Down But Not Out.
When Hugh’s Room Live closed in 2020, the Board spent time looking for a long-term solution to create a sustainable future for our beloved club. We became convinced that the only way we could do that was to control our overhead by owning our venue, and we began to look for a place we could purchase.
Help From Our Friends.
At the same time, we rallied a group of over 50 volunteers from all walks of life representing many diverse communities who came forward to brainstorm possible ways to re-establish what has been valued as an unparalleled music and listening venue for various genres of music including jazz, folk, blues, singer-songwriter, World, R&B, rock, and other under-represented music. Throughout this period, we held town halls on Zoom to engage our supporters and invite new thinking and ideas.
We hived off into a string of working groups including finance, artists, community and diversity, site and real estate, programming and marketing. Some focussed on creating a virtual platform to showcase our artists. We expanded our technical expertise to produce better quality virtual shows. We met and brainstormed. We gathered a group of artists to explore how we could come back better for them. We took the opportunity to digitize our rich collection of past shows creating a Hugh’s Room Live virtual library. We discussed what “community” means for a music venue, and we have worked hard at our governance and diversity.
We explored new partnerships, working with different locations to produce top-quality virtual shows, and as things began to ease, we partnered with other venues including the Paradise Theatre and 3030 Dundas Street West to bring live music back. These milestones have been made possible by our volunteers, the audiences, and our artists who time and time again have given their gift of music when people needed it most.
Our New Home.
Although we will continue to produce shows at other venues for now, we continue to search for a new, permanent home. When Hugh’s Room comes back, we of course want to do and be everything we were before – creating a wonderful convivial listening room for fans and the great artists who grace our stage. But we have even bigger plans. Bigger visions call for more space. Our goal is to become the hub or meeting place for Toronto’s diverse music community. A new venue will allow us to engage more fully with community groups and partners, offer educational programs, studio space and masterclasses and provide opportunities for all artists, including BIPOC, LGBTQ and underprivileged community groups throughout the city. We also plan to make our site available for the use of community groups that currently lack space for their meetings and other services.
The Hugh's Room Live Team
Brian is a cofounder of Iler Campbell LLP, a community organizations activist, cofounder of the Northwind Folk Festival, and music lover who has played an integral part in bringing back Hugh’s Room Live.
Alternate Board Chair
A Director of HRL since 2019, Jim is a jazz flautist who has decades of senior management experience in business and government, including Ontario Deputy Minister positions.
Hugh’s Room Live is guided by a volunteer Board of Directors representing community leaders from various walks of life.
Board Member, Artist Engagement
Quisha is President of QW Productions Corp., a leading recording studio, and is an accomplished songstress/performer/arranger/singer-songwriter. She is founder of Canadian Black Entertainment and is VP of Collective Music Nation.
Board Member, Artist Engagement
An American jazz trombonist, composer and educator, Ron has played with the Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra since its inception in 1993. He is a member of the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin and was appointed to the Oscar Peterson Chair in jazz performance at York University in 2009.
Adam is an emerging arts manager and programmer. He provides high quality project and financial management for numerous festivals including Doors Open Toronto, Weengushk International Film Festival and AM/PM.
MJ Perry is Vice-President and Owner of Mr. Discount. She is founder of WTFest and a member of the Board of the Empire Club of Canada. Her current semi-retirement project is to complete a PhD, and she is helping HRL forge new partnerships and reach new communities.
Michael Capotosto CPA
In addition to holding multiple past CFO positions in the hospitality industry, including expansions of Prime Restaurants and The Great Canadian Bagel, Michael is a Toronto musician who plays with several bands.
A seasoned marketing strategist, Barbara brings a wealth of Marketing and Communications expertise to the Board. She has worked with many of the world’s leading brands including Lufthansa, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Lockheed Martin, Labatts, Glenfiddich and Japan Tourism.
Laura Fernandez is the host of Cafe Latino on JAZZ.FM91 and a tireless advocate for Canadian artists and particularly for those in the Hispano-Canadian community. An accomplished visual artist and musician her latest album is Ok, Alright released in 2020. Laura is also an award winning real estate broker and a key leader in the search for a new Hugh's Room venue. In 2015 she was name on of of the "10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians".
Richard started Hugh’s Room in 2001 in honour of his late brother, Hugh. He managed it until 2017 and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to HRL.
Former manager of the acclaimed Lynn Crawford restaurant Ruby Watchco, Mary joined HRL in 2018 as General Manager. As a musician, she has performed at the club and knows the music community. Mary oversees all aspects of HRL’s operations, including programming.
Executive Director (Interim)
A former member of the Hugh's Room Board, Michael assumed the role of Interim Executive Director for Hugh's Room Live in October of 2022. Former Operations Director for JAZZ.FM91 and Policy Advisor on the Culture and Entertainment Industries for Toronto Mayor David Miller, Michael brings decades of experience in venue operation and event production to Hugh's Room Live. He can be contacted at email@example.com.