Louise Rose — Wednesday Worthy

February 8, 2012

It is no coincidence, nor do I think it is too redundant, to post again this week about a jazz pianist (although Louise is so much more than “just” a pianist).

When I was describing Oscar Peterson’s Hymn to Freedom last Wednesday, I remembered the first time I heard this mighty music played in person, and that led me to today’s Wednesday Worthy.

Louise Rose.

I consider myself blessed to have not only listened to Louise in concert, but to have attended workshops she has given, and to have spent time with her in person. Being with her in any context is a rich and empowering experience.

Louise was born in Pennsylvania, and her stories of time in her childhood spent with her grandmother have touched me deeply. Her musical response to her grandmother’s caring is the deeply felt “Suites for Grandma” composed by Louise and performed by her from time to time — fortunate indeed is the person who gets to hear them.

She was involved in music from a very early age, and at EIGHT was conducting her grandfather’s choir. I have a wonderful image in my head of a small girl in pigtails, with a wide smile and a deep voice, holding the adults enthralled. Her training and work have brought her into contact with greats such as Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, Leonard Bernstein and others, but at heart she is still that little girl in love with life and eager to share her music.

Since the 1970s, Louise has made her home base Victoria, British Columbia, Canada — and let me tell you, many people across Canada are grateful for that.

I first experienced Louise’s warmth and musical gifts in the mid-1980s when she was the music resource person for a church conference near where I lived, and then spent a few weeks performing nightly in the lounge of one of the best hotels in my city. She is equally at home in both settings. She plays at jazz festivals, leads school choirs, has a music outreach program for homeless people, and for several years had a well-loved television program called “Let’s Sing Again” on Canada’s Vision TV.

The time with Louise that I treasure most was at a choir workshop she led here in my city. Despite her busy schedule, and the energy it takes to be the sole leader of such a conference, she spent an hour with me, one-on-one, teaching me some of the basics of her style of piano work, helping me to feel the music deep within me, and to translate that feeling through my fingers onto the keys. I treasure the memory of that time with her.

To learn more about Louise, you may visit her website. To have just a tantalizing taste of her warm, rich tenor voice and her soulful piano skills, click on this link, scroll to the information on the CD titled Lovingly, Louise, and listen to the three samples. Mm-mm-mmm, that is some fine singing.

Thank you, Louise, for all the joy and richness you have brought to so many lives, including mine, with your music and your zest for life. You are indeed worthy, any day of the week.

10 People reacted on this

  1. Your choice of extraordinary musicians for the Wednesday Worthy has sparked some wonderful memories for me. Though I was not one for instruments, I adored singing. Growing up, I was part of the church choir and in high school, reached the goal of being part of a special concert performing choir. I have since laxed, heavily, in my singing. But reading about these wonderful people you’ve highlighted has been most wonderful.

    Thank you.

    1. I am so glad my Wednesday Worthies have sparked such wonderful memories for you, Angela! i, too, was part of a special choir in high school, and can attest to the joy and fulfillment such an achievement brings. I hope you still sing for your own joy, at least. Song is such a powerful thing. Thank you, Angela.

  2. Ada Rovatti, Patricia Barber and Diana Krall are my favorite jazz singers at the moment, Beth. I confess that Louise Rose is a new name to me! I just listened to a clip on one of your links, and, WOW, WOW, what power! Nice has a famous Jazz Festival every year and we have had some wonderful performers here. There’s nothing like live outdoor jazz!

    1. Isn’t her voice wonderful? I have some audiocassettes of her singing, but no longer a cassette player (sigh). How I wish those would be made available on CD, because they are wonderful. The fact that she accompanies herself while singing, and is equally talented and powerful in both expressions impresses me every time I hear her. She has performed in jazz festivals in Canada, but I don’t know if she has gone further afield.

      I am delighting in sharing some Canadian greats in the arts with the rest of the world through these blog posts.

  3. Thank you for your post today on Louise Rose. I am not very familiar with Jazz, so it has been really informative to read your posts.
    I want to thank you for the Liebster Award. That was very kind of you. I posted about the award today on my blog. Be sure to visit and read my post.

    1. You are so welcome, Penny! You are certainly deserving of awards! I’m reading your post now, and so appreciate the lovely things you’ve said about me and my blog.

  4. Lovely post Beth. I’m not familiar with Louise Rose, but listened to some of her music — certainly like her jazz take on the Christmas songs. They were fun. You were fortunate to know and work with her in a choir workshop. Love really good musicians — especially pianists. Thank you for sharing someone so special to you!

    1. Thanks, Pat. I’m enjoying introducing people to some of my most-admired Canadians in the realm of the arts. There will be more, scattered throughout the months ahead.

  5. Enjoyed listening to Louise Rose clips. I wasn’t into Jazz in my early years, but I now love this time of year visiting winnerys (wine festivals), and listening to outdoor jazz sessions.

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