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SLAS receives Canada Arts Funding

 

MP Guy Lauzon was on hand at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on Saturday, June 6, to present the board of directors with $25,000 in funding over two years from the Canada Arts Presentation Fund. 

“The Government of Canada is pleased to support the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage Performances,” Lauzon said, in making the presentation. “Congratulations to the Stage’s organizers and volunteers, who developed this event from a showcase for local artists to an eight-show season that highlights both emerging and professional artists.” 

Sandra Whitworth of the SLAS accepted the cheque on behalf of the board. “The funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage plays a critical part in ensuring that we have the capacity to present high-calibre musicians as part of our annual music and workshop series. We are enormously grateful for the support.”

The St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage, run completely by volunteers, provides a showcase for touring professional musicians and for up and coming emerging artists. The Stage gives audiences, who might otherwise have to travel to large urban centres, the chance to enjoy live, original music right here in South Dundas. The Stage has also arranged workshops with several of these visiting professional artists for  amateur area musicians. 

In recent months, the SLAS has also established a program which brings performers into local schools, introducing a wide range of participatory music to children and their teachers. Educational  musical outreach is an area that the Stage is hoping to develop fully in the future.

Saturday, June 6, was a memorable occasion for the SLAS in other ways as well.

Madison Violet, Lisa MacIsaac and Brenley MacEachern, with Jakub Zapotonczny, performed before a sold out house, the third sold out concert in the Stage’s 2014-15 concert series. 

This was also the final concert which will  be held at the Operating Engineers, the Morrisburg Meeting Centre, the Stage’s venue since it first launched several years ago. In September, as the 2015-16 concert series kicks off, the SLAS will transfer to the Upper Canada Playhouse venue. 

The St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage board will formally announce the musical artists’ line up and performance dates later in the summer.  

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100 Women Who Care About South Dundas donate $20,000

 

One hundred and fifty seven women who care about South Dundas came together last Thursday night, May 7, at the Upper Canada Playhouse and together those women made a difference for hundreds of people, young and old, living here in South Dundas .

Together the 157 women voted to donate $20,000 to three organizations who work in South Dundas for youth, the terminally ill, and the elderly.

Receiving top vote in the 100 Women Who Care About South Dundas first-time initiative, and a $10,000 donation, was the Dundas County Hospice, headquartered in Williamsburg. The second place donation of $6,000 went to the J.W. McIntosh Senior Support Centre in Williamsburg and third place and $4,000 was donated to the South Dundas Splash Pad project at the Children’s Park in Morrisburg.

Organizers of 100 Women Who Care About South Dundas, Janeen Wagemans and Tracey and Christyn Veinotte were overwhelmed with the support from the women of South Dundas. When they launched 100 Women Who Care this past January, they were just hoping to get the needed 100. 

Within one month they had their 100 women. “Today we hit 156, which is pretty amazing for such a small community” said Wagemans, Thursday night.  “All of you, for goodness sakes, let’s give ourselves a round of applause. What a wonderful place to live. We are so fortunate.”

The 156 women brought the Women Who Care donation total to $15,700 with each woman donating $100.

That amount climbed to $20,000 with a matching donation of up to $5,000 from Scotiabank, Morrisburg’s Community Matching Fund Program and forced the organizers to rethink their money disbursement

In the end the three-donation decision was made and guidelines were established for the future. As a result, Hospice will not be eligible to win again for three years, the J.W. McIntosh can not be nominated for two years and the Children’s Playground will not be eligible next year.

From the women themselves, 10 organizations were nominated for consideration and all were in attendance to market their proposal before the voting. 

They included St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage, South Dundas Youth Centre, The Dundas County Food Bank, MacIntosh Seniors Support Centre, WDMH Foundation, Optimists Club, Dundas County Community Living, Dundas County Hospice, The Carman House Museum and The Splash Pad.

Each of the women in attendance then voted, and the Scotiabank representatives went to work to tally the votes. Due to a tie, it ended up with four groups moving to the final vote including the three winners and the Dundas County Food Bank.

A second vote resulted in the winners being named.

In addition to the support of Scotiabank, 100 Women Who Care received the generous support of Donnie Bowes at Upper Canada Playhouse who provided the venue and Royal LePage Performance Realty who sponsored the reception.

Wagemans wrapped it up by announcing that 100 Women Who Care About South Dundas will return next year. Those wishing to be part of this wonderful initiative are asked to re-join on the website www.womenwhocaresouthdundas.com

Anyone who did not get in for this year’s 100 Women Who Care are encouraged to come aboard for next year…everyone is welcome and together the women of South Dundas can make a difference.

