VIMS Winners

Vernon Isaac Memorial Scholarship

Memorial Celebration Jan.22,2000


Profile by Arthur Katona


Photo Gallery (coming soon)

June 12, 2001.

It has been quite some time since the last 'update' to Vernon's web site.  A guess might be, well, definitely over one year since the last update!!  Wow!!  Where has the time gone!  Vernon, well, you know, it was one thing with Vern, that there never was a rush and he'd always remain with the optimistic view that it will get done!!   And you know, given the situation with his web site, he'd probably come up with some sage line that only Vernon could make it seem all ok.  My hope and aspiration has been, (and still is!!) to collect photos of Vernon and post them to the gallery.   Ah, but sometimes, what I want to do and what I CAN do are really two VERY different things!!  But still, my hope does not fade away, because it will get done!!!  Must be the Taurus in me!

Briefly, here is what has happened since the last update.

In June of 2000, the winner of the inaugural VIMS was selected.  Emilio Reyes-Leblanc was awarded the scholarship and began his studies at the University of Toronto.  The following month, the Vernon Isaac Tribute Band (VITB) performed at the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Ottawa International Jazz Festival.   It was a hope to have the VIMS recipient perform with the group, and that was realized when Emilio Reyes-Leblanc was called up to sit in with the group at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival performance.  The performances were VERY satisfying for the all the musicians, but Mother Nature, once again had her way!!  In Montreal, the VITB had just completed the first selection when the rain began.  In Ottawa, the group had been called back for an encore, and midway through the piece, the downpour began.  The two performances were somewhat difficult to get through for me personally, given it would be the first time the music was played without Vernon.  But, we did get through it.   Many of the listeners and fellow musicians remarked positively on the group, stating it was the best combination of players ever put together that played Vern's book.   I must say, it certainly felt good playing his music!!!

It is quite the challenge finding a venue for a big band to perform such as the VITB.   Conversations with many close friends always end up with the realization, "where could the band play?".  Yet, even though there may not be the bars or clubs there used to be, that could even facilitate the VITB, with the economic growth that seems to still exist in Ottawa, I do hope a location or event will one day bring together the musicians again.  The music that was written for Vernon is truly unique to him and his dream of what he wanted his band to be and sound like.  The arrangements were written for the instrumentation Vernon wanted, but its not just this that makes the 'book' swing so much ~ its all the wonderful memories that come back when you have the opportunity to perform his swingin' music.

Caledonia, how many times he'd go out into the audience to 'find' her;
There Will Never Be Another You, "ah hope";
Let the Good Times Roll, "I've seen better bands around a cigar!", or right after the band plays the first eight bars, Vern says, "Ladies and gentleman, for our next number......"

There are many fond memories with Vernon.  When he would introduce the members of the band, the members would sit at the edge of their seats, listening for what 'line' Vern would say about them!!  And of course, always endearingly sincere.

Yes, I do hold the hope that one day Vernon's music will play again, and when it does, look into the eyes of a musician playing his music ~ you just might get another glimpse of the man he was!!!