Mike Lewis returns to Barrie to kick off the first Seniors Serenade concert of 2019. His alphabet of music has become a new year tradition. He’s currently working on the ‘G’ list – songs that start with the letter G.
With hundreds of songs to choose from, the most difficult part for the pianist is narrowing it down. He favours songs that are largely unknown, written by popular composers but are for one reason or another largely overlooked.
“They’re all are wonderful songs,” said Lewis, adding the majority of the songs also have lyrics. “I always like to pick half a dozen tunes that I know everyone can identify with.”
Born in Philadelphia, Lewis moved to the Toronto area in 1968 and, then, to the countryside of Cookstown in 1975. He grew up listening to songs from the Great American Song Book and he has continued to play them throughout his career. He started out with classical music, studied it for 10 years and, then, learned how to play by ear with a teacher who recognized his passion for modern classical composers and be-bop jazz.
He is also known as a jazz musician. He has performed with numerous groups over the years, including a stint with the Glenn Miller Band. A lifetime of music followed – touring with The Continentals in the late 1940s and ‘50s, duos and solo performances in the U.S. and Canada.
Lewis performs on Jan. 9 at Bethel Community Church, 128 St. Vincent St., at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free. Refreshments – tea and cookies – follow at 3:30 p.m. for $5.