Let’s Improvise Week

Let’s Improvise Week

Silence Presents


A Family/ Community Workshop and Performance Series @Silence

Thursday September 14-Sunday September 17, 2023

Improvisation is the practice of co-creation. It helps develop important skills such as accepting ideas from others, listening, staying in-the-moment, quieting judgment, letting go of fear, getting comfortable with making “mistakes” as a condition of being creative––and, very importantly, communicating and connecting with others in meaningful ways. 

Silence’s special week of improvisation activities, “Let’s Improvise!!,” will focus on bringing families, friends, children, and caregivers of all ages together, while also showcasing the remarkable range of improvisers in the Guelph community with three unique musical performances on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights.  

Through a series of performances and workshops, audiences and participants in Let’s Improvise!! will have the opportunity to experience different aspects of improvisation––including building and playing musical instruments, improvised play for tots, deep listening.




Schedule of Events 

Wednesday 13th September


8:00 PM

Audiopollination Guelph is a monthly music and arts event featuring ad hoc trios performing freely improvised creative music. All ages, skill levels, backgrounds, and artistic disciplines are welcome, including visual artists and dancers. This is a space to experiment and discover new sound-making and artistic methods. Audiopollination Guelph is also devoted to being identity-affirming space for all people, please come as you are and/or as you desire to be! Sets will be approximately 20-30 minutes. 

Please only sign up for one spot to give as many artists a chance to perform as possible.

There will be no cost to perform, and all money collected at the door will be split between performers! We have access to microphones, a piano, a drum-set, and bass/guitar amps in the venue, but otherwise please try to bring your own equipment to the event. If you do need additional equipment for your performance, please contact Emjay Wright at the email address below and we will attempt to accommodate using Silence’s in-house equipment and backline. 


When you sign up for a slot, please send an email to audiopollinationguelph@gmail.com to confirm!


Thursday 14th September



(Tony Duggan-Smith co-facilitated by Lewis Melville and Christine Mills)

The workshop will begin with a brief introduction to the origin and usage of Apprehension Engines in Film, Video Games, and popular music. Participants can listen and engage in the conversation but are also invited to bring along sound/noise generators of their own design (or unfamiliar to others) so that we can exit the hypothetical and explore different sounds collectively in the space before we all leave. Those interested will get the chance to check out the instruments right after the core workshop wraps up and this will be a full hands-on interactive experience of the Apprehension Engine for all those in attendance. 

A reminder that Silence was the first venue globally to host the Apprehension Engine in a live ensemble performance context and to document this in a Barcode Free Music recording entitled The Murmuring.


Friday 15th September 


11 AM to 11.45 AM

for babies and toddlers with caregivers facilitated by Cathy Nosaty


Sing, dance, tap and clap along with Cathy in this participatory workshop that explores and celebrates the day through melody, rhythm, and creative play! 




KNOCK (quartet featuring Kathryn Ladano, Morgan Lovell, Gregory Turner, and Max Lindsay) (SET 1)

• NEW LIGHT ENSEMBLE (trio featuring Matt Endahl, Nick Fraser, and Kathryn Ladano) (SET 2)



Saturday 16th September 



Come experience live POETRY! Sign up to slam for your chance at the $100 prize. Not a competitive kinda person? Sign up for open mic. 


Yet another way in which improvisation is alive in the wor(l)d!


Sunday 17th September 


11AM to 12PM

For children ages 6-9. Facilitated by Cathy Nosaty

Ever think about how music makes you feel?  


About how music makes you want to move? 


In this participatory workshop, music and sound will be our guide as we use our imaginations to make our own movements and melodies! 




Matthew Endahl

I’m a pianist, composer, and educator, currently based in Guelph, ON. From 2013 to 2022 I lived in Nashville, TN where I played in groups led by Jeff Coffin, Joel Frahm, Chester Thompson, Dara Tucker, Rahsaan Barber, Marcus Finnie, and many others. I’ve shared the stage with legendary figures like Jimmy Heath, Henry Grimes, David Liebman, Duffy Jackson, Jane Ira Bloom, Arthur Blythe, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Marcus Belgrave, Roger Humphries, Dave Douglas, Nicolas Bearde, and Karrin Allyson.

From 2003-2013, I lived and worked in Ann Arbor, MI where I was a student of Geri Allen, Ellen Rowe and Stephen Rush at the University of Michigan. I played with many groups, including the JAMes Hughes/Jimmy Smith Quintet, Liquid Street, the Legendary Wings, and Balkan-jazz band Ornamatik. I led my own group, Symbology (2006-2008) and was the leader of Canterbury House band Quartex (2009-2013).

In 2008 I was selected as a Bösendorfer Montreux Jazz Solo Piano Competition semi-finalist, and from 2008-2013, I was on the music faculty at Hillsdale College. Until 2022, I taught at Belmont University, Middle Tennessee State University, the Nashville Jazz Workshop. I AM currently doing doctoral work in Critical Studies in Improvisation at the University of Guelph.

