Pat Blythe – Jonathan Antoine, Benefit for Bernie …and Music!

I’ve been reminded that things always happen in threes….the cold from hell has felled me, issues with club bookings and now my f**cking roof needs to be replaced!!!!  Actually there’s a fourth, a notice from CRA tells me I owe them a whopping $15.43. I’m finding it difficult to think coherently, my eyes hurt, I’m hacking up a lung, I actually feel like napping and I have to be in London on Friday to drive a pace car in a cancer run. Rant over….let the column begin.

Remembering Bernie Sandor……

Bernie Sandor  1954-2019

This past Sunday I attended an unforgettable event at the Port House in Mississauga. A celebration of a life well loved and a benefit for Bernie Sandor’s family. Somehow, singer/songwriter Michael Shotton managed to gather some Canada’s most celebrated musicians together in one room, at a single event,  to perform and remember a man who was literally soundman to the stars. The fabulous Robbie Lane emceed the event with performances from Oakland Stroke, Jordan John, Prakash John, Brass Transit, Hotel California and Pretzel Logic. Rik Emmett, Bert Steen and  Michael Oberle joined Pretzel Logic for few songs, composer/producer/keyboardist Lou Pomanti and drummer extraordinaire Paul DeLong performed in at least three of the bands (maybe four, I was losing count). It was a jam packed night until the last note rang out. A true, “pay to play” event as everyone, including the musicians who performed, paid for their tickets. An evening of wonderful music and friendship, a loving tribute to a man who will be sorely missed and a night that will be etched in many memories for a very long time to come.

Peter Misfud of Pretzel Logic wrote a loving tribute printed in Toronto Moon. For the full piece click here

A soundman is way more than that. At various times, an ambassador; sometimes an army ranger and, at work, both an artist and a goalie.

He’s an ambassador because as the initial contact with a venue on gig night there are first impressions to make with the proprietor or manager or, God help you, the wedding planner.  He’s a ranger because, first at a gig, he’s got to figure out terrain and set things up for the band who generally come in late yet still manage to be demanding.

And why are they goalies?  Because they’re the last line of defence.  They’re the final thing that affects the sound before it gets to an audience’s ears.  Sound guys are that important to the success of the team.

Michael Shotton

A huge thank you Shotton whose idea sparked an incredible experience and who worked tirelessly to put the pieces of the puzzle together.  ….and now for a few photos….. It’s impossible for me to name everyone (because I don’t know all the names). My apologies.

The Venue……

On the left is Robbie Lane

l-r – Trevor Shelton, Paul DeLong, George Roche (Kim Mitchell photobombing in the back)

Kim Mitchell & Paul DeLong

A rose between two thorns….Marysia Gonsalez


More partygoers

l-r – Rob Taggart and John Condis

Havin’ a chat…..Kim Mitchell is everywhere

Robbie Lane

George St. Kitts performing with Oakland Stroke

Oakland Stroke horns

Lou Pomanti on keys

Audience participation with George St. Kitts

Ian Jutson (Brass Transit)

Paul DeLong (Oakland Stroke, Brass Transit & Pretzel Logic)

Soundman de jour and night, Norm Thornton, doing what he does best

One guitar and the brass in Brass Transit

Rik Emmett w/Michael Shotton behind him

Peter Misfud w/Bob McAlpine in the background

Rick Spyder of Hotel California

Jordan John

Prakash John

For a full photo album please check out A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker” on Facebook. It will be up in a couple of days.

A night at the opera……

Jonathan Antoine

Close friend and videographer Carolyn Kelly and I had a date for the opera. June 6 at the Winter Gardens a young tenor by the name of Jonathan Antoine was performing. Now, most folks know opera is not at the top of my hit list but Kelly had met the young Antoine (she videoed his interview with Antoine Elhashem for On The Couch) and was gushing about him and his voice. Okay…..I’m in. I love spending time with Kelly and I have an open ear.

On The Couch Special with Jonathan Antoine

Well……I still have goosebumps. Antoine had me weeping, laughing, on my feet clapping and everything in between. His repertoire began with Disney classics, covered songs from the American Songbook and then closed the night with beautiful arias from several different operas. Hailed as the new Pavarotti, Antoine’s beautiful tenor resonates with audiences all over the world…..some who flew in from Britain and Europe just to attend his two performances here in Toronto.

Britain’s Got Talent – Charlotte and Jonathan

His initial audition on Britain’s Got Talent with Charlotte Jaconelli (Charlotte and Jonathan) had the crowd cheering madly and the U.K. on fire as they proceeded through to the finals. His debut album Tenore was released in 2014 followed by Believe in 2016. His career has blossomed as a solo artist (he and Jaconelli went their separate ways amicably in 2014) and has brought him to both Canada and the U.S for performances. The Winter Gardens’ shows were sponsored by one benefactor, Helga Schmidt (ABC Group Inc.) who has developed a close bond with Antoine.

Jonathan Antoine & Charlotte Jaconelli

I had the opportunity to meet Antoine after his performance. Soft spoken, warm, patient and very kind he has suffered and overcome a lifetime of bullying simply because of his size. His phenomenal voice and his passionate love of music have been his survival tools that have now made him an international success. His favourite music…..heavy metal and apparently he is an avid guitar collector as well. A strong advocate of mental health and anti-bullying he often speaks about self-worth and keeping a positive attitude.

With a soaring voice that is powerful enough to uplift and envelop you, soft and touching enough to bring tears and inspiring enough to make this writer want to hear more, he brings every kind of emotion to the surface in a single song. I may yet swing over to the operatic side…..

Thank you Carolyn Kelly!

Unchained Melody – Jonathan Antoine

CHE GELIDA MANINA – Jonathan Antoine

Here are some of the Original Versions of songs we heard at Bernie’s Tribute, and the Artists who played them.

Take It Easy – The Eagles

Hotel California – The Eagles

Pretzel Logic – Steely Dan

Peg – Steely Dan

What Is Hip – Tower of Power

Oakland Stroke (Parts 1 & 2 joined) – Tower of Power

Saturday in the Park – Chicago

25 or 6 to 4 – Chicago

Beginnings – Chicago

At Bernie’s Tribute ….

Get In The Groove – Jordan John

I Keep Falling In Love With You – Jordan John

Pretzel Logic

Oakland Stroke

Brass Transit

Super short this week…..enjoy


All photographs ©2019 Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera with the exception of Jonathan Antoine and Charlotte Jaconelli


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Please scroll down and leave a comment. Thank you.

dbawis-button7“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 

One Response to “Pat Blythe – Jonathan Antoine, Benefit for Bernie …and Music!”

  1. Christine K Says:

    Love the experience you had at the Jonathan Antoine concert 🙂 We Fantoines know what a rare jewel he is!

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