Music is transcendent.  It transcends any human limitations or definitions we may try to describe in mere words.  Music speaks to the very soul and emotions of people and has the potential to bring us together in a powerful shared experience – whether or not we are educated in its mechanics.  But when we are, life can be richer and full of more possibilities.

There is a rather infamous story of Pablo Casals, a brilliant cellist who practiced intensely for hours daily despite his golden years (he was said to be in his late 80’s or early 90’s.)  When asked why he practiced so diligently, he purportedly responded, “I think I’m making progress.”

Although several decades younger, Derek Stoll exemplifies the same diligence and humility when it comes to his lifelong journey in the performing arts. In fact, when Jevon Hills, the Founder and Band Leader of Little Brown Jug Brass, had shared with other Calgary musicians that Derek will be a guest for our intimate concert in support of scholarship programs for Cornerstone Music Café, one responded “Wow.  He’s the type of musician that makes you want to quit music.” And trust me – he meant it as a compliment!

Primarily known for his expertise in jazz, one would be hard pressed to find someone more passionate about music education than Derek.  “Music education has, for a very long time, been associated not just with the obvious learning of the craft of music but with the development of the intellect as well as one’s creativity.  Many of the well-known and influential scientists of the past several hundred years had a strong music training during their formative years.  Galileo,  Copernicus, Einstein, Heisenberg, and Kramers  were quite accomplished musicians in addition to being brilliant scientists.”  And he knows what he’s talking about.  He has literally run the gamut of teaching high school science to lecturing at Harvard about jazz to presenting workshops at the Banff Centre for Creativity to C-Suite Executives of large corporations.

Music is also an extraordinary tool for our own individual personal development.  It allows us to explore, grow, and develop our own unique resonance in a world which can seem increasingly dissonant.  Ashley Ghostkeeper, a Metis-Cree singer song writer, is one of Alberta’s fastest rising country stars.  In fact, just this week, her single ‘Future Me’ hit number 2 on the Indigenous Music Countdown – and we at LBJB are confident it may hit number 1 by next week!

“Music means everything to me. It’s my healing and my Medicine – my gift to the world I can offer. I continue to find myself in my music as each new song is written. This helps my voice to grow,” she shared virtually with me from her grandfather’s house.

She is at the tail end of her musical tour of Northern Alberta where she has loved performing in different environments and being able to see life from different perspectives.  “It has been such a Spiritual journey for me.  I’ve been able to visit and track the land where my family comes from.  It’s been so inspiring.”  And so is she.

It’s serendipitous timing that today (November 9) she is releasing her new single ‘Honey Leave It’ which she is excited to perform with a brass band in the coming weeks!

Jazz, Country, quirky NOLA inspired brass spanning across generations from Cornerstone students up to performers with established decades long careers, music is bringing us together because we all recognize the necessity for arts education.

“Promoting creativity within the arts tends to very much cross over into all other aspects of human endeavor.    I really can’t say enough about the value of arts education in developing individuals as well as, through ensemble work, the experience of working together as a team,” Derek confirms.  “Cornerstone Music Café exemplifies this approach to music education and is a shining example of people who really get it.  And yes, (I mean the owners) Jim and Sylvia!”

LBJB hopes to see you at one (if not both) of our two holiday concerts we’re hosting to raise money for scholarships for Cornerstone Music Café.  The first will be a more intimate concert in Cornerstone’s new performance venue including Special Guest Derek Stoll, and the second will be a blow out bash at the Ironwood Stage and Grill!  Both concerts will include Special Guest Ashley Ghostkeeper and some of Cornerstone’s student performers.

Festivities will include an online silent auction.


  • November 24, 2023 – Intimate Concert at the Cornerstone Music Café – $25 or $55 (which will include a glass of wine and a charcuterie board made up of ingredients from local Alberta producers. )Buy tickets online at
  • November 25, 2023 – Blow out Bash at the Ironwood Stage and Grill – $30
    Call the Ironwood Stage and Grill at (403)269-5581 or email

24nov7:30 pmWinter Holiday Celebration - Part 1Intimate Concert at the Cornerstone Music Café

25nov8:00 pmWinter Holiday Celebration - Part 2Blow out Bash at the Ironwood Stage and Grill