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Upstream at 30 - Tom Roach's Time Capsule

I wasn’t involved in the formation of Upstream, but I came into the fold early to replace Jerry Granelli. Firstly, that’s not possible, and secondly imagine getting invited into a composer-performer collective with the likes of Bob Bauer, Paul Cram, Sandy Moore, Steven Naylor, Don Palmer, Jeff Reilly, and Steve Tittle. Awe inspiring, and somewhat intimidating at the same time. 

I had the pleasure of a nine-year tenure with Upstream. During that time, the annual performance series, the tour, the CD recording, were musically innovative, regionally pioneering, and personally inspiring. I have countless memories of musical experimentation, creative exuberance, unsettling performance anxiety, and joyful camaraderie.

One special memory comes to mind: a highlight for me was to perform alongside featured guest artist Jerry Granelli in a double drummer concert. Aside from the challenging musical programming, it required a significant percussion set up from both Jerry and me. After the concert, Jerry and I were tearing down and chatting in close proximity to Jeff and Don, who were sitting on the floor of Saint Mary’s Art Gallery bemoaning the fact they had several instruments to pack up after the concert. Jerry and I strolled behind them at the perfect moment. Hearing their whining, we stopped in our tracks and stood over them glaring in disbelief. A brief silence was followed by a collective eruption of laughter.

It was music that brought Upstream into being, but like all amazing artistic endeavours, it is the people who make it truly special. Thank you to all those who’ve contributed to make Upstream a reality and congratulations on the 30th anniversary. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the experience.