April 2002 * Volume 7, Number 6


v Merrick Jarrett Tribute - Jack Cole

I truly thought that the logistics of Trilogy concerts and Chequegnat stages had prepared me for this concert. So why am I biting my fingers to the elbow?

Eighteen performers plus presentations, in three and a half hours. One minute changeovers in between. One and a half hours to set up before the concert starts. 300 people.

Come, just to see if we can do it!!!

So here's my last pitch. You read about Merrick in January, the concert in February, the lineup in March. The cause is a very good one (Hopespring Cancer Support Centre). The performers include Sharon and Bram, John Allan Cameron, Cathy Miller, Tam Kearney, members of The Travellers, Beverlie Robertson.

This will be a concert for the memory banks - a lineup of musicians with centuries of experience between them, and roots reaching back to the heady days of the `60s. These people are the vintage wine of Canadian folk music, the living history that blossomed into the Lightfoots, Mitchells, Cohens, Youngs, McGanns and Franceys. The concert will also feature people who were nourished in this tradition.

Come prepared to sing and be enthralled. Information is in the Events section and elsewhere on this web site.

LATE BREAKING NEWS! Lois will be joining Sharon and Bram for this concert! Incredible!

v Ian Tamblyn - Cathy Fraser

Friday March 15th I had the privilege of enjoying a concert by and Rodney Brown, who are on tour with their songs of the northern circuit.

Concerts at Folkway Music are small and therefore intimate. It was like being in their living room, while they amused us with stories of times spent in northern bars playing music, and travels through the northern lands of Ontario and BC.

Their songs painted pictures of dark winter rivers, barren lands, rough skies, busy Montreal streets and country life. Ian played one instrumental song on the hammer dulcimer, but the rest were songs written from their experiences.

When I was leaving, a fellow concert goer said to me "this is what real folk music is about" and I heartily agreed. Listening to the music, I thought to myself that Canadian folk performers are like the glue that holds this country together. We learn what we are like everywhere as a people and how the land shapes our communities and our life experience. It boggles my mind that for such little pay and recognition, these musicians do such an important thing.

v Dancing a Pareee - dm wireservice

Dancers and folk fans! Get ready for...

A Weekend in Paris, 2002
Paris Plains Church and Schoolhouse
Saturday and Sunday, June 15 & 16

This Weekend in Paris, features two days of concerts, dancing and workshops. As those who were in attendance last time will attest, it's a lovely, romantic venue, and the church has both exceptional atmosphere and acoustics.

The headliner this year is Nicholas Williams (Irish flute, whistle, piano) with a wonderful band: Nathan Currie, Daniel Hach‚ and Greg Brown.

Included with admission is a full catered lunch on Sunday, and a campfire right on the site! Overnight group camping is a couple minutes down the road at Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area.

For more information visit : www.brant.net/charlesc/weekendinparis.html

v Last Month and This at OCSC - Jack Cole

The non-sentient lifeforms on the planet were well represented in March, with songs about bananas, oranges, watermelons, tomatoes, cotton, trees (& rocks), automobiles, pussywillows, cat- tails, grass, roses and Edelweisses (?) and many, many more. We numbered about 25, including 5 new singers.

The April Song Circle is the night before the Merrick and Friends concert, and, as expected, lots of Old Chestnuts and performers have indicated that they plan to come. We are already FULL. If you would like to join us please let me know and I will add your name to a waiting list, and we can hope for the best. I may hook up my wireless camera and broadcast to a JumboTron on the street!

Given the circumstances, a theme of Great Choruses is a natural. Bring `em on!

v Celtic College 2002 - Jack Cole

Only 4 months until Goderich's Celtic College brings 53 teachers (!) to spend 4 days introducing 200+ students to the joys of Celtic music and culture. I've written enough about CC that you should know how the week works. So let me just touch on the details. The full schedule is complete and should be available soon.

Ten of the staff teach Celtic Arts, and seven more teach cooking, dance, Gaelic, myth and storytelling. The rest teach music - including instrument repair, recording and acoustic sound.

