May 2004 * Volume 9, Number 6

* Next Old Chestnuts Song Circle May 22 * Chequegnat June 5

v Last Month and Next - Jack Cole

It was one of the best circles ever, proving once again that I couldn't predict ants at a picnic. We were missing some regulars, but there was an abundance of new singers (6 or 7) which included some fine voices and excellent song selection and writing. Also, the gentle spring weather - despite those April showers - brought back some of our more distant members, missing over the winter. With Louise, Anna, Deb, and Linda back we sounded like a Heavenly Choir again! Not to mention the dozen or so guitars and mandolin. A great night.

May's Circle is traditionally our last of the season as everything winds down for the summer of festivals. We're considering a June Circle this year but probably won't decide until after May 22, when we meet next. So I hope lots of you can come out on the Victoria Day weekend to officially close our ninth year of making music. Maybe we should start with "God Save the Queen?" Maybe not. Anybody know any songs about the 24th of May??? I mean, other than the obvious one...

June 5th is the Chequegnat Festival, our fourth annual "thank you" to the neighbourhood (weather permitting). Please come out to our back yard to listen to members of the Song Circle followed by an amazing lineup of local musicians. We'll kick things off at 2 with a salute to Rick Fielding, and two "song circle" format workshops. Please come from 2 to 4 especially, to support the song circle members!

After that we have folks like Ken Brown, Allison Lupton, Mary Anne Epp, Shannon Lyon and Paul MacLeod, to name just a few. The music will go until 8:30 or 9:00, with a barbeque at about 5:30. Please bring salads or desserts - hot dogs, sausages and/or burgers will be provided. Donations are welcome to help with expenses, and excess will be donated to the Matt Osborne Musician's Trust Fund. I expect there will be more than one tribute to Matt along the way. And volunteers to help out are always welcome.

Chequegnat is all about community. Our little festival is, in Paul MacLeod's words, "one of the coolest gigs KW has ever had to offer". Come see for yourself. But if you can't, then sit out on your porch and sing some songs for the neighbours, the birds, the ants and the plants. Even better - host your own backyard festival and encourage others to do the same.

v Mill Race Festival 2004 - Jack Cole

For most of us in Waterloo Region the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Music is one of the hilights of the summer. This year there will be even more to celebrate, as Brad McEwen has expanded the festival (which he founded) to a third day.

The plan, as I understand it, is to feature workshops on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and main stage performances all three evenings. Minor changes to the location of stages are anticipated as well. It all works out to more music and more choices.

Here is the lineup of entertainers for the 2004 Mill Race Festival, taking place July 30, 31 and August 1.

  • The Beirdo Brothers
  • The Blair Scottish Country Dancers
  • Brian Peters
  • Cold Barn Morris
  • Crumbly the Clown
  • DJ Carroll
  • Enoch Kent
  • The Fearon-Butler-O'Connor Irish Dancers
  • Flapjack
  • Forest City Morris
  • Jake
  • Jeremy Moyer Ensemble
  • Los Soles
  • Lyle Friesen & Tom Nunn
  • Magical Molly
  • Martin Gould & Debbie Quigley
  • Orange Peel Morris
  • Paddy Tutty
  • Rukanas
  • Stuart Fraser
  • Swamperella
  • Sweetwater
  • Tanglefoot
  • The Toronto Morris Men
  • Turkey Rhubarb

v Trevor Mills at Muses - Jack Cole

Saturday, May 15 was the date of Muses Cafe's first full evening concert. Muses is a cozy downtown vegetarian eating establishment that Mary Anne Epp has camped out in on Fridays and Saturdays for this past year. She has engineered a creative blend of open stages, songwriter's circles, mini-concerts and jams which have opened up opportunities for local songwriters and musicians.

The cafe only holds about 25, so our party of four was lucky to get a table right in front of the stage area. We ordered lattes (including the amazing, specially prepared house chai), cakes and cookies and settled in. Things got going a bit late, but the time went quickly as we sampled the fare and chatted.

I first saw Trevor Mills with Aengus Finnan and David Rogers in a concert in St. Jacobs. At the time I felt I was witnessing a significant part of the next generation of singer-songwriters, Trevor and David coming from pretty famous musical families. Since then, Trevor has developed into a force in folk music. He has released an album, played everywhere under the sun, become a regular host at Hugh's Room in Toronto, and started the New Foundation, a collective for songwriters that now numbers in the hundreds. And, to top it off, he studied computer science from our own Ric Hehner. The man clearly has the right stuff.

To leave no doubt, Trevor gave us a great show, albeit too short! He mixed some old standards ("The Folksinger", to the tune of "The Boxer", learned from Cathy Miller who left it on his answering machine), to terrific original songs, to covers of some unbearably good songs from his collection of songwriters (stored in bottles at his home, he claims), to recitations in the fashion of Robert Service. With a relaxed, intimate style, hot playing and a very nice vocal delivery, Trevor made a bunch of new fans.

The evening was opened by Mary Anne and her ensemble of "Precious Girls", who presented a very nice set of pretty harmonies and great songs. In fact, between their set and Trevor's we got our fill of songs to sing (clap, jingle, shake, chant) along with. It was just about a perfect Song Circle field trip.

Congratulations to Mary Anne and the folks at Muses for a great start to their evening concert series. At $5 this was the bargain of the year.

Closing Notes - jc

# Northern Music Camp. Exciting news - there is a new music and dance camp starting this August which sounds fantastic, both in location and content. AlgomaTrad is a camp for families and individuals of all ages and all levels of experience, to be held at the Algoma Music Camp, a beautiful site on St. Joseph Island, 50 kilometres east of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. As well as workshops there will be concerts and dances in the evenings.

Camp will be held August 22nd to 28th. The staff for this first year is made up of members of the Brian Pickell Band and Tramp Steamer: Mark Sullivan, James Stephens, Brian Pickell, Charlie Cares, Julie Schryer and Pat O Gorman. The dance caller is Dan Gorno from Michigan. Local native artist Anny Hubbard is the Arts & Crafts instructor and storyteller, and Judy Greenhill is children's event coordinator for children ages 4 to 8 Find out more at Algoma Traditional Music and Dance Family Camp.

# Matt Osborne. Plans are underway for a memorial concert for Matt. This is still very premliminary and subject to change, but the concert is currently scheduled for Sunday, June 6. Proceeds from this concert will help with the Matt Osborne Musician's Trust Fund, the purpose of which is to encourage and help local and travelling musicians continue with their art. Watch this site for updates as I learn more.

# The Grand Gathering. Our display table and panel discussion at The Grand Gathering was very well received. The discussion was fun, as Jean, Brad, and I entertained with an assortment of tunes and songs, and talked (along with Robert Reid of The Record) about the future of folk music. Some good points, and maybe some opportunities for us to help spread the word. Certainly there was lots of interest in the strange instruments that Jean and I were playing (dulcimers). And some of the best debate happened before the official start, when the three of us tried to define folk music for each other! Thanks to everyone that came and attended the booth.

About this newsletter..... Itís emailed. Itís on the Web at and available at Circles. Call 578- 6298 or write for more information. The weather deities dumped on the Dandelion Festival, but I'm confident that they'll smile on Chequegat. And, thanks to Susan, we'll have a bunch of dandelion sausages there to tempt you. And they are FANTASTIC! Have a great Victoria Day everyone! - jc

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