Galt Jazz was started in June of 2022 by new Cambridge residents Dave and Ruth Ottenbrite as a way of giving something of cultural value to their newly-adopted city and most importantly, to help with the revitalization of the downtown core. 

Sensing that the pandemic was finally waning in the spring of 2022, they struck out to find like-minded people and their hunt produced trumpeter Paul Mitchell, President of the Central Ontario Musicians Union who agreed to serve as their music contractor, willing to supply a steady stream of professional musicians. 

Soon thereafter a chance meeting found another new resident, Blair Francey who eagerly agreed to be the ‘sound guy’ as the Technical Director. 

The final piece of the puzzle occurred during a telephone conversation with the Executive Director of the Downtown Cambridge BIA, Brian Kennedy, who liked what he heard and instantly agreed to fund the first 5 Galt Jazz shows, held on the downtown pedestrian Main Street block between Water and Ainslie Streets.

The crowds grew organically as did the appreciation of many residents who commented that they had not seen that many people on Main Street for a long time. This was to be the first step of their vision of a revitalized core area: people on the streets makes for safer streets. 

By creating a non-profit, the next step was to translate the momentum indoors to the Taproom, upstairs at 13 Food & Beverage where 7 monthly shows were produced through the kindness of several local sponsors from October to April. The shows ended with standing ovations from enthusiastic crowds.

As Galt Jazz’s notoriety grew, Dave, along with longtime friend and local real estate agent Jeff Vetere, a multiple sponsor of Galt Jazz, were able to secure a startup grant from the City of Cambridge to organize a celebration for the 50th anniversary of the amalgamation of Cambridge. 

Dinner on The Grand was not actually held on the Grand River as planned, but in the Galt Gardens Arena due to a threatening weather forecast. Still it was deemed a success, resulting in a $6,300 donation to the Cambridge Food Bank.

Meanwhile, back on the street for the summer series shows, from May to September, Galt Jazz attracts crowds exceeding 300 people. Come join the street party atmosphere with people who are encouraged to ‘…bring a chair, relax, enjoy!’ the free music, '...Music for Everyone!'

The series has found its footing and is pleased to provide great music and community well-being to help revitalize one of the prettiest downtowns in Canada. 

We are proud to have been recognized for our contributions to our community with 2 Chamber of Commerce Award nominations and as the winner of the prestigious Bernice Adams Legacy Award.