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Entertainment

And the 100 Women’s winners are

 

When the 156 women who were part of 100 Women Who Care About South Dundas came together last Thursday night, May 7 at the Upper Canada Playhouse, they came together to select three of a proposed 10 local charities/organizations to receive their donations of $100 per woman or $15,600.

They were also delighted to learn that they had been joined by the Scotiabank, Morrisburg’s Community Matching Fund program which brought their donation to $20,000.

Receiving the top vote in the 100 Women Who Care About South Dundas first-time initiative, and a $10,000 donation, was the Dundas County Hospice, headquartered in Williamsburg. Hospice serves residents of Dundas County who have been diagnosed with terminal illness. It provides the terminally ill and their families various in-home services and programs designed to help them remain at home as long as possible. 

Recently, Hospice, which operates out of the J.W. MacIntosh Support Centre, purchased a home in Williamsburg. In addition to providing space for its head office, the home will be a welcoming space for the Hospice day program which provides clients time away from homes and their caregivers.

The second place donation of $6,000 went to the J.W. MacIntosh Senior Support Centre in Williamsburg, and third place and $4,000 was donated to the South Dundas Splash Pad project at the Children’s Park in Morrisburg.

Each of the 10 organizations nominated were in attendance to market their proposal before the voting. 

They included St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage, South Dundas Youth Centre, The Dundas County Food Bank, MacIntosh Seniors Support Centre, WDMH Foundation, Optimists Club, Dundas County Community Living, Dundas County Hospice, The Carman House Museum and The Splash Pad.

After the women completed their first round vote the top three (this year four because there was a tie) organizations were given the opportunity to speak on their organization’s project.

In making his presentation to the assembled women, Hospice Board Chair, Bob Pitruniak,  said “I think the 100 Women idea is terrific and regardless of who you choose, all the people of South Dundas are going to benefit.”

In addition to explaining the work of Dundas County Hospice, he told the group of the recent purchase of the home in Williamsburg.  “We need a new furnace, we need central air, we need a new water heater and we need kitchen appliances. That is our project.”

MacIntosh Senior Support Centre, executive director Janet Levere explained the Centre has been supporting seniors in the community for over 24 years. She said the Centre’s project will be to provide financial help to local seniors. “Perhaps to help them pay for their Meals on Wheels or to help them with their heat bill. Whatever is needed to allow them to stay in their homes.” 

Levere said the Centre planned to form a committee that would review the client needs and disburse the money up to $500 per eligible senior in need. 

“We feel honoured to be here tonight, and we will use the funds to directly impact the lives of our clients,” she said.

Rosemary Laurin spoke on behalf of the Splash Pad Committee. 

“I think this is a great way to get people talking and thinking of things in our community,” said Laurin on behalf of the Splash Pad Committee. Laurin reported the South Dundas community has now raised $173,000 of the $200,000 and if they were to win, the donation would help them to reach their goal.

Dundas County Food Bank secretary Celeste Guse, said the “municipality [South Dundas] has been giving us the facility since the beginning.” She spoke of the upcoming move to the Morrisburg arena and the municipality’s continued generosity in bringing the new location up to code at their expense and fronting an interest free loan of $56,000. 

“The one thing we are asking 100 Women to help with is the cost of a loading door and separate entrance for the volunteers. The doors cost $12,500, and we are asking you to help us fund them. We are hoping we can put a plaque on the door that says ‘100 women of South Dundas provided this door’.”

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Entertainment

And the 100 Women’s winners are

 

When the 156 women who were part of 100 Women Who Care About South Dundas came together last Thursday night, May 7 at the Upper Canada Playhouse, they came together to select three of a proposed 10 local charities/organizations to receive their donations of $100 per woman or $15,600.

They were also delighted to learn that they had been joined by the Scotiabank, Morrisburg’s Community Matching Fund program which brought their donation to $20,000.

Receiving the top vote in the 100 Women Who Care About South Dundas first-time initiative, and a $10,000 donation, was the Dundas County Hospice, headquartered in Williamsburg. Hospice serves residents of Dundas County who have been diagnosed with terminal illness. It provides the terminally ill and their families various in-home services and programs designed to help them remain at home as long as possible. 

Recently, Hospice, which operates out of the J.W. MacIntosh Support Centre, purchased a home in Williamsburg. In addition to providing space for its head office, the home will be a welcoming space for the Hospice day program which provides clients time away from homes and their caregivers.

The second place donation of $6,000 went to the J.W. MacIntosh Senior Support Centre in Williamsburg, and third place and $4,000 was donated to the South Dundas Splash Pad project at the Children’s Park in Morrisburg.

Each of the 10 organizations nominated were in attendance to market their proposal before the voting. 

