The Apple Cider of Music: Jazz at Oscar’s

Back in autumn, rain showers were our constant companion, so we turned to apple cider for warmth. Now in winter, we can replace the rain showers with blizzards, but what replaces the apple cider? Jazz. As this week marks the beginning of February and the beginning of #JoyatUofT—a time when we celebrate the things at U of T that bring us joy—, I decided to pursue this “apple cider of winter,” and so, I went to Jazz at Oscar’s, a series organized by the Hart House Music Committee. The series showcases local jazz artists every Friday night at Hart House’s Arbor room. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to this event. I thought that perhaps it would take place in a decent-sized room with a small audience seated in foldable chairs facing a Steinway piano in the front. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Arbor room had been transformed into a rich world of sight, sound, and smell. Darkness blanketed the room, save for the light from the eatery at the back and the mauve-tinged spotlight on the stage at the front. The entire place was filled by the time I arrived, from the young to the elderly taking up all the chairs and upholstered seats available. Some of them held wine glasses, while others opted for cups of coffee. Yet all of them chattered among one another, punctuated by laughter and chuckles.
The stage of the Arbor room, lighted by a mauve spotlight.
Not going to lie, the unexpected appearance of a mauve spotlight elicited an excited gasp from me.
When the singer, Sam Boverman, arrived on stage, the crowd quieted to listen to him. The music was wonderful. Boverman’s voice carried throughout the room, and the cello, piano, and drums contributed to the feel of the pieces. He introduced each song with a humorous story, garnered chuckles from the crowd, and proceed to sing. It was not only a great performance, but it was engaging, too. The lighting, captivated audience, and singer’s rich voice accompanied by a jazzy backdrop created what I could only describe as a warm, cozy atmosphere—a welcome difference from the pitch-black night and sub-zero temperature outside.
The audience, facing the stage.
See how every single person is facing the front, absolutely captivated by the music?
I’d been particularly busy this week and felt stressed, to say the least, but this jazz-filled night changed that. I stopped worrying about school, and instead, I simply sat and enjoyed the music. This event did, indeed, bring me joy. I’m sure this was the same case for many others in the audience. Despite the large age gap among them, ranging from university students to elderly couples, they congregated to the same place on a cold Friday night to catch up with each other and listen to good music, like me. I left there woozy with the sound of enticing music wrapped around my mind, feeling content and warm, despite the mercilessly frigid air outside. I highly, highly recommend you drop by one of the series’ events some time, even if you just take a peek! I guarantee you will be sucked in by both the wonderful music and the atmosphere, and you will leave feeling blissful and ready to face the world once more.   Have you ever gone to one of the Jazz at Oscar’s events? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments below or through @lifeatuoft on Twitter!

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