Big Band Exchange 2021

Big Band Exchange is Back!

Last year, in lieu of our music and dance festival Sunday Serenades, we brought you Big Band Exchange – an online video series where musicians and community members came together to exchange knowledge and ideas about the importance of music.

After a successful run, we are back this year with a new iteration that brings an even more impact straight to your screen. NYA invited tap dancer Travis Knights and Holla Jazz founder Natasha Powell, in dialogue with jazz singer Jenna Marie Pinard, to share their love for social dancing and their vision for a future where jazz and dance are reunited.

Tune in this Fall, starting November 18th, as we delve deep in four short video conversations with the artists on the following topics:

Date: First episode launches November 18th

Episode 1 – The Contemporary Challenge: Striving Toward A New Identity

NYA is thrilled to launch the first episode of Big Band Exchange 2021! Episode 1, “The Contemporary Challenge: Striving Toward A New Identity” explores how jazz provides a blueprint for societal cohesion, celebrates individuality/authenticity, and promotes history and lineage.

Join Jenna Marie, Natasha Powell, and Travis Knights as they sit in conversation for improvised dialogues at Toronto’s own Lula Lounge, in between musical highlights showing how they honour the art of jazz! 

Episode 2 – Friends Don’t Let Friends Clap on 1 & 3: The Rules of The Game

After a fascinating Episode 1 that delved deep into striving toward a new identity in jazz, join Jenna Marie, Natasha Powell, and Travis Knights for BBX Episode 2, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Clap on 1 & 3: The Rules of The Game.” 

What are the rules to swing? Are there any? Who has been erased from the history of jazz? What can we improvise and bring to the classics? Join Jenna Marie, Natasha Powell, and Travis Knights in the Lula Lounge to explore these questions and more! You’ll gain insight on their knowledge through conversations in between musical breaks.

Episode 3 – Shout Out To The Mentors: The Gift of Passing It On

As we dive deeper into the future of Jazz today we’re taking it back in Episode 3 “Shout Out To The Mentors: The Gift of Passing It On.” Join us in the Lula Lounge as Jenna Marie, Natasha Powell, and Travis Knights show love to the elders!

In these conversations, with musical breaks in between, we learn that mentors don’t always mean major jazz influences but include all meaningful figures and experiences in between. Our artists will share how their influences helped to develop their practice today and how they bring their own artistic presence to these greats. 

Episode 4 – The Playlist: The Soundtrack of Our Lives

We’ve been able to see and hear where jazz is going, what the rules are and how we can bring our own spin, and lastly who has influenced the artform. In our final episode for BBX, “The Playlist: The Soundtrack of Our Lives” we explore the question “what are the songs that change(d) our lives?”

In episode 4 we’re back in the Lula Lounge with Jenna Marie, Natasha Powell, and Travis Knights as they engage in improvised conversations and performances to close out the series.

Thank you to:

Travis Knights
Natasha Powell 
Jenna Marie

Ewen Farncombe
Reknee Harrett
Lowell Whitty

Sophia Malbarosa
Mason Victoria

Simeon Taole  
Danielle Ungara

Fanny Martin

Melissa Foster


Double Bass

Lighting Assistant
Sound Recordist

Filmmaker (Cinematoscape)  Filmmaker(Cinematoscape)

Creative Producer (Art of Festivals)
Program & Outreach Director (North York Arts)

Thank you: Tracy & Juana at Lula Lounge All the staff at Bird Box Toronto, Pizza Azul, Flor Mexicana and North York Arts

Meet The Artsits

Jenna Marie Pinard (she/her)

At the vanguard of ‘The New Jazz Generation’ and freshly graduated from the University of Toronto’s prestigious jazz studies program, Jenna Marie Pinard possesses a signature jazz and blues voice that hints at Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Aretha Franklin, but is distinctly her own. She is best known for her smooth-sounding jazz and rich R&B vocals, her wide vocal range, and passionate performances. She is quickly gaining reputation in Toronto as a uniquely warm spirit and engaging performer. Originally from Montréal, Jenna Marie now lives in Toronto and plays weekly all over the city. Jenna Marie is also the radio-host and co-producer for “Orange Grove Radio”, a 24-station syndicated radio show that plays “The latest and greatest in Canadian jazz”.

