The grand finale of the Quebec to Memphis challenge, hosted by the Montreal Blues Society, took place Tuesday night, October 18th, at the Bistro à JoJo in Montreal.
Six finalists were in the hunt to represent the MBS, and all of Quebec, next January in Memphis, at the International Blues Challenge. Angel Forrest, Jordan Officer, and Dawn Tyler Watson all served up splendid performances in the Band competition. Riot, Pat Loiselle and Martin Hury, and Dan Livingstone vied for top spot in the Solo/Duo category. The judges had to make a tough call. The scoring was tight in both categories, and the winners of the competition were revealed just after 9 pm...
Winner of last year's Quebec to Memphis challenge Paul DesLauriers guested as announcer in front of a packed house. Dawn Tyler Watson, backed up by the Ben Racine Band, nailed their set and took the honours in the Band category. In the Solo/Duo category, Pat Loiselle and Martin Hury took the title.
The Montreal Blues Society also unveiled its' first participant in the Youth category at the IBC. John The Stickman Muggianu, aged 13, will join forces with Floridian guitarist David Julia and Kentucky's Erin Coburn to form an international band for the Youth showcase in Memphis.
Two nights of competitions took place in the preceding weeks to determine who would make it through to the ultimate round. D & The Boys, the Dwane Dixon Band, Cécile Doo-Kingué, and Ria Reece all thrilled the gathered crowds. High calibre performances across the board. Again this year, you couldn't help but notice that the level of talent on the Quebec scene is second to none.
A contest of this size and scale doesn't just happen. We'd like to extend a big thank you to all the sponsors who donated goods that we could raffle off to help raise funds to defray the winning band's expenses to travel down to Memphis. Of note: the Donnacona Blues Festival, Deli Planet, and Smoke Meat Pete's. The St-Denis branch of the 3 Amigos restaurant also threw in several gift certificates and fed our judges on all the contest nights. Thanks guys!
Thank you to our volunteer judges. You shared your expertise and your spare time with us by taking on the unenviable task of determining a winner by watching and scoring 14 sets of music over three evenings. Thanks to Rick Keene, David Bush, John Detcheverry, and Sean Kovacs. Thanks also for plugging the event on your radio shows, blogs, and websites! Thanks also to Denys Beaudin and Randy Renaud for spreading the word.
Another big thank you to Danny Cyr at the Bistro à JoJo for his hospitality, not to mention Bruce Cameron, sound man extraordinaire. Without a partner like the Bistro, this event doesn't happen. Thanks again!
And the last word goes to all the Montreal Blues Society volunteers who helped in one way or another: