Heather Ferguson is making the most of her “second act” – a career performing and recording jazz music.
Ferguson and his five-piece ensemble will perform their repertoire of jazz vocal standards at Knox United Church in Parksville (345 Pym St.) on June 4. Ferguson has been playing jazz music for over a decade now. She just released a new single, Cry Me A River.
“I’ve always wanted to sing jazz, but you have to make a living and I didn’t really understand what the portal was,” she said. “I’ve been in a nonprofit for most of my career.”
After moving to Vancouver Island, Ferguson became involved with the Victoria Conservatory of Music and helped start the conservatory’s community groups with Joey Smith, who spent two and a half years with the Glenn Miller Orchestra as a bassist and arranger. Smith now performs and tours with Ferguson and his ensemble, including professional musicians Tony Genge, Damian Graham, Miguelito Valdes and Barrie Sorensen.
More recently, Ferguson has begun writing his own compositions, in addition to his repertoire of jazz standards such as cry Me A River, At last and Body and soul. She said her writing was inspired by the transformational things in everyday life.
“I’m really interested in how people change and how people transform,” Ferguson said. “Those tipping points where you have that inspiration and you can, if you want to, become something else.”
She plans to release an album in November — the title is yet to be determined. It will focus on jazz standards, but she anticipates that the album that will follow will include some original compositions.
Although she feels nervous before a show, Ferguson said she learned to channel that energy into her performance.
“My experience on this is that people – they want to see you succeed, so when you go out your job is to entertain them. There’s really nothing super difficult here, you just want to spread the love and make people happy. Before going on stage, she likes to do a short, smooth run and then a bit of meditation to get into the zone.
Ferguson said she has fond memories of visiting the Parksville Qualicum Beach area with her family, including herring racing.
“I never forgot that, it was spectacular.”
She enjoys performing at Hermann’s Jazz Club in Victoria, which Ferguson says supports emerging artists like her, but also hosts nationally and internationally renowned musicians.
The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 and are available through Eventbrite and local retailers Close To You Boutique and Fireside Books.
Live Music Parksville