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  • Dean Thiessen


We are 1 week away from this very big show and if you haven't gotten your tickets yet, now is the time! 

**The Fox is an amazing venue in Vancouver and it is wheelchair accessible.


For those of you who have never heard this band, let me introduce yo

The Stranger Friends Orchestra. This is a 15-piece big band that I've been writing music for since about 2016 while I was in school still learning how to get the musical ideas in my head out onto paper. I remember one of my last composition lessons with John Korsrud before I graduated and I asking him, 'what do I do now?' And he just said, 'start your own band.' And I guess that is what I needed to hear cause after I graduated I spent about 2 or 3 years writing for this exact band until it felt like the right time to assemble the musician: The STRANGER FRIENDS ORCHESTRA. In these past couple years we've taken it up a couple notches with self producing a show in 2022 and then being invited to play at the Vancouver Jazz Festival in 2023 and now March 8th 2024 at the Fox. These achievements might not seem like much but big bands are big heavy boulders and it is uphill in every direction. But like a goo-y boulder that is kind a liquid so you can't quite move it the way you want to and it's like you're never really in control of anything. Yeah, like that. But many hands makes enjoyable work (still not light work in any way shape or form) and the members of this band are truly my pride and joy and they energize me to keep pushing this boulder. These are the some of the best people who are really great friends. OH, AND YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM PLAY MUSIC!!!! JUST...WOW!!!!


The music we are going to be playing takes inspiration from so many places: The land and our relationship to it and it's Indigenous ancestors, being patient and learning lessons you don't want to learn, my favourite colours, and the novels of John Steinbeck. We will also be playing my arrangements of 'Help Me' and 'Both Sides Now' (co-arranged with Cindy) by Joni Mitchell featuring Cindy Dai on vocals!


These shows are huge undertakings and I am grateful to Tim Reinert at Infidels Jazz for his help in producing this show. But of course,

all this music, work, and preparation is for YOU!! The audience!! 

So please get a ticket and come enjoy our music!


If you are financially able to purchase a ticket but unable to come I can see to it that your ticket is given to a music student or someone who might not be able to afford the ticket. This is a very cool thing that comes up from time to time. I've done it myself and it is a great way to both support the artists and also make the show financially accessible for others.  

Stranger Friends Orchestra on March 8th at The Fox will feature...

Brent Mah - Alto Saxophone

John Nicholson - Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone , & Flute

Adam Kyle - Tenor Saxophone

Sofia Avelino - Bari Saxophone

Rory Hislop - Trumpet

Feven Kidane - Trumpet

Thad Bailey-Mai - Trumpet

Gregory Dent - Trombone

Nebyu Yohannes- Trombone

George McNally - Bass Trombone

Cindy Dai - Vocals

Chris Fraser - Guitar

Suin Park - Piano

Wynston Minckler - Upright Bass

Todd Stewart - Drums

Jason Winikoff - Congas & Percussion

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