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Check out this interview of Rebekah with Nou Dadoun on CFRO 100.5 FM in Vancouver, BC.
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Rebekah was introduced to jazz by Robert Benedict – Canadian pianist, composer & long-time family friend. As a northern girl who grew up in a family filled with music, Rebekah started to play flute when she was ten and then began formal studies in band class when she was in grade six. When things seemed too easy, she would create her own harmonies to the unison songs that they were playing.

“When I was ten, we used to have neighborhood card games that went late into the evening. My sister and I would curl up to sleep under the 9-foot Steinway grand piano in Bob and Jan’s living room where all the action was happening. It’s a long time between turns in rummy when there are more than ten players, so Bob would sit down at the piano and play. I could listen to him play jazz piano forever…” 

As a teen, Rebekah was plugged into night-time CBC jazz shows and then later, bought many, many jazz CDs “for cheap” through BMG Music mailers. Stocking her listening library with many jazz CDs, including artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Holly Cole, Sarah Vaughan, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dinah Washington, Blossom Dearie, Karrin Allyson, Nancy Wilson, she learned many tunes sung by these legends.

“I listened to all kinds of music, but I always gravitated to jazz. I’ve learned so many of the tunes I know just from listening for hours and hours. It’s still the main style of music that I listen to when I run, drive, or when I’m just hanging out.”

With the goal of becoming a school music teacher and pursuing musical excellence, Rebekah continued playing flute in Band, taught private lessons to younger students, and became a multi-instrumentalist by learning all the other wind and percussion instruments. Rebekah learned proper singing technique in the local Northern Lights College choir and starred in musicals such as “Oklahoma” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”

After high school, Rebekah auditioned and attended the University of Victoria where she received “Honours with Distinction” in her Music Education degree. After university Rebekah moved to Whitehorse, Yukon to teach Band to high school students. There, she worked, directed, and performed in various groups with her husband, Bruce Johnson, who taught Band at another local high school. As well as making music with smaller jazz combos, she also performed for 13 years with The Big Band (www.bigband.ca). Moving south to Maple Ridge, BC found Rebekah teaching Band & Choir full time as a secondary school music teacher.

While her students and teaching will always be incredibly important, her artistic outlet will always be jazz, through and through. Working with experienced jazz artists and mentors, Rebekah continuously strives to improve her craft. Her most recent project is a full-length jazz album produced by Joani Taylor (www.joanitaylor.com) recorded at Armoury Studios with Bob Murphy (piano), Doug Stephenson (bass), and Buff Allen (drums), and sound engineer David Hayes. Plans for the next album are underway with an anticipated recording date of summer 2016.

Artists that have influenced Rebekah include Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Holly Cole, Sarah Vaughan, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dinah Washington, Blossom Dearie, Karrin Allyson, and Nancy Wilson.

Rebekah is firmly entrenched in the styles that fall under the jazz umbrella. From bossa novas by Jobim, to blues tunes by The Beatles, to jazz standards by Jimmy van Heusen, her love of jazz and her familiarity with the vast array of songs and styles have given her a feel for jazz that is evident in her voice, sense of timing, phrasing, ever present groove, and her understanding of the fundamental drive in her art.

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