Instagram: @jennamarielive
Tik Tok: @jennamarielive
Facebook: jennamarielive

Natasha Powell (she/her)

Natasha Powell is a dance artist. She is the founder, artistic director, and choreographer of HOLLA JAZZ in Toronto, Canada, presenting historical jazz dances in a new light. No stranger to the stage, Natasha has collaborated and created over 20 dance works for live performance. FLOOR’D, her company’s first full-length production was nominated for four (4) Dora Mavor Moore Awards and named one of the top 10 dance shows of the recent decade by NOW Magazine.

Instagram: @tashapowellto


Travis Knights (he/him)

I’m a Tap Dancer of the Ethel Bruneau and Mary Bruce lineage. The DaNcE has allowed me to play rhythms on stages around the world. It feels like the more experience I get within Tap, the more questions I have. I explore these questions as the host of the Tap Love Tour Podcast. The DaNcE is my way of connecting with people. For that reason, I am both grateful and dedicated to rhythm and movement.

Instagram: @tkxperience
Facebook: Tap Love Tour
SoundCloud: Tap Love Tour
Patreon: travisknights

Big Band Exchange 2020

For the first time in over 25 years, we couldn’t gather on Mel Lastman Square to dance to the sound of the best Big Bands of Toronto and beyond. The safety of our community is always of utmost importance.

While the physical festival didn’t take place, we didn’t let that stop us from finding a way to bring the music to you. So, in lieu of Sunday Serenades, we launched a special project called Big Band Exchange and had YOU participate.

Big Band Exchange is a one-of-a-kind experience for you to connect with and support Toronto bands and musicians through the “exchange” of memories and stories about jazz, music, dancing, and everything in between through conversations and video podcasts!

Participants had the opportunity to sign up for a 1-to-1 30-minute conversation with a big band musician to chat all things music! Had a question, comment, or idea? This was a unique opportunity to connect with local talents.

Then, Every Sunday in August we brought the jazz directly to you! Each band released a pre-recorded podcast on Facebook Live. Watch below as these amazing performers share stories. We encourage you to tune in to listen, sing along, and dance!

Jenna Marie Pinard

Advocats Big Band

Toronto All-Star Big Band

Martin Loomer’s Orange Devils

Supported by: 

Sunday Serenades History

Big Band Exchange 2020 (in lieu of Sunday Serenades)

Due to COVID-19, NYA presented Big Band Exchange in lieu of Sunday Serenades. Big Band Exchange is a online program celebrating music and conversation. Four bands presented video podcasts to share and exchange memories and stories about jazz, music and dancing! Attendees tuned-in live on Facebook. 

Dates: August 9, 16, 23, 30
Bands: Advocats Big Band, Jenna Marie Pinard Ensemble, Martin Loomer’s Orange Devils, and Toronto All-Star Big Band.

Video Podcasts:

Funded by: Government of Canada


Sunday Serenades 2019

Dates: July 7, 14, 21, 28, 2019
Bands: Metro Big Band, Toronto All Star Big Band, Swing Shift Big Band, Starlight Orchestra 

Partnering Sponsor: TO Live
Community Partner: North York Seniors Centre
Funded by: Government of Canada

Sunday Serenades 2018

Dates: July 8, 15, 22, 29, 2018
Bands: George Lake Big Band, GTA Swing Band, Starlight Orchestra, Metro Big Band

Partnering Sponsor: Toronto Centre for the Arts
Supporting Sponsor: Delmanor
Community Partner: North York Seniors Centre

About Us

North York Arts (NYA)  collaborates with artists, arts organizations, and partners to develop, strengthen, and promote cultural programming and initiatives for North York communities

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