Arts Resume                         See also:  Technical Resume

John Henry (Jack) Cole
111 Chestnut St.                        (519) 578-6298
Kitchener, Ontario
N2H 1T9

SUMMARY (originally prepared for the KW Arts Awards, 2001)

In 1995, as a lifelong lover of folk music, I decided to do something to extend KW's folk community and help spread the music.  The Old Chestnuts Song Circle - an informal gathering for group singing - has grown to include concerts, workshops, benefits, and  a newsletter which helps bind the folk community together.

A trip to The Woods Music and Dance Camp re-kindled a love of folk music and singing.  It introduced me to real, live folk musicians, and opened my ears to the brilliant concept of the "Song Circle".  Upon return from Camp, I knew that the music had to find a permanent place in my life, and in my community.

So began the Old Chestnuts Song Circle. Eventually the Old Chestnuts took root and grew into all that follows…

… as a Founder…  

… as a Presenter…

 … as a Performer…

… as a Writer…

… as a Supporter…

… as an Optimist…

Not all ventures prove successful, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth trying! Some enterprises  that did not take flight:

… Recognition…

For these various activities, I  was honoured to be nominated for a 2001 KW Arts Award, in the Open category.  In 2008 The Old Chestnuts Song Circle was nominated for the YMCA Strong Community Award. 

In 2010 "The Old Chestnuts Song Circle presents Folk Night at the Registry" received the Kitchener-Waterloo Arts Award in the "Festival or Event, Community Achievement" category.

Some Notes of Appreciation…  

 "You definitely had the show to end all shows in Kitchener; they've had some good ones since, but yours is the one they still marvel about."  - Val Hennell, Manager of Pied Pumkin.

"I know I speak for all of us when I say that your contribution to the Trilogy project was unsurpassed and our relationship was not only good in a business sense, but it strengthened friendships that will last forever.  Our visits to Kitchener and to Chestnut Street were always a bright spot on every tour: we always knew everything would be perfect when we got there.  Thank you for your professionalism, your hard work to build our audience in the area, your hospitality and your friendship.  We want to clone you."  - Cathy Miller (Trilogy)

"Jack Cole of Kitchener, Ontario, showed once again that he is a good person to have on your side.  Not only did he encourage me to do the book; he volunteered to pre-sell it so that I would have money to put towards production costs. A man of his word, he did exactly that and without him this book wouldn’t exist. Thank you Jack."  - Bill Gallaher, in the Foreword to The Bill Gallaher Songbook

"It's an absolute joy to watch your love and commitment cause you to contribute so much to your music community and everyone all around you.  Maybe you don't hear it from your community often enough, so on behalf of the music community I want you to know we (that's every single person whose life you touch) all love you very much....and you deserve extra large king-size cudos...!!!" - Mary Anne Epp, local folk singer, about the Canadian Living house concert article.

"I am SO glad you folks do what you do for the music community.  Tonight's concert would have been a wonderful experience no matter what, but knowing the rarity of these performances, and how hard you worked to make it happen made it even better." - Rosemary Stewart, Stratford Folk Guild

"In a few short years, Jack Cole has turned Kitchener-Waterloo from just a name on the map to a prime and valued destination for folk and acoustic performers.  The spirit and enthusiasm for roots music that Jack has engendered among the people of this community through song circles, house concerts and large events is an extraordinary achievement.   Because of Jack Cole and what he has accomplished as an arts organizer, with all of Canada to choose from, I made the decision to hold my official CD release concert in Kitchener last fall, and it was the highlight of my international touring year." - Eileen McGann, 2002 Juno Award Nominee

"Thanks kindly for letting me play during your awesome day.  What a great event for a great neighbourhood." - Matt Osborne, KW musician and Chequegnat performer.

"I have had the great pleasure of performing at a house concert in Kitchener-Waterloo organized by Jack Cole. I can say in all honesty that the concert that Jack produced was the most rewarding and enjoyable of any and all the house concerts we have performed at, before or since. I do not make that statement lightly.  There are many variables inherent in the format;  the performer, the host and the audience, any one of which, if left unattended could detract significantly from the success of the evening. I was astonished at Jack’s ability to organize every aspect of the event in such a manner as to leave all involved feeling they were in the most capable of hands.

The audience was limited to the perfect number for the space, they were personally welcomed and introduced to the format of the evening, and were made to feel integral to the evening’s proceedings. The same may be said for the performers. We wanted for nothing and were thrilled to find ourselves in front of a warm, friendly and informed audience. The audience singing that evening has yet to be surpassed in our experience. It was a thing of beauty, as was the whole evening.

I would say in closing that if recognition is coming to Jack for all his efforts in the promotion, in Kitchener-Waterloo,  of Canadian folk music, then it is long over due, but richly deserved. He has earned the respect, thanks and admiration of many in the folk community. More power to him." - David Francey, multiple Juno Award Winner

"Making music should not just be left up the those who have become professionals.  Making music is an essential form of personal expression that benefits the emotional and psychological well-being of everyone.  Jack Cole has encouraged many people to feel confident about making music.  He has invited people into his home, encouraged and supported many in this.  He has been tireless in his advocacy of grassroots music making, and of folk music in particular." - Brad McEwen, President, The Mill Race Folk Society