Nick Fraser

Nick Fraser has been an active and engaging presence in the Toronto new jazz and improvised music community since he moved there from Ottawa in 1995. He has worked with a veritable “who’s who” of Canadian jazz and improvised music including Justin Haynes, Mike Murley, Rich Underhill, P.J. Perry, Phil Dwyer, Michael Snow, John Oswald, Andrew Downing, Jean Martin, Christine Duncan, Lina Allemano, Quinsin Nachoff, Dave Restivo, Jim Vivian, David Braid, Ryan Driver, David Occhipinti, William Carn, Nancy Walker, Kieran Overs, Kelly Jefferson, John Geggie, Scott Thomson, Marilyn Lerner, David Mott, Lori Freedman, Jean Derome, Ron Samworth and Kirk MacDonald.

In addition, he has had the opportunity to perform and/or record with such international artists as Tony Malaby, Michael Moore, Bobby Shew, Donny McCaslin, Marilyn Crispell, Anthony Braxton, Joe McPhee, William Parker, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bela Fleck, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Wynton Marsalis, David Binney, Steve Turre, Matt Welch, Bill Carrothers and Bill Mays. Nick’s recorded works as a leader include Owls in Daylight (1997), Nick Fraser and Justin Haynes are faking it (2004) and Towns and Villages (2013).

For 10 years, he co-led the co-operative group Drumheller with Brodie West, Rob Clutton, Eric Chenaux and Doug Tielli, who released four critically acclaimed CDs between 2005 and 2013. Other projects that occupy Nick regularly are Ugly Beauties (with Marilyn Lerner and Matt Brubeck), Peripheral Vision, the Lina Allemano Four and Titanium Riot. Nick is a founding member of The Association of Improvising Musicians of Toronto, a non-profit organization dedicated to the Toronto improvising community.

Dr. Kathryn Ladano has established herself as one of Canada’s foremost bass clarinetists. As a specialist of contemporary music and free improvisation, Ladano is a dynamic soloist and in-demand collaborator. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician across Canada and abroad and has immersed herself in a wide variety of creative and collaborative projects. Kathryn holds a PhD from York University, a master’s degree in bass clarinet performance from the University of Calgary and an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in music from the University of Waterloo. Kathryn is currently the Artistic Director of NUMUS concerts, a nationally recognized producer/presenter of contemporary music concerts and events. She is also the Director of ICE (Improvisation Concerts Ensemble) and instructor of improvisation studio at Wilfrid Laurier University, and the bass clarinet instructor at the University of Waterloo. Currently, Kathryn performs as a soloist and in several ensembles that specialize in new music and free improvisation such as Stealth; her duo with famed TorQ percussionist, Richard Burrows. The duo released their debut CD, “…listen”, in the summer of 2015. Kathryn was the 2015 winner of the Cook Homes Music Award at the Waterloo Region Arts Awards. Kathryn has released two solo albums, “Open” (2010) and “Masked” (2019). Kathryn’s research interests include improvisation pedagogy and the use of free improvisation as therapy for musicians with various anxieties. 

Max Lindsay is a KW based percussionist with a passion for performing new music and improvisation while honouring the classics. He is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Music. Currently, Max teaches at Laurier Academy of Music and Art where he pursues educating the youth on the limitless potential that percussion can be. 

Morgan Lovell is a cellist, composer and improviser based in Kitchener-Waterloo. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2019. Morgan has performed in many concerts and events hosted in the KW region, most notably with local arts organizations NUMUS Concerts and Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound. In 2018, Morgan was the winner of the sixth annual NUMUS Emerging Improviser Contest. And in 2021, Morgan had the opportunity to perform a new work entitled Black Water Elegy composed by the organization’s founder, Peter Hatch, as a part of NUMUS’s 35th year anniversary concert. Morgan is currently a member of the board of directors for the Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound and shares in the passion of bringing exciting musical programming to the region. She is also a member of the Waterloo based dream folk/alternative rock band Halloween Animals (formerly Safe as Houses), with whom she has performed at numerous venues and festivals across southern Ontario. 

Gregory Turner is a pianist, composer and improviser based in Kitchener-Waterloo. He graduated with his Bachelor of Music degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2019, studying piano with Dr. Joe Ferretti, composition with CAM McKittrick and Linda Catlin Smith, and improvisation with Dr. Kathryn Ladano. In 2017, Gregory performed Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin with the Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra. He performed as part of The NUMUS Orchestra in 2021 in the live scoring of the 1925 film Phantom of the Opera. Gregory was also commissioned to write a piece for solo bass clarinet which was premiered by Kathryn Ladano in a concert presented by NUMUS that same year.  Gregory is interested in expanding upon the sound of the piano, often incorporating electronic effects and various preparations (including ping pong balls, chopsticks, and gin bottles) in his performances to achieve a wider sound palette and explore the more percussive side of the instrument.






