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Borealis Big Band Bio 2019:

The Borealis Big Band idea was formulated in the summer of 2017 with our first rehearsals in September 2017 alternating between the Chartwell Park Place Retirement Residence and the Chartwell Hollandview Trail Retirement Residence both located in Aurora. Thanks to our friends at both these Chartwell locations for your ongoing hospitality.

As the Borealis name suggests, the new band has a very close association with the Town of Aurora as the five original founders live in or close to Aurora however we are especially proud that we have participation from musicians from throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

The Borealis Big Band was set up to provide an opportunity for band members to play challenging music in a wide variety of big band jazz styles including Swing, Funk, Smooth, Latin/Cuban and to play it to the highest quality possible with lots of room for improvisation for all those member interested. In our opinion, the best bands are entertaining because the musicians in the band work hard to be the best they can and everyone in the band loves to perform every time they pick up their instrument. 

The promise we make is that our performance will always be fun for everyone involved and for everyone watching and listening. Our goal is to rehearse and perform music of varying difficulty to the highest standard in a friendly and supportive atmosphere.


From our first concert February 16th 2018 at the Aurora Cultural Centre and concerts held at the Newmarket Old Town Hall on June 22nd and December 16th we have played to sold out audiences. In addition the band has performed for the Aurora Parks music program, the Aurora Winter Festival as well as in locals High Schools and was the featured performance for the York Region Student Band Camp last September. In 2019, the band has performed at the Markham Theatre with the Markham Concert Band as well as at the Duke Live in Leslieville Toronto and for the Silstar Foundation Lung Cancer research and in support of the Elmer Campbell Museum in Newmarket

The band is under the musical direction of Gord Shephard, a founding member and long time resident of Aurora. Gord is a York Region music educator with over 25 years of experience and is currently the Music Director and conductor of the Aurora Concert Band. His strong commitment to performing quality music is crucial to the success of our band. In addition to Gord Shephard, the founding members of the band are Carl Finkle, Susan Guido (trumpet and section lead), Laurel Potter and Phil Thomson (trombone and section lead). 

It is reasonable to say that being a good musician is not enough; we also expect each member to be a good team player ... but more than that we know that for the proper functioning of the entire team, we want a real professional. This is an attitude, a state of mind, strength of character, commitment, dedication, perseverance, emotional stability, steadfastness. It is integrity ... and the possession of other such tertiary qualities. This is the basis of our recruitment of members. We thank all our current members for sharing of goals and by their consistent contributions to the success of the Borealis Big Band.


We love to perform for large groups so contact us if you have are planning a gathering where you need an enthusiastic and well rehearsed swingin” big band. 

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