Rick Keene Music Scene – Dr. Trevor Payne Exits The Montreal  Jubilation Gospel Choir 

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

 A standard misquote from the first chapter of the Book of Job.

 Dec.3rd 2017, Dr. Trevor Payne’s final appearance as head of The Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir left no room for misquotes. Perfection was perceived by everyone with the possible exception of Dr. Payne himself. Perfection never obtained by the artists themselves.

Dr. Trevor Payne

For thirty – five years ( officially ), the good doctor has guided the Gospel Choir to unimaginable heights ( performing for Nelson Mandela ) and equally unimaginable anxieties. The choir was his child. His offspring . His legacy. His love. His life’s work. His calling.

Putting all the above aside to move on to different projects privately is difficult. Saying goodbye publicly is immense. Ensuring the final performance is not marred by emotions – inconceivable.

Dr. Payne reading good wishes before the show.

 On stage , in rehearsals at Place des Arts, the emotions were in check. The run-through of vocals , music and timing as smooth as the top of Dr. Payne’s head. Good natured ribbing , laughter and smiles framed the always professional choir as they focused on the task at hand. The ‘well oiled’ machine almost didn’t need Dr. Payne. The ‘well oiled’ machine is Dr. Payne. The machine is – ‘ well oiled ‘.

Payne directing the choir.

One by one , the choir and musicians take turn performing as part of a sound. Each person listening attentively to the words of Dr. Payne. Not often and not irrationally do the instructions flow. Calmly the music is stopped and the singing is hushed. Like a Father lovingly teaching – Dr. Payne repairs or introduces observations to make the choir the best they can be.

‘People may teach what they know, but they reproduce who they are’. – John.C.Maxwell

As each of the soldiers of God ( soloists ) took turns rehearsing , Payne conducted but mostly exuded admiration toward his pupils. Hugs were given either before , during and after each performance. Rehearsals give the opportunity where ‘the show’ does not.

Sharon Othello ( Highway to Heaven Medley ), Genevieve Bikond Nkoma ( He’s a Shelter ), Mary Manon Meresier ( Joyful, Joyful) and Janique Montreuil ( Changed ) – a few of the members embracing the musings and admiration from Dr. Trevor Payne.

Alexandre Paquette ( bass) looking on

Soundchecks can be a difficult affair for the most seasoned performers. To be in tune , in sync and in ‘ motion ‘ – often requires the spirit to be as one. Larger groups of musicians can be more obscure at unity in the beginning of ‘ practice’. Not the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir.

Once the notes commence , with very few exceptions , does the engine stop. The train starts rolling and the conductor likes it that way. The battery shovels the coal. The guitars and horns provide the food. The choir are the whistles echoing across the valley signalling the Glory Train is strong.

Right before showtime , Dr. Trevor Payne was nervous. Former choir members from as far away as Spain in attendance. Memories present and counted for.

Adulations from Dr. Oliver Jones and Jazz Festival co – founder Andre Menard (among many ) greeting Payne onscreen in a video montage praising and congratulating the ‘ master ‘ on a career which is legendary. A career unmatched in the Montreal and perhaps global gospel community. Verbal imagery for a job not only well done – above and beyond what was necessary.

All the way from Deep River ( arr. Roy Ringwald) to the Calypso Christmas Medley ( arr. Dr. Trevor Payne ), the final performance under Dr. Payne was brilliant. Payne himself , displaying no signs of emotion except for talking about his Mom and Dad. His Father, explained Payne, carrying bags at Windsor Station to put food on the table , a roof over the head and enough money aside so Trevor could take piano lessons.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away

Thank you Dr. Trevor Payne

Visit The Montreal Jubilation Choir Here 



Rick Keene Music Scene – Montreal Jazz Festival Preview. Men without Hats

You can dance if you want to …

How many songs in Canadian music are recognizable by a few words? How many Canadian tunes are responsible for creating a non – dance dance craze?

Say what? 

Please listen below to  my chat with Ivan Doroschuk – the writer and composer of ‘The Safety Dance’  and every song released by ‘Men without Hats’. 

Ivan? What’s up?




Part Two



Men without Hats are part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival. 


The Montreal International Jazz Festival 

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Rick Keene Music Scene – What’s Going On ?

As usual – a lot going on …

From 80’s Pop to R&B and Soul – Montreal and The Montreal Jazz Festival has a lot to offer.

Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir


Please listen below for some upcoming shows and some great tunes.

Thank You !



Listen to my interview with Cliff Stevens Here !



Visit Cliff Here !


The Montreal International Jazz Festival 

Click Here for Tickets










Cliff Stevens – The Prodigal Guitarist Returns to Montreal to Prove ‘Grass Won’t Grow’.

Cliff Stevens’ hands aren’t slow.


Despite many years portraying Eric Clapton as means to meet the ends, Stevens’ is on his way to ‘bucking’ the label.

‘Grass Wont Grow’ – Stevens’ new album, is an accumulation of years of practice and years of being on the road. Easy going riffs compliment easier going melodies as Cliff reaches into his soul to evoke feelings which most musicians can relate to.

Please listen below to my chat with Cliff Stevens on the eve of his album launch at Bistro a Jo Jo  June 8th. 

Cliff? What’s Up?




Visit Cliff Here !


The Montreal International Jazz Festival 

Click Here for Tickets










Rick Keene Music Scene Jazz Festival Preview – An Extensive Chat with Dr. Trevor Payne

Dr. Trevor Payne is a Montreal institution. He may only be realizing it now.

Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir


Dr. Payne and his Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir have soared to heights not imagined by anyone. Considered to be one of  the top choirs in the world, Trevor Payne is ending his tenure as their leader. Something which is causing great angst inside him.

Please listen below to my extensive interview with Dr. Payne as he opens up on many subjects.






The Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir is performing on July 2nd as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival 

Click Here for Tickets










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