Junos and jazz hands

How local jazz chanteuse Sophie Milman met the man of her dreams


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Sophie Milman, celebrated jazz vocalist and Juno award winner, met lawyer Casey Chisick (now her husband) at a concert — her own, in fact.

Sophie tells their story:

How they met

We met at one of my earliest shows. The piano player I was working with at the time — Ron Davis — was a mutual friend, and he brought Casey to the club where I was playing.

However, I had no idea it was a setup! All I saw was a guy in a suit (he came straight from work), who looked quite established and set in life. I was just coming into my own — singing, going to school, not interested in dating anyone seriously. Nevertheless, he called a little while later, and I found him to be charming,attentive and interesting.

I was intrigued.

The first date

Our first official date was three years ago. Because we had been friends for so long, it wasn’t typical.

What happened?

Casey had made a reservation for us at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. When I got into his car, he had Stevie Wonder playing on the stereo, and I was immediately impressed. (Stevie’s my favourite). And Casey was playing tunes I had never even heard of. There was an immediate connection.

The courtship

We arrived at the restaurant to discover that some of Casey’s intoxicated clients were also there. A  c o m e d y  o f  e r r o r s  a n d embarrassment ensued, with some of the crowd really getting in the way of our hang. I was OK with it all because (a) it was amusing and (b) I was still convinced that any relationship with Casey was bound to be too serious for me.

But he was mortified. He later admitted to me that he was afraid that I would never agree to see him again. It’s funny how life works out.

The courtship

From the start, we were connected through music: Motown, Broadway and of course jazz. And Casey isn’t just a mere passive fan — he is a fantastic musician and arranger.

The chemistry between us was undeniable, but I was still hesitant. In January, Casey decided to put an end to our limbo status. The grand gesture: he sent me 12-dozen roses! My family and I were on our way out the door to see the Toronto symphony when the flowers arrived.

We only had two skinny vases at home, so we were scrambling to find vessels to house 144 roses.… It was quite funny and, of course, romantic.

The proposal

Casey totally surprised me! He proposed at the end of 2008, two days after I finished recording my third album, Take Love Easy. We were out for a nice dinner to celebrate the completion of the record and had plans to see friends afterwards. On the way, Casey said that he had to drop by the house for a few minutes, claiming that he had forgotten something.

I walked into the house and it was transformed!

There were red roses everywhere (in fact there were 12 dozen, a throwback to when we first started dating) and countless tea lights.

The entire main floor was just shimmering. I didn’t clue in — thinking that this was still part of the record completion party.

When he got down on one knee and pulled out the ring,I was flabbergasted.We had taken dozens of trips together, where he could have popped the question, but he chose the right setting for me: in Toronto, at home, where we could celebrate with my family.… It all felt so surreal and wonderful.

The wedding

The wedding was a reasonable size: there were about 150 people. Some of my family from Russia and Israel also flew out, which was amazing.

Music was the most important part of the whole thing: we walked down the isle to Stevie Wonder songs (played by my long-time collaborators and friends Paul Shrofel, Kieran Overs and Guido Basso), and the official band was Soul Stew, who had our guests dancing till 2 a.m.! We couldn’t have hoped for a better, groovier, funkier band.

Casey also serenaded me at the end of his speech, singing “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).” I was surprised and blown away! The rabbi who married us is one of our closest friends, which lent the ceremony even more significance.

The whole experience was elegant, warm and fantastic.

 

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