shari vandermolen is a renowned vocalist and perfomer in the hamilton and greater toronto area.
Whether she is gracing the stage at some of Ontario’s most popular music festivals or performing internationally in the United States and Cuba, vocalist Shari Vandermolen is a throwback to the days when jazz would fill New York’s Cotton Club and Preservation Hall in New Orleans. Combining a sound reminiscent of musical inspirations like Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James with a commanding stage presence, it is apparent that Shari is a natural fit on any stage.
Shari’s debut album, entitled Quarter to Nine, was released in 2015 and features ten popular jazz standards recorded at Studio 13 Live Sound Recording. Produced by jazz veteran Urmas Soomet, The album is currently available for streaming and digital purchase on all major platforms, including Spotify and iTunes. Fans can also purchase physical copies of the album through our official website.
An ambassador for the genre, Share has performed at historic Broussard’s in New Orleans and as part of the International Jazz Safari at Grand Memories Varadero Resort in Cuba. She has also twice performed at the Steel City Jazz Festival (2013, 2014) as well as at the prestigious Festival of Friends (2015) in Hamilton, Ontario. In early 2018, Shari founded Jazz in the Sanctuary, a monthly festival featuring Hamilton music artists.
“She takes a song and gives it emotional depth and edge. She not only sings it magnificently she acts the heart and soul out of it… When she tackles such hurting songs and raw pain surges from her throat, that pain finds you in the dark and makes you shiver with pleasure.” - The Hamilton Spectator
“Shari’s training as an actor imbues her music with an emotional edge that takes us places we have never been with these songs. Quarter to Nine is an experience as much as a concert.”— Barbara Milne, The Pearl Company, Hamilton
“…hear Vandermolen make jelly of your emotions with her voice and her art… one example is Stormy Weather… I barely weathered that storm intact.” - View Magazine
“…this particular show is not only a collection of songs that remind you of days gone by but [Shari Vandermolen] simultaneously reminds you how songs and lyrics can still have such a huge impact on the listener in the present day…. Vandermolen’s quiet reprise had me tear up. Not an easy thing to do.” - View Magazine
Steve McRae - piano
Steve is an honours graduate from the Applied Music Program at Mohawk College, having studied jazz piano with Adrean Farrugia. He successfully completed his A.R.C.T. in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music, achieving honours status, in the summer of 2005 under the instruction of Irene McLellan, F.R.C.M.T. Steve is also an in-demand musical director with numerous theatre companies.
James Gannett - bass
Since starting to play the bass at age 13, James has performed thousands of concerts in many different genres of music, including classical, jazz, rock, folk, and celtic. His ability to listen and react to his fellow musicians ensures that each performance is vital and unique, whether in a concert hall, or recording studio.
Having graduated from Hamilton's Mohawk College Applied Music program, James has played and studied with some of Canada's greatest musicians: Guido Basso, Adrean Farrugia, Barry Elmes, Pat Collins, Dave Young, Tommy Ambrose, and Lorne Lofsky.
Michael Yates - drums
Whether he is driving a 20 piece jazz orchestra with his killer shuffle or accompanying a quiet piano trio, versatility is truly his forte. Michael attended Mayfield Secondary School’s Regional Arts Program where he was instructed by Daryl Eaton (lead trumpet in The Buddy Rich Big Band) and John Chalmers (Head of Ontario Vocal Jazz Festival). Michael furthered his education by attending Mohawk College for jazz performance where he was instructed by some of Canada’s finest musicians such as, Ted Warren, Kevin Dempsey, Pat Collins, Dave McMurdo, Mike Malone, Don Englert, and Darcy Hepner. He was then accepted at McMaster University on scholarship to complete his Honors Bachelor of Music. In 2011 - he has been performing and teaching steadily ever since.
Throughout Michael’s career he has had the pleasure of performing with/for: Bob Brookmeyer, Rob McConnell, Quincy Jones, Oscar Peterson, Bill Charlap, Renee Rosnes, The Hamilton All Star Jazz Band, The Josephine Biundo Quartet, and Mercedes Ellington (daughter of Duke).
Ray Chantler - trumpet
By the age of 19, Ray was performing throughout southern Ontario as a member of the Oberkrajner Brass dance band – a gig that allowed him to put himself through university. Today Ray plays with Sophisticated Swing, Twelve for Swing, SwingLine and the Kerr Street Big Band, which he also directs. He is also the founding member of brass quintets Sterling Brass and Infinius Brass in addition to being an in-demand player for numerous theatre pit orchestras.
Tom Wallace - trombone
Tom started playing trombone when he was 12 and has never regretted this choice. Tom plays for a wide variety of groups and musical genres including Big Bands, small jazz ensembles, musical theatre pit orchestras, opera companies, wind ensembles and the Falgarwood Brass Quintet.
Urmas Soomet - bass
Urmas Soomet played guitar in rock bands during his youth in Montreal, where he also trained as a low brass player and played the tuba in concert bands. Later, while working in the steel industry in Hamilton, he continued playing in bands evenings and weekends and took up the bass, both electric and upright, as his musical interests grew. In 2007, he gave up his day job in order to focus on performing in the Golden Horseshoe area and on operating Studio 13 Live Sound Recording, a state-of-the-art recording studio in Flamborough. Urmas has performed on theatre and festival stages across Ontario, playing jazz, swing, classic rock, rhythm and blues and Dixieland music for over twenty years.