They included St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage, South Dundas Youth Centre, The Dundas County Food Bank, MacIntosh Seniors Support Centre, WDMH Foundation, Optimists Club, Dundas County Community Living, Dundas County Hospice, The Carman House Museum and The Splash Pad.

After the women completed their first round vote the top three (this year four because there was a tie) organizations were given the opportunity to speak on their organization’s project.

In making his presentation to the assembled women, Hospice Board Chair, Bob Pitruniak,  said “I think the 100 Women idea is terrific and regardless of who you choose, all the people of South Dundas are going to benefit.”

In addition to explaining the work of Dundas County Hospice, he told the group of the recent purchase of the home in Williamsburg.  “We need a new furnace, we need central air, we need a new water heater and we need kitchen appliances. That is our project.”

MacIntosh Senior Support Centre, executive director Janet Levere explained the Centre has been supporting seniors in the community for over 24 years. She said the Centre’s project will be to provide financial help to local seniors. “Perhaps to help them pay for their Meals on Wheels or to help them with their heat bill. Whatever is needed to allow them to stay in their homes.” 

Levere said the Centre planned to form a committee that would review the client needs and disburse the money up to $500 per eligible senior in need. 

“We feel honoured to be here tonight, and we will use the funds to directly impact the lives of our clients,” she said.

Rosemary Laurin spoke on behalf of the Splash Pad Committee. 

“I think this is a great way to get people talking and thinking of things in our community,” said Laurin on behalf of the Splash Pad Committee. Laurin reported the South Dundas community has now raised $173,000 of the $200,000 and if they were to win, the donation would help them to reach their goal.

Dundas County Food Bank secretary Celeste Guse, said the “municipality [South Dundas] has been giving us the facility since the beginning.” She spoke of the upcoming move to the Morrisburg arena and the municipality’s continued generosity in bringing the new location up to code at their expense and fronting an interest free loan of $56,000. 

“The one thing we are asking 100 Women to help with is the cost of a loading door and separate entrance for the volunteers. The doors cost $12,500, and we are asking you to help us fund them. We are hoping we can put a plaque on the door that says ‘100 women of South Dundas provided this door’.”

[…]

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News

Chic Gamine brings harmony to life at SLAS concert

 

 “Chic Gamine began in an unconventional way,” said Alexa Dirks, a member of this extraordinary musical group, whose concert is set for the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on Saturday, April 11, at 7 p.m. “And we have become more than just an a cappella group. In the musical world it is still perhaps unusual to have a woman-fronted band, but one of our goals has been to show the power of the female voice. We are not a ‘traditional girl band,’” Alexa added, with a laugh. “We’re not throw backs as some might think, but really, something very unique.”

And if by unique, she means providing audiences with an exciting, witty, toe-tapping, jaw-dropping, totally stunning musical experience, then, yes, this Juno award-winning band is truly ‘very unique.’

The current members of Chic Gamine, which was founded in St. Boniface, Manitoba, in 2007 (Ariane Jean left the group in 2014) are Alexa Dirks, Andrina Turenne and Annick Bremault with Benoit Morier on guitar and Sacha Daoud on drums. “Originally the founding members of the band sang a cappella together for years as part of a larger group. The three who remained together, brought in Sacha on the drums. I joined them later. I was a teen just cutting my teeth in clubs when the band heard me, and invited me to join them. I’ve never looked back,”Alexa said.

Chic Gamine  (“to us the name means fresh and new, but also very playful”) is not tied to one genre. Soul, rock, Motown, folk, even, as one critic put it, “a bit funk”, this band finds inspiration in all kinds of music. “We love the timeless artists, Nina Simone, Etta James, but we listen to everything from world music to hip hop to country. We absorb these genres, and then we put our own unique twist on our own music.”

To fans and critics alike, one word establishes the keystone of Chic Gamine’s appeal: harmony.

“We remain very based on harmony and vocals,” Alexa Dirks explained. “We are in a new phase of our band, undergoing a kind of metamorphosis. We have brought in instrumentation and we are moving toward experimenting with new sounds, and developing old ones.” The band produced the exciting City City in 2011, and, in 2013, the two record Closer garnered new fans in the US. They performed at the Vancouver Olympics, appeared twice on A Prairie Home Companion, and opened for Smokey Robinson and Mavis Staples. Yet Chic Gamine has proved equally at home singing the lilting “I Love Pie” with ‘Mama’, which delighted some very young CBC fans. 

“Most of our work is original, and writing for us is very much a collaborative effort,” said Alexa. “Our themes tend to be related to our immediate lives: we bring our experiences, even our heart breaks, to our music, focussing on an idea and expanding it. We have a new album, as yet untitled, coming out in the fall, and the sky’s the limit in terms of touring and performing. Chic Gamine is a mixture of anglophones and francophones: we have our musical feet in both doors.”

