Thanks so much Peter Hum and Ottawa Citizen for their article on Megan Jerome Together Ensemble! We are thrilled to have a full page feature on the front page of the Arts section. Read the full article here.
Q: Tell me more about music being the fabric of your life.
A: I think it’s always been all through me. My family played and sang and danced and fought and cried every Sunday while playing music together. Seriously! We celebrated good times and also got through so many hard times together, with music. One of my brothers died when he was 22 (I was 12). My parents have both died since.
After my mom died (my dad had already died seven years before), I went to New Orleans for a month, and it was absolutely perfect. Everywhere I went — street corners, bars, parades, there was exactly the kind of joyful, soulful, safe-for-grieving kind of celebration/song/music/feeling that I had grown up with.
Q: How did the Together Ensemble come together?
A: Fred, Don and I were all playing on a gig with The Lake Effect Sound a few years ago and the three of us were all in the same corner of the stage, and it was so much fun I wanted it to go on forever, so I asked if we could get together and play some music and see how it sounded. I’ve been playing music with Mike since we were students at Carleton. He and I have been bouncing ideas off each other for years. He’s a wonderful collaborator!
I have admired these musicians for years and years and playing music with them is a total dream come true. I’m thrilled they want to play music with me and thrilled with how they play these songs.
The band realizes these songs in a way that feels so full, orchestral, creative, soft, but also very powerful and big. The way everybody plays combines the structure of singer-songwriter songs with the creative in-the-moment feeling and flexibility of jazz or improvising. The music is all about the songs, and we’ve worked out how we play each song, but within the songs there’s a lot of room to breathe, to play together, to respond to each other, to build and also to get really quiet. It’s very easy to work together.
I bring in a song that I’ve written for piano and voice — I play and sing it in the room, and everyone just plays along and over time, the song gets shaped into what best serves the song. I just play and sing, and I know that everyone is playing what they hear as best serving the song.