The music staff this year: Hilary James / Frank Edgley / Sean Keane / Michale O Raghallaigh / Jean Hewson / Leon Taheny / Christina Smith / Ben Grossman / Frank Maher / Nathan Curry / Nancy Kerr / Joan McDermott / James Fagan / Tony McManus / Jean Mills / Archie Fisher / Loreto Reid / Simon Mayor / Brian Taheny / Paul Doyle / Janice Crewe / Clodagh Boylan / Joe Grady / Troy Bannon / Sharlene Wallace / Don Kavenagh / Pat O'Gorman / Ernie King & Joe Melady / Julie Schryer / Stephen Darke & T. Teed / Anne Lederman / Lynette Segal / Patrick Ourceau / Brian Pickell

I just want to highlight a couple of names in that list. Nancy, James and Sean were, to those of us who sing, the real "finds" of last year. With Hilary and Simon back, and the incomparable Archie Fisher teaching Scottish Songs, this should be the year that singing comes of age at Celtic College!

And I want to congratulate Jean Mills - Old Chestnut, and founder of the Grand River Dulcimer Club - for joining the staff, teaching beginner and intermediate mountain dulcimer. Yay!!

I have a copy of the "proposed" class schedule that I can share. I also have some lineup information for the Celtic Festival, which begins immediately after the College, on August 9. Let me know if you would like to see either.

v Chequegnat 2002 - Jack Cole

Last year Andy McPherson and I organized the first ever Chequegnat Festival. Loads of people pitched in, tents were raised, backyards cleared, crafts assembled, children's activities and games organized, the sound system went up, a bunch of fine musicians came, dozens of food items arrived, and we had quite a day. A song was even written about it.

The neighbours, bless their hearts, unanimously voted to do it again this year. So Chequegnat 2002 is scheduled for June 8. This time we have a half-dozen organizers and a few extra weeks to plan. If you would like to be a part of Chequegnat and Central Frederick (Kitchener) history - as a performer or other volunteer - please let me know! More in the May newsletter.

And if you aren't in the Kitchener area, I propose that you organize your own backyard event for June 8! All it takes is a few voices and a barbecue! Let's start a new Canadian springtime tradition!

v The Woods 2002 - Jack Cole

It's the twentieth Woods Music and Dance Camp, and it happens August 14-19, 2002. The Woods is the ultimate in community building around folk music and dancing, in a very idyllic setting. It's another stellar staff too. Look for more information at www.the-woods.ca .

Kirk Elliott. A master fiddler whose musical taste, skill & delight in playing & composing have been a boon to the dance community. Kirk also carries mandolin, banjo, accordion, flute, harp, bass, trombone and percussion instruments on his musical travels.

Matthew Shawn Fleming. Whether composing, performing or recording, Matthew's work as percussionist, vocalist and guitarist bubbles with joyous vitality. His talents as a teacher and facilitator win raves from arts lovers ranging from folkies to the National Ballet of Canada and York University.

Kate Murphy. An original Woods staff member and organizer. Along with her extensive career as a performer (recently with the Dawnbreakers and Murphy's Law) Kate teaches Ontario stepdance, clawhammer banjo and piano. She brings her love for old time music, a warm energy and great enthusiasm for The Woods.

Pat Humphries. An engaging singer-songwriter, and activist, Pat is committed to changing the world one song at a time. With her rich alto voice, stirring repertoire, and passionate stage presence, she just might do it! Her songs have already graced international conferences and been translated into languages around the globe.

Tess Le Blanc. A step dancer and bodhran player, known for her vibrant voice, dynamic singing and varied repertoire of traditional Acadian, Celtic and Quebecois music. Fluent in French, Gaelic, and English, a devoted student and teacher of this material, she has been enthusiastically received in Canada, the US and Brittany.

Geoff Somers. Work on guitar, fiddle and mandolin that is "technically polished, rhythmically sharp, and oozing creativity" characterize this veteran of 17 years in a bluegrass band and three with a symphony orchestra (not to mention touring with David Francey!)

Bob Walser. Bob will get you moving with his fun-filled dances. He also has an endless supply of songs rooted in tradition with or without accompaniment on banjo, guitar and squeezebox and has earned a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology. There's always something new up his musical sleeve so be prepared to be surprised.

