Ashley Wey

Posted on Posted in Letters of support

Hermann’s Jazz Club is legendary institution in Canada.
It has deep historical importance and is a legacy to Jazz lovers and musicians across our country.
As a young girl who has played piano since I was 5 years old, I had an outstanding need of live music. My parents would take me to see shows at Hermann’s as often as they could throughout my childhood. Hermann’s is one of the few all ages venues in Canada that young aspiring artists and musicians have available to them to hear great music and musicians from across the country. My experiences at Hermann’s Jazz Club as a teenager inspired me to want to be a jazz musician, gaving me reason to believe it was a viable option for me as a career choice. I was supported by community, inspired by local musicians, the generation that came before me, and those peers of my own age.

Back in the 90’s, in my formative teenage years, Hermann’s used to have the Esquimalt High School Jazz Jam on Wednesday Nights hosted by the one and only Dave Fello as well as Thursday Night Jam sessions with Tom Vickery. These were very special evenings for any young aspiring musician during that era. This venue gave the youth a hip and safe place to play jazz, having a chance to gain experience performing in front of a live supportive audience. At the time Dave Fello lead a renown Jazz Studies Program at Esquimalt High School that was producing the next generation of some of the best jazz musicians in Canada. Many local full – time musicians including Kelby MacNayr, Nick La Riviere and myself, came up performing at Hermann’s through out High School in the 90’s.

After graduating high school I went to Toronto for 8 years and completed my BA in the Jazz Studies Program at Humber College. My teachers including Brian Dickinson, Don Thompson, Shannon Gunn, Ted Quinlan all spoke of how they wished Toronto had a venue like Hermann’s Jazz Club. It is truly an important venue in Canada and especially here on the west coast. When Wynton Marsalis comes to town, he comes to Hermann’s to relax and play after his shows at the Royal Theatre.

From 2000- 2008 I would come home to visit from Toronto. My first stop was always Tom Vickery’s Jam on Thursday Nights. I would come to connect with the great community of people that call Hermann’s Jazz Club their living room.
Since 2008, I have been working with my international trio onboard cruise ships 6-8 months of the year, and look forward to coming home to Hermann’s and reconnecting with the wonderful community of people who frequent the club. All the musicians working on cruise ships I know from around the world always make a point to stop by Hermann’s while in Victoria.

The Hermann’s community is a close knit and caring group of people who love and support one another as well as the arts. Hermann’s is a place people come together to share, relax and enjoy an evening and foster a new generation. Hermann created a place where the Jazz Club could be your living room, you could express yourself, be accepted into a community, and be supported. Hermann’s spirit lives on in the hearts of the people who frequent his club and call it home. Hermann was a man that personally dedicated his life to greater community and keeping the music alive. He was like a grandfather me and multiple generations.

Hermann’s is a legacy, an important institution in this country that needs to live on for years to come. This club has historical and national presence, and Hermanns’ spirit must continue on to nuture the community and the next generation.