Alright, it’s time for the blog I’ve been meaning to write for days and in a few hours writing it will be pointless so here we go. It’s my year end wrap up blog! What a year it has been. I’ve had some great new experiences as a musician and as a teacher, and the Quintet and I have had some fantastic experiences as well.
One of the more exciting things we did this year was taking the band outside of Saskatoon for the first time. Technically the first time we did that was in the final days of 2014, but who cares. Our other two out of town excursions were for weddings; one at the beautiful Elk Ridge Resort in Northern Saskatchewan and the other in my hometown of Biggar. I’d like to thank Elenee and Jeremiah, and Kristina and Chris for having us as a part of your big days. We had a blast at both weddings!
The Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival was also particularly good to myself and my band this year. The Quintet played two shows at the festival; one on the Experience Downtown Free Stage, and the other on the PotashCorp Club Jazz Free Stage. I also had the opportunity to play with the Drew Tofin Big Band and the University of Saskatchewan Jazz Ensemble at Club Jazz as well. I’d like to send out a big thank you to Saskatchewan Jazz Festival Artistic Director, Kevin Tobin and the staff, board, and volunteers at the Jazz Festival for giving young musicians like myself and the Quintet such fantastic opportunities year after year!
I was also very fortunate to be a part of two album release concerts this year. The first was the release of Drew Tofin’s ‘One Night’ on March 7th at Louis’ Pub and the second was the University of Saskatchewan Jazz Ensemble’s Bumper Crop VI: Continuance on June 13th in Quance Theatre. Both concerts were an absolute blast to be a part of! Thank you to Drew for continuing to include me as a part of the Drew Tofin Big Band, and thank you to Dean McNeill, director of the UofS Jazz Ensemble, for bringing me back to play in the alumni band for this album release.
Perhaps the biggest moment of 2015 was when we launched my website. On May 18th we officially unveiled www.marcholtmusic.com to the world. It was such huge leap forward in my career and there are a few people/organizations that I could not have done it without, the first being Creative Saskatchewan, who helped fund the creation of this website. It would not have happened without their support. The second is Kaelen Klypak at SaskMusic who helped me through the process of apply for the grant. It was the first grant I had ever applied for and his help was instrumental in my successful application. Third, and possibly most important, is my good friend and band-mate Bryn Becker who designed and created the website. I was unbelievably happy with how it turned out. It looked so much better than I could have even imagined!
This year there was also a lot of performances that weren’t new to us, but still very much appreciated. We played four more shows at Prairie Ink this year and we always have a blast. Thank you to Marcy Hildebrand for bringing us back over and over again. As well, one of our biggest supporters has always been the University of Saskatchewan. We performed at nine different events hosted by the University of Saskatchewan in 2015 and we appreciate each and every one of them. For that, a big thank you goes out to Heather Dawson and Meagan Mann.
I’d be a terrible band leader if I didn’t take the time to thank my band mates in the Marc Holt Quintet. These guys put up with a lot from me and from the bottom of my heart I appreciate everything they do. So to Michael, Bryn, Nevin, and Dylan, thank you for everything you have done to help me make this all happen over the last year and I am so excited to continue playing with you guys in 2016 and beyond.
I also need to send a thank you out to my family and friends who I could not do this without. Most important of which is my beautiful and fantastic fiancée Chelsea. You have provided so much support on my journey working as a professional musician and you put up with listening to me practice, complaining about difficult clients, or whatever I happen to be complaining about day in and day out. I really could not do this without you. Also, a great big thank you goes out to my mom and dad who to this day drive the hour each way from Biggar to Saskatoon to come to almost every public show I play. Thank you for the support you have provided over the years. I would not be who I am today without you.
Last, but not least, thank you to all of the fans. I know that most of you fall into the category of friends and family, but all the same a big thank you to one and all, whether you like me because you’re my friend or because you like my music (or both)!
That just about sums it up. I really hope I didn’t miss anyone, but if I did know that I appreciate what you did. 2015 was one of the greatest musical years of my life and 2016 is already shaping up to be even better. Thank you once again to all of you. I will see you in 2016. Happy New Year!