The Indian River Festival is a well-oiled machine, and one that takes many different cogs and gears to run. Of course, we’d be nowhere without our organizers, volunteers, artists, donors, and all of our lovely patrons. But we also rely on our media partners to promote and circulate all the music magic IRF creates to a broader audience. Today, we’re shining the spotlight on one such partner: Jeff Reilly.
Try as you may, but it’s nearly impossible to find one word to describe Jeff. He leads an incredibly multifaceted life as a bass clarinettist, composer, conductor, a CBC radio music producer, and a radio documentary maker. As a CBC producer he has produced over 6,000 hours of radio programming, including 4 multi-episode documentaries on issues in contemporary music. He has also produced over 300 concert recordings of classical, jazz, world and contemporary music. As a recording artist, he has garnered an international reputation as an innovative master of the bass clarinet. He has performed with choirs, orchestras and chamber groups, in music festivals, cathedrals and concert halls around the world. Shanghai, Paris, London, New York, St Petersburg, Toronto—name a city, and Jeff has probably performed there.
However, one thread that has weaved its way through most of Jeff’s life is his connection to CBC. “I have been at the CBC for over 30 years (believe it or not) and I am currently the senior producer of music performance for the four Atlantic Provinces,” he says. “Back in the days when we had a lot more staff and resources, I was the network producer of music for the Maritimes, producing mostly classical music concerts. I did that for about 15 years.”
It was also Jeff’s job at CBC that first allowed him to connect with our little festival. “I heard about the festival through Adrian Hoffman, a long time producer for CBC. Adrian loved Indian River. When I took over his assignment producing the regional performance program All the Best, I did my very best to keep up the tradition of recording concerts at Historic St. Mary’s.”
Since learning about IRF, Jeff has made many cherished memories at the Festival. “There are so many great memories that are associated with concerts Rod Sneddon and I recorded at IRF,” he says, “but I think one of my favourite was a concert with Kiran Ahluwalia and Andrew Downing—a beautiful fusion of classical, jazz and Kiran’s incredible global background.”
Music is at the heart and soul of Indian River Festival, but it isn’t everything. What is Jeff most looking forward to when IRF returns in 2021? “Eating oysters on the lawn!” Us too, Jeff. Us too.
While IRF 2021 may seem eons away, we can always, like Jeff, relive our favourite midsummer memories. We hope to see you all again soon inside beautiful Historic St. Mary’s—and, of course, out on the lawn eating oysters, too.
Written by: Dani MacDonald