The SJO & The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival Present
October 22, 2022, 7:30 pm
Broadway Theatre & Live Streamed
Celebrating and showcasing Saskatchewan-based poets by combining poetry with original music

About This Concert

Watch the live stream of this concert on demand:

Poetics in Jazz is a special concert that celebrates and showcases the work of Saskatchewan-based poets. We’ll be weaving performances of their poetry alongside newly composed original music orchestrated for large jazz ensemble. We will also be presenting the western Canadian premier of the Atwood Suite by Canadian composer Andrew Rathbun.

The Saskatchewan-based poets involved in this concert include poet and author Michael Bradford, Paddy O'Rourke Poetry Scholarship recipient Glenda Fu, Saskatchewan’s current Youth Poet Laureate Lauren (Lo) Klassen, and former Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Glen Sorestad. We'll also be joined by special guest vocalist Jillian Ramsay.

Contributing composers include Silas Friesen, Colin Grant, Spencer Krips, Dean McNeill, Andrew Rathbun, and Amanda Tosoff.

Special guest musicians include Tara Davidson (Toronto), Mo Lefever (Edmonton), and Andrew Rathbun (New York).

Poetics of Jazz is Co-presented by the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival

Our Supporters

This show is made possible by generous support provided by these organizations

Featured Artists

Amanda Tosoff

Artist Bio

Glen Sorestad

Artist Bio

Jillian Ramsay

Artist Bio

Spencer Krips

Artist Bio

Colin Grant

Artist Bio

Glenda Fu

Artist Bio
Artist Bio

Michael Bradford

Artist Bio
Artist Bio

Mo Lefever

Artist Bio

Dean McNeill

Artist Bio


Soprano Sax/Composer Andrew Rathbun
Soprano Saxophone Glen Gillis
Alto Saxophone Ricardo Martin
Tenor Sax/Clarinet Trent Reschny
Tenor Sax/Clarinet Gerard Weber
Bari Sax/Bass Clarinet Sarah Suchan
Flute Jennifer McAllister
Trumpet 1/Composer Dean McNeill
Trumpet 2 Aaron Bueckert
Trumpet 3 Hanna Hashi
Trumpet 4 Nick Fanner
Trombone 1/Composer Spencer Krips
Trombone 2 Tiess McKenzie
Trombone 3 Don Schmidt
Trombone 4 Dawn McLean Belyk
Piano Paul Suchan
Guitar Mo Lefever
Bass Gent Laird
Drums Dave Laing
Vocalist Jillian Ramsey
Composer/Guest Conductor Colin Grant
Composer/Arranger Silas Friesen
Featured Poet Glen Sorestad
Featured Poet Glenda Fu
Featured Poet Lauren Klassen
Featured Poet Michael Bradford
Video & Sound Dan Canfeld


Set 1

  1. Switch In Time Comp. Sammy Nestico. Soloist: Tiess McKenzie
  2. Walking by Flashlight Comp. Maria Schneider. Soloist: Andrew Rathbun. Ft. Connor Denomy/Accordion. Guest Conductor: Colin Grant
  3. Homecoming Comp. Colin Grant. Soloist: Andrew Rathbun. Ft. Jillian Ramsey/Vocals. Words by Glenda Wu
  4. Daffodils Comp. Amadna Tosoff. Arr. Silas Friesen. Soloist: Trent Reschny. Ft. Jillian Ramsey/Vocals
  5. Elegy for Good Friends Gone (Such Sweet Sadness) Comp. Dean McNeill. Words/narration by Glen Sorestad.
  6. Knee High Ballerina Comp. Dean McNeill. Soloist: Trent Reschny. Ft. Jillian Ramsey/Vocals. Words by Michael Bradford
  7. On Immortalizing Your Friends and To Face Grief. Comp Spencer Krips. Words/narration by Lauren Klassen
  8. Dream Within A Dream Comp. Amanda Tosoff. Arr. Silas Friesen. Soloist: Trent Reschny. Ft. Jillian Ramsey/Vocals.

Set 2

Atwood Suites
Composed & Arranged by Andrew Rathbun
Poetry by Margaret Atwood

  1. 2 Islands Parts 1, 2, and 3
  2. Powerful Politics Part 1
  3. Fractured

Tonight's Poetry

Walking By Flashlight
Poem by Ted Kooser, Music by Maria Schneider

Walking by flashlight
at six in the morning,
my circle of light on the gravel
swinging side by side,
coyote, racoon, field mouse, sparrow,
each watching from darkness
this man with the moon on a leash.

