Michael Kaeshammer is set to have his Aug. 21 and 22 performances at the Mary Winspear Centre recorded for PBS. (Courtesy Michael Kaeshammer)

North Saanich jazz singer and pianist scores PBS special

Two August concerts at Mary Winspear to be filmed for American TV

North Saanich musician Michael Kaeshammer is set to have his live Sidney concerts filmed for an American TV special.

The talented pianist’s performances are to be recorded Aug. 21 and 22 and then aired on PBS later in the year. In keeping with the classy vibe, a cocktail gala will precede the event, which will feature special guest appearances.

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Once PBS showed an interest in filming his shows, he thought there was no better place than having it at the Mary Winspear Centre.

“I wanted it to be a community thing and something that means something to me. Especially bringing the band and bringing American public television here to see where I live. And so they were on board and are putting on the shows, and they’ve been a huge help.”

Kaeshammer is known for his jazz, boogie-woogie and New Orleans blues, and the performances will include music from his latest album.

Despite the special being edited down to one hour, he says music fans can expect their money’s worth as he often goes over time and expects the performances to last over two hours.

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“When I grew up my Dad had lots of records of piano players from New Orleans, guys like Professor Longhair and Allen Toussaint, and Johnny my drummer played and recorded with all those guys,” says Kaeshammer. “I also loved Oscar Peterson and Count Basie.”

Originally from Germany, raised in Victoria, and with an affinity and connections to New Orleans, Kaeshammer still credits much of his musical inspiration to his North Saanich home.

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“A lot of the songs I write are about people in my life or places I visit, including being here on the Island,” he says, adding, “Saanich Peninsula life affects my music 200 per cent. Touring is fun but coming home is the best bit about touring. And coming home to a place like the Peninsula, which is where I have called home since ‘95, means everything to me. It is the place I can recharge.”

For tickets, visit marywinspear.ca or call the box office on 250-656-0275.

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