if you are a well-rehearsed professional or semi-professional act. But our show really is wonderful to watch if you are related – by blood – to at least one of the performers. Indeed, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” is not exactly Main Stage material. See you on Stage 1 on Sunday at 1pm.

August 9, 2007
Dundas Cactus Festival – Steve Parton Band

In the 1980’s I performed at the Dundas Cactus Festival every year with my band, “Eternal Red” (well, the name sounded profound at the time). There was a great big stage set up in the East End of King Street, right in front of the Thirsty Cactus (which was, at that time, Beachball’s Pizzeria, and then Rockwall’s Ice Cream). But something must have happened while I was away at college, because there hasn’t been a music stage (or much of anything else) allotted to the East End for the past eight years or so.

This year, Mike Classen of Records on Wheels and I have arranged for our own East-End stage, complete with a sound system – and musicians. It will be running on Friday from 6pm until 11pm, and on Saturday from noon until 11pm.

My band (the Steve Parton Band) will be performing on Saturday night at 5:30pm, on the East End stage. I will be joined by whichever other band members I can convince to come out and play. Of course, I’ll probably call them at the last moment – “say, what are you doing tomorrow?”. To that end, if there are any Steve Parton Band members reading this, can you come to the East-end stage this Saturday a little before 5:30?

To those reading this who are not in my band, don't worry: enough musicians rally around my songs each time I play, so a good show is assured again this year.