Ken Whiteley. This founder of the Original Sloth Band was also on the original Woods staff. With a vast repertoire in many styles (blues, gospel, swing, folk), prodigious ability on over a dozen instruments, and highly acclaimed work as a producer, Ken is a Canadian treasure.

v The KW Arts Awards - Jack Cole

April 6 was a busy evening in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. The Mayor's dinner was on a Bingeman Park. Archie Fisher was playing his first ever KW gig at The Button Factory. Down at Ernie's in Cambridge, the usual "first Saturday" crowd was meeting in The Pit to sing traditional (and not-so-traditional) songs. And at the Walper Terrace Hotel, on the busy corner of King and Queen Streets, the KW artistic community was meeting to honour some of its own.

These awards have been happening for 14 years now, and past winners are a who's who of the arts in Waterloo region. Artists, performers, musicians, founders, corporate sponsors, and writers are nominated and juried in six categories.

The awards ceremony is called "A Moveable Feast", and it was a very fun evening. Several members of the Old Chestnuts were present in their formal finery (yes, I am living proof that a silk purse can in fact come from a sow's ear).

The Walper was set up in four areas. One was The Gallery, which exhibited the Visual Award nominees - paintings, sculptures and pottery. The other areas were performance venues with food buffets. The food was incredible - almost as good as a Song Circle break! The performances were mostly high school and other organizations of younger performers - dancers, bands, choruses, string quartets, actors as chickens watching a colleague roasting on a spit in a production of Shakespeare's "The Tragedy of Giblet, Prince of Henmark". World music was represented by Glen Soulis and Fernan Enriques in fiddle and panpipe duets.

So, what were we doing there? Well, our musical community was well represented, with several nominees having past and present connections to folk and roots music. This included Merrick Jarrett, about whom (by now) no more needs to be said!! And, in an astonishing demonstration of insight, the jurors selected Merrick as this year's winner in the Music category!


To say that Merrick was pleased is a bit of an understatement. He was nearly speechless! (Nearly.) Equally pleased were those who had nominated him, encouraged him to let his nomination stand, and come out to support him at the ceremony. Merrick, congratulations from your many friends, admirers and disciples in folk music.

After the picture taking, the dessert buffet, and a few final bids in the Silent Auction the tired but happy Song Circlers wound their way back to Chestnut Street. Merrick found his voice again and made a mini-acceptance speech consisting of 3 songs, complaining loudly when we put fingerprints on his busty gold statuette. A lovely finish to an enjoyable evening.

v Some Events in The Area (as space permits!)

Apr 11 Grand River Dulcimer Club, Folkway Music, Guelph.
Apr 19 Merrick Jarrett and Friends on CKWR 98.7 FM, 6:30 PM.
Apr 19 Black Walnut Folk Club, Mill-Courtland Centre. $3. Open mic. With host Paul Schultz. (Third Friday of each month)
Apr 20 Mill Race Concert, County Vaudeville at the Galt Room, 13 Main Street Grill. May 18: Aengus Finnan.
Apr 21 Mill Race Trad Sessions, Cambridge, Golden Kiwi, 4:30. Also May 5 & 19.
Apr 27 Old Chestnuts Song Circle. Already FULL! Please call ahead at 578-6298! 111 Chestnut St. 8 PM
Apr 28 Merrick Jarrett & Friends. 2 PM. $15/$10/$5 at Wordsworth Books or 12th Night Music or from 578-6298.
May 11 Hilltop Live, 8 PM, Father's House Cafe, King St. Waterloo. Open stage, no charge.
May 11 Mill Race Benefit, UK Club, Cambridge. Johnny Collins. 8 PM.
Jun 6 Songwriter's Circle, Centre in the Square. Aengus Finnan, Garnet Rogers, Stephen Fearing. $25

v About this newsletter..... It's emailed if I have your address. It's on the Web at http://www.mgl.ca/~jhcole and available at OCSC and BWFC get togethers. Also available by regular mail, but for that I request a few stamped envelopes or a contribution to postage. Call 578-6298 or write jhcole@mgl.ca for more information. If you are getting this by mail and have eMail, please let me know! Less than 3 weeks until the Big Event! We need a time warp during the concert!! Wait a minute - the concert will practically BE a time warp! Thanks for the guest columns folks! Keep writing! Way to go Merrick! Watch the Junos on April 14!!

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