The Church Of The Blues: The Post Script

I spent yesterday recovering from a very long weekend of playing: about 7 hours spread over 2 days, on Saturday pm, and Sunday afternoon and evening, as Deception played at The Church Of The Blues. We finally wrapped on Sunday at 8:30, 90 minutes later than planned, because the place was hopping, and the pub’s owner was quite happy to keep things going. There were so many talented Blues musicians there to jam, as the house band, we were playing pretty much non-stop from 3:00 PM onwards.

    Here I am looking over to Steve (bass) for cues on our unison punches.  

As the sax player, I was expecting not to be asked to play a lot, because I was willing to bet that most (none) of these performers were used to working with horn players. I figured that they were comfortable with their sound, and didn’t want to change their routine too much. Well was I wrong, or what! There was only 1 performer, and he was a soloist, who didn’t ask me to perform with him. All the rest of the musicians asked for the sax to stay on stage with them.

Each musician, or group of musicians, was given a “mini set” of 30 minutes to showcase their talent. And what talent there was! I was blown away by the calibre of performers on Sunday.The Fraser Valley has incredible Blues talent. That cannot be overstated. And some of that talent absolutely rocked the house on Sunday.

I tried to take it as easy as I could. I was literally running on 5 hours of sleep, adrenaline, & my prescription of the stimulant Alertec. 

As part of “taking it easy”, I decided to leave the stage during Deception’s opening set, and went to sit on the pool table. It was conveniently located at the back of the room, and beside a table where a drummer I sometimes play with, was sitting with his wife.

It is times like this, where my being so off balance is really a pain in the ass. I like to work the crowd, and this is the place & the time to do just that. I did do as much of it as I could. There was one guy who really loved the sax, and called me over to him. He wanted me to play in his ear. Whatever… I did… I don’t know if he’s deaf, but if he wasn’t to begin with, he likely lost some hearing Sunday! I sure as hell wouldn’t want some sax player blowing into my ear! Would you?

So all in all, I would give the weekend a 5 out of 5 rating. The owners of The Historic Dewdney Pub, AKA, The Church Of The Blues, Doug McNeil & Julie McDonald, and their extremely hardworking staff, are great hosts for the visiting bands. The patrons are very appreciative & extremely friendly. It has been a long time since I’ve played a pub where I’ve felt that welcome & safe as a musician. The last time was in 2003, when I was in Perth Andover, New Brunswick, when First Cool Hive played at Kelly’s Pub.

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!

© 2008, Helen. All rights reserved.


Helen Kahlke is a professional horn player and sax teacher who lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia. She plays soprano, alto, C melody, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophones.

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