VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 15 | The Listener’s Concert

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen:

Journey into the Listener’s Group Concert Series

By: Tyler “Tyski” Dombroski

I’ve heard a recent buzz going around town about something called the Listener’s Group Concert Series, and once I had taken a gander at some of the art being offered at these displays,  and listened to some of the music that performers will be offering as well,  I just had to know more. So, naturally, all the pieces of the puzzle came together with the help of VR’s team of excellent inquirers, and the resident funny man is hot on the heels of the event co-ordinator and big time busy man, Greg . He filled me in on all the lavishing details of this, the first installment.  The First scheduled show is Sunday, March 25th with music provided by Gregory Hoskins. Followed by Jacob Moon on April 29th, and then closes with one last date on  May 27th with the Strings Attached performer Michael Gabriel.

The first series, referred to as Season One, is virtually sold out. However, Greg welcomes those who are interested in viewing single shows to inquire at groovedoggs@gmail.com, which is the only means of locking in tickets. Don’t fret ladies and gentlemen, the event coordinator has plans for more!

“If we are successful, we would like to host a follow-up Season Two in September, October and November of this year. The Listener’s Group concept is something that I’ve had in my mind, in one shape or form, for about a year now. It is a concept that seeks to combine critically acclaimed musical talent with visual art from talented local artists in a unique, intimate environment.”

Greg goes in depth a little bit more about the intended format for the Listener’s Group, “The series also will have a strong social component, as most of the audience will be consistent throughout the three shows, and will have time before, during and after the show to socialize over wine and art appreciation.” It is important as well to enjoy the full experience of the musical aspect, as he continues to explain, “However when the show begins we will want everyone to ‘Listen’ and not socialize.  In a way, the concept also relates to divorcing live music, from the commerce of food and alcohol sales, while still providing a social environment with multiple value adds. We are really excited about the response we are getting to this formula so far. ”

I asked for some details on what to expect from the art exhibits, but much will have to be left up to the viewers in terms of what life piece takes on. Greg did say that these exhibits will mostly be wall mounted paintings provided by Tania Hanscom, Sheila Diemert, and Heidi Brannan. I took the liberty of viewing each of their online galleries, and must say, entirely impressive. They all have quite a different style, and the tone for each artist is also quite unique. Of the visual artists, this is what was said, “Each has a quite extensive portfolio.  What will determine what they exhibit is their individual sense of the performance space, as well as the music they are paired with.”

The enthusiasm that Mr. Greg exuded was just too much for me to sum up for you, his heart is very much engrossed in the music. The artist and their work, just the elegant cherry on top.

“Even though I had a hope that there would be a coming together of senses in this series, my primarily goal for the music was to pick who I thought were some of the best singer-songwriter’s in Canada – and to just let them mesmerize the room with their individual talent.  I’m actually such a huge fan of our Season One musicians. We’ve booked Gregory Hoskins, Jacob Moon and Michael Gabriel respectively. Each in their own way, transcend the prototypical singer-songwriter thing.  They are very visual and immediate sounding.  I’ve been trying to catch Hoskins anytime he’s in the area (which is almost never).  Jacob is one of the best guitar playing singers I’ve ever seen, and what Michael is doing, particularly with his incredible string arrangements lately on his “Strings Attached” show is just so beautiful.”

It seems that the Listener’s Concert Series is nothing shy of well thought out; injected with a love for music, a taste for art, and an insight into the future, let me leave you with a few more light questions, and their rich and heavy answers.

What can you tell us about the Courtland Avenue Studios?

Courtland Avenue Studios was set up about a year and a half ago originally by my partner Glen Hughes, who has since decided to relocate the recording component of the studio, closer to his home in Cambridge. We will still be tracking here on a sub-contractual basis. Additionally we will be focusing increasingly on Live-Off-The-Floor audio-visual recordings and small concert. The best part about this as a location for the Listeners Group, is the Live Room – which might just be the best kept venue secret in the Tri-cities.  It is a high ceiling loft with a great view overlooking Courtland Avenue and possesses a warm and cozy feel. The sound is first rate, and rewards nuanced musicianship because you can hear a pin drop, in the quieter moments.  It is about my favourite sounding room for music.

Kitchener is definitely heavily populated by an artistic community, what can we as residents do to make sure that it not only survives, but also thrives during the challenge of the current economic state of things?

I think that both residents, promoters and venue owners need to think a little bit more “out of the box” and come up with new formulas for the arts.  In music for example, it is tough for venues that are highly leveraged, and need to sell alcohol to pay bills, to appeal to a broader audience.  There is a huge cross-section of people who are music lovers, but not necessarily bar enthusiasts.  I think that responding to changing demographics is what is really needed. You also want to give people something that offers tremendous value, and brings friends together in a rewarding social context.


Nothing short of a thought provoking leap into a new era of hope for artists,musicians and their supportive counterparts. I have a feeling Season Two will sell out just as fast as Season One. Make sure to make an inquiry, and help usher in a new caliber of entertainment.

The Listeners Group Season One will be held Live in the Loft at Courtland Avenue Studios – the last Sunday of March, April and May.  Doors open for art appreciation, at 7:30 and the show starts promptly at 8:30pm.  Tickets are available only through RSVPing at groovedoggs@gmail.com

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