Tony Duggan-Smith: 

Tony started out in Fine Arts in the UK and ended up at NSCAD in Halifax during its most vibrant period. Apprenticed with guitar maker Jean Larrivee and was introduced to Linda Manzer, David Wren, George Gray, Sergei de Jonge, Grit Laskin, who all became lifelong friends. Founding member of Casby/Uknow award-winning ‘Canadian treasures’ Pukka Orchestra. Set Designer for Bert Leonard TV series and Lorimar action films amongst many others. Primarily Archtop guitar maker working alone and with Linda Manzer. Restoration of historic and fine guitars. Songwriting with Alannah Myles, Neil Chapman, Robert Priest, Russ Walker, Sue Breit etc. Short films and instrument projects (Sarello) with composer Mark Korven. Helping worthwhile projects be realized including the historic Group of Seven Guitar Project. Apprehension Engines. Long-time friend and supporter of Silence!


Lewis Melville:

Lewis Melville is a Guelph, Ontario multi-disciplinary musician and artist. His work has taken him on numerous adventures throughout Canada, South and North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. A veteran of the Canadian alternative music scene, he has performed or recorded with iconic Canadian bands (Skydiggers, Rheostatics, Grievous Angels, Pat Temple and the High Lonesome Players, Cowboy Junkies, Bird Sisters, Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, Waltons, Kim Stockwood, 13 Engines, Tannis Slimmon, and others), including the multi-million selling album Gordon by Barenaked Ladies. He has maintained a keen interest in progressive music since the early seventies, and is an original member of the Woodchoppers Association, a Toronto-based free-style jazz orchestra, and Guelph’s Vertical Squirrels quartet. Lewis also performs with the Hoofbeats, the Banjo Mechanics, and Guelph singer-songwriter Tannis Slimmon. Lewis has produced numerous recordings in Canada, as well as for artists in Bhutan, West Africa, Germany, Cuba, and refugee cAMps on the Thai-Burmese border. His work with Malian musicians is the subject of a documentary film on the role of music in development (The Road to Baleya, 2008) by Canadian filmmaker Bay Weyman. Lewis is also the inventor of a unique instrument he regularly plays called the BetaBlock, which he will bring to the Tony Duggan-Smith workshop.

Christine Mills:

Christine Mills is a lifelong musician, composer and multi-instrumentalist. She plays about a dozen instruments, at wildly varying skill levels ranging from “Hey, not bad!” to “Oh, please stop…” She has written music for film and video, released four CDs and is currently working a couple more. She has volunteered/worked part-time at Silence since the early days (mostly as a sound tech) and has played there more times than she cares to remember. At one time she played lead guitar and violin in a local rock band called The Rolling Blackouts—done in by COVID—in which her partner Sally was a lead vocalist, and now spends her negligible spare time messing around in her tiny recording studio. Christine is a trans woman. She lives in Guelph with her partner Sally Ludwig, a dog, a cat and five chickens.


Cathy Nosaty:

Cathy Nosaty is a musician, composer, musical director and teaching artist. 

She began her musical training at age three as a classical pianist and her love of creative collaboration led her to work in dance, theatre, and scoring to picture. Over the past thirty-five years Cathy has written music for over one hundred theatre productions across Canada: her work has been heard on international stages with Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes, Manitoba Theatre for Young People and DynamO Théâtre. Cathy has scored a dozen documentary films including the The Motherload for CBC Doc Zone and was Assistant Conductor / Keyboardist for the Toronto company of Jersey Boys. 

Cathy is a passionate teaching artist with numerous programs including the After School Opera ProgrAM for Canadian Opera Company, Youth Inside Opera program for Tapestry Opera, tdsbCREATES, and The Lullaby Project with Roy Thompson Hall /Jessie’s Centre. She conducted community choirs for Unfolding for Community Arts Guild and Moving Parts for Fujiwara Dance. 

Cathy was nominated for the 2020 Louis Applebaum Composers Award and for five DORA awards. She is presently in her second year of M.A. coursework in the Critical Studies in Improvisation program at the University of Guelph. 


Emjay Wright:

Emjay Wright is an event facilitator, improvisational musician and DJ living in Guelph, Ontario on Treaty 3 territory. They host the Toronto-based audiovisual event ponyHAUS, a show that prioritizes musicians and visual artists equally, and Audiopollination Guelph, a monthly series featuring community-curated free improvisational performances hosted by Silence.


One of their core passions lies in creating spaces for artists from all mediums to connect and share their work, especially in providing safe events for emerging artists to perform for the first time. They are driven by the model of radical, open conversation that emerges through improvisational arts practices. Emjay also DJs footwork and other high-BPM tunes under the handle Bodywaltz.