Poem by Glenda Wu, Music by Colin Grant

the miracle
is in the eyes of the child,
with jupiter in her palm
blazing into being,
a heartstring hymn
of home,
her revelrous universe.

silence sings
to the old soul,
his love dense,
to that singularity—
infinite grief,
where what was lost returns.

entropy soaks
in the blue womb
of europa,
under untouched tundra
yearning for life,
the dawn of spring.

motion stirs
the nestling
grasping at moonbeams
restless, captive, to rapture
in curiosity.

stillness pulses
in a cosmos
immortal, unborn.
the ghost of its
miracles, silence,
entropy, motion, stillness,
retired and folding into
the origin of all.

my dear,
i wish to convey
this feverish existence,
this psychedelic dream.
a dream
you will never know.

my unwaking
little love,

i hope that jupiter
will bring you home.

Music by Amanda Tosoff, based on I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Woodsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Elegy for Good Friends Gone
Poem by Glen Sorstad, Music by Dean McNeill

What happened to those friends of my youth –
those for whom life was an endless party;
the ones who prattled hours of riches,
always elsewhere; the ones for whom a laugh
was an answer, life a bawdy joke;
the ones who sang away their nights
with joy  – where have they gone?
They have fallen into earth, so many now.
Time is cruel with some, gentler with others.
But I think of them all, from time to time
count the fallen, count those times memory
still holds, count each new sunrise a blessing.
I chronicle our days, give our lives a chance
of not being swept under history’s carpet.
Death grant peace to good friends gone
and those still with me to the final dance.

Knee High Ballerina
Poem by Michael Bradford, Music by Dean McNeill

My knee-high ballerina spins
unstoppably to any music
hooked to my knuckles her finger trapeze
legs spread like wings
in freefall uncontrol around me
pinned by her big top close-up eyes
I cast her perpetual swing
in a sunbeam spotlight
of hovering dust; she flies
in perma-grin arc
a girl over my shoulder and through the legs
the world flying apart around us sighs
until it’s her to any music,
my rough hands tremble
the strain of her flight
stirs me where everything twirls
let these heights
be the best I can offer her
unstoppable dance to any music.

On Immortalizing Your Friends
Poem by Lauren Klassen, Music by Spencer Krips

My grief is a metronome
Incessantly ticking inside me
His voice
His smile
The message
The funeral




I couldn’t write you a poem
It didn’t feel right
Like if I took up a pen and paper
And said it out loud
it would be immortalising your death

Like it would take what’s already permanent and make it more permanent
Or maybe it would just make the pain more permanent

I couldn’t bring my hand to write
How could I hold a pen with hands that don’t feel like holding anything but you

I couldn’t hold onto the words surging through my mind
Scattered like a broken vocabulary
Like when you left
My mind became a library of regret
Of all the things I never said to you
The words float between my ears even still three years later
Still find sorry’s and apologies
Tucked away between spaces of guilt
Where once was your memory

But even now
No words could do you justice
No words could capture you

The hold of the words “if only”
If only words could bring you back
If only words could have made you stay

Unable to write my fingers strum on my grief like it is an instrument
My racing heart the kick drum
My pulse the melody
And your memory the lyrics that I replay in my mind
When I need your presence to be louder than your absence
In all this blank space

I pick away at my grief like calluses on my fingertips
Peeling away skin
So maybe I will feel lighter
So maybe regeneration is in my fingertips
So maybe new life is in reach
But still
Grief is a skin that never sheds

But I will wear it until my skin has lines only time could give me
Because even though we did not grow old together
I will take your memory with me till my song goes quiet

Unable to grasp the words
My fingers curl in surrender
I cannot write a poem
Of how he went from is to was
I cannot write a poem of his death
When my heart aches for his life

I cannot write you a poem

I cannot write you a poem

But I will give you a melody
Titled remembering
If you put your head to my chest
You can hear a rhythm that rings for you, a song that sings for you
Even now that you are gone, it beats relentlessly and carries on

Can you hear it




To Face Grief
Poem by Lauren Klassen, Music by Spencer Krips

My hurt is so vast
My grief weighs me down in the past
Like a page that cannot turn forward
Weighted feather tethered down
A bird with wings that cannot fly
I try
To keep moving forward
Grief a lonely valley
Inside me an endless cavity

Grief a faceless clock
Ticking loud silence beckons
With hands that tell time
After time, you are not alone
Grief knows no concept of time
Only absence and presence

But love, love is so present through it all
So often when I feel consumed by grief
I realize I am consumed by love and how wonderful that is
And so, I beckon my grief to devour me
To take my pain in mouthfuls
To swallow every heart ache
To taste the teardrops that fall
I tell my grief to feast on me
Because right now I am present
And feeling reminds me that I am alive
I am alive

Dream Within A Dream
Words and lyrics by Amanda Tosoff

Take this kiss upon the brow.
And in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —

You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!

O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! Can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

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