The music of Chic Gamine is infectious, bursting with energy, and, naturally, very unique.

Also unique is the music of the artist who is opening for Chic Gamine, Tracy Lalonde. Now a seasoned performer, Lalonde was part of an earlier Stage emerging artists showcase a few years ago. An accomplished guitarist who originally was a solo performer, she is now part of a trio with Dylan Groulx and Pamela Cumming. Noted Cornwall musician Graham Greer helped Tracy release her first EP, Little Letters, and has been one of her musical mentors. 

Music is clearly a passion for this young artist. “I’ve always had a tendency to do my own thing – not paying attention to what others are doing, and this is as much a curse as a blessing. While I stubbornly go after a feeling I want in my music, sometimes it is good to hear and compare what others are up to. My sound is, I would say, along the lines of alt-pop/folk. It’s not straight-ahead pop by a long shot, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s what you’d imagine straight ahead folk to sound like either. It’s nestled comfortably between the two.”

What her music definitely is, is personal and deeply felt. “When song ideas come to me, generally the music presents itself first. Sometimes I (can) have a full song from start to finish with complete instrumentation floating in my head before I ever write down a word. In the past I’ve used literature for a source of inspiration, but I have a feeling my new music will draw more from personal experience. There is a feeling I chase through the songs.” Audiences can look forward to a memorable opening act when this young singer steps out on the stage.

The Chic Gamine concert on April 11 represents a wonderful musical coup for the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage: don’t miss the chance to hear these outstanding performers live, right here in South Dundas. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door. Contact the Stage at www.st-lawrencestage.com for information.

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Entertainment

St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage moving to UCP in the fall

 

The St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage has received word that the OETIO/Morrisburg Meeting Centre is no longer able to rent their facilities to them as of the end of June, 2015.

Member of the board, Sandra Whitworth said, “As our audience, musicians and supporters know, the stage at the OETIO facility has beautiful acoustics and is uniquely suited to musical performances. We have been proud to be able to make use of it since 2007 to bring so many amazing musicians and performers to this community.

But, as the saying goes, when one door closes another one opens.” 

Whitworth went on to say that when the Upper Canada Playhouse learned that the Stage was faced with the loss of its home in Morrisburg, UCP stepped up. Artistic director Donnie Bowes and the Upper Canada Playhouse board have found dates in their already very busy schedule next year so that the Stage can remain in this community and continue to present live original music in Morrisburg. 

The 2015-2016 St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage lineup will be  housed at Morrisburg’s fabulous Upper Canada Playhouse. 

This comfortable 275 seat theatre has many of the same intimate features Stage audiences expect, in a setting designed to be inviting to audience members and performers alike.

The St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage will announce next year’s lineup as dates and performers are confirmed. For now, the Stage is delighted to have found a new and welcoming home that keeps them in South Dundas. 

“Our thanks to everyone at the Upper Canada Playhouse who helped make this happen,” said Board member, Sandra Whitworth.

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The Blues Take Centre Stage at Harry Manx concert

 

What is it about a blues man?

He seems to have a laid back, comfortable, almost folksy way of talking: yet one soon senses the passion, the wealth of life experiences and the powerful sense of humour hovering just beneath this easy-going surface. 

And when a blues man actually picks up his guitar, strums that first chord, and starts to sing, well, like another guitarist once told me, “The blues, the blues is life.”

One of Canada’s greatest blues men is coming to the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on Saturday, March 7, at 7 p.m. Harry Manx, known to many as the “Mysticssippi” blues man, the artist who has built a bridge linking the music of East and West, is performing an intimate concert right here in Morrisburg. And fans are clearly overjoyed. Currently, Manx’s concert is sold out, although there is a waiting list.

Harry Manx has dozens of awards and award nominations to his name. He’s a prolific blues artist whose 14th album in 14 years, 20 Strings and Truth, was just released on February 10, 2015. 

Manx’s blues style is absolutely unique. He started in the blues clubs of Toronto, playing the slide guitar.  Eventually, he studied a number of years with Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, the Indian master who invented the 20 stringed Mohan Veena, now the signature instrument of Harry Manx. Manx’s blending of two disparate approaches to music has resulted in an unrivalled sound, one that deeply appeals to Manx’s legions of fans, and to critics alike.

“What comes out of us musically is what we put into it,” Manx said. “I like many forms of music, but the two styles that make up my true passion are blues and West Indian. Perhaps I might be forcing that relationship,” he laughed, “but I look for the common ground between the two, and I bring them together when I write. The combination of the two seems to really intrigue people. Exotic sound, I suppose you could say.” 

Although he was born on the Isle of Man, Manx immigrated to Canada when he