The musician performs at local bars around Montreal and teaches musical performance
By Meghan Kelly
A lifelong passion for the performing arts is what led Jason Howell to having what he calls his dream job.
Today, the 37-year-old embodies the cinematic persona of a teacher by day and local rock star by night.
The year 2015 marks Howell’s 12th year as being a theatre director and teacher at John Abbott College, where he graduated from the Theatre Workshop program in 1998.
Somewhere between courses, reviewing scripts, directing, and playing the music for musicals like Oklahoma and Little Shop of Horrors, Howell steps outside school walls and transforms from instructor to performer.
For over two decades, Howell has been performing in several venues around Montreal and Quebec as what he calls a pub musician. He is the lead singer and guitarist of his band, Jando, which formed in 2003 with his drummer-friend, Fernando Gelso. You can guess where the band’s name came from.
His band covers a wide variety of music; from The Beatles and Elvis to The Killers and Darius Rucker. “Our wheelhouse is the ‘90s, but we play anything from the ‘60s, ‘70s, 2000s… just not the ‘80s,” he said. The band, he said, is recognized for playing a lot of stuff that other groups don’t tend to play.
Howell and his band can often be found playing at pubs like McKibbins and Cunningham’s. He and his band can have shows lined up anywhere from two to four nights a week.
Howell’s love for music developed at the age of three. His first experience on stage was as a singer, performing with his family at a local retirement home. “I’ve always loved singing, singing is my instrument,” he said.
Howell never had an interest in pursuing a career fit for the big screen—or stage. “I never actively pursued a Hollywood career,” he said.
After CEGEP, Howell made the decision that he would dedicate his education towards being able to one day get the job where he could incorporate his love for both music and theatre. In 2002, he graduated from Concordia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre performance and Graduate Diploma in communications.
Not only does his work in the theatre allow for him to experience music through its productions, but it allows for him to find the time to shine a little light on himself and his music career. “It doesn’t work out for everybody, but I’m so fortunate that it did for me,” he said.
To learn more about Howell’s band, Jando, and find some upcoming gigs, check out their page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/JandoMusic