R&B Showcase busts out palpable energy

The Groove Merchants brought the “soul” to Lakeshore campus Thursday as part of Humber’s R&B Showcase. (Photo: Ali Amad) The Groove Merchants brought the “soul” to Lakeshore campus Thursday as part of Humber’s R&B Showcase. (Photo: Ali Amad)

Ali Amad
Arts and Entertainment Editor 

Humber College’s music students brought Lakeshore campus to life Wednesday night at the R&B Showcase, the first evening concert of the 2015/2016 season.

The two-hour long performance featured The Rhythm ‘n Soul Collective and The Groove Merchants, led respectively by Humber instructors Will Jarvis and Collin Barrett.

Over 100 parents, music students and lovers of R&B, soul and jazz were in attendance at the packed Lakeshore campus auditorium.

The energy was palpable the moment the 13-member Rhythm ‘n Soul Collective kicked off the night with jazz band Incognito’s “Talkin’ Loud”. The Collective played more mainstream Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson tunes as well, but the showstopper was a scintillating duet between vocalists Nathan Martin and Aline Martin.

The Martins (no relation) ratcheted up the heat with Aretha Franklin’s “I Wanna Make It Up to You”. They were backed by the six-person Rhythm ‘n Soul Choir for some added oomph.

“I’d never worked with [Aline] before this semester, but when you’re having fun with such good musicians, it’s hard not to feed off their energy,” said Nathan, a second-year Bachelor of Music student.

“They were absolutely awesome tonight,” said Will Jarvis.

“We only have eight weeks to put this together so there’s a lot of growing pains, but they came through with flying colours,” he said.

After the intermission, The Groove Merchants kept the beats thumping with a catchy cover of Beyonce’s Déjà Vu and a spectacular remix of Earth, Wind & Fire’s Shining Star.

“When that tune keeps groovin’, you gotta keep that booty movin’!” bellowed second-year Bachelor of Music student Jeremy Tozer to the enthusiastic audience.

Tozer’s high-octane physical performance drew plenty of laughs and cheers all night long.

“One reason I do music is so I can move, I don’t move any other time,” laughed Tozer, who stands out with a shaved head and thick beard a lumberjack would be proud of.

“I was so excited, I had to lay down between tunes to catch my breath,” he said.

The R&B Showcase is the culmination of a months-long process for Humber’s music students. They go through a rigorous audition in March and are placed in student-only groups such as The Rhythm ‘n Soul Collective and The Groove Merchants in September. The students’ weekly rehearsals since then paid off in full at the Showcase.

“Eight weeks might sound like a lot of time to put nine songs together, but it’s a lot of work,” said Alexis Gibbons, a fourth year Bachelor of Music student and vocalist in the Collective.

“It’s pretty much a new group of people every year, so you have to gel pretty quickly,” she said.

Gibbons is looking forward to the rest of the season, but she knows the hard work’s nowhere near done. She emphasized getting more familiar with the forms and sections of each song as the key for improvement.

“Of course we’re going to do some more work and it’s going to get better as the year goes on, but I think for what we did today, we did pretty well,” she said.

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