Two years ago, violinist Joanna Ciapka-Sangster sent Carnegie Hall’s promoters a recording by her and her group — named for its saxophonist and her husband — Kent Sangster’s Obsessions Octet. Kent didn’t think anything would come of the package she sent, but he was quickly proven wrong.
Charmed by the group’s amalgamating of a classical string quartet (two violins, a viola and cello) with the traditional jazz quartet (drums, upright bass, piano and horn), the promoters invited the group to open the chamber music concert series in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall on Saturday, October 6.
The Juno-nominated octet has received its share of praise through the national jazz circuits, but they were still stunned by the praise coming from New York. But with it comes a lot of pressure to deliver.
“I’ll literally wake up in the middle of the night and think, ‘Oh my god, it’s almost time,’” Joanna says.
Between Kent’s teaching at Grant MacEwan University and running the Edmonton Jazz Festival, and Joanna’s work with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and not to mention the rest of the band’s commitments — it’s been hard for the octet to find time to practice. But for a show like this, they make time.
“Some of the [string players] will go and practise as a duo, or my wife and I will make some time while we’re at home,” says Kent. “We just keep rehearsing as much as we can.”
Right now, as the clock winds down, they’re focused on the finer points. “We think about the details now,” says Sangster, “so we can enjoy the moment while we’re there.”
The Kent Sangster Obsessionss Octet will play Carnegie Hall in October. But in preparation for their trip to New York, they perform at Spruce Grove's Horizon Stage. (315 Jesperson Ave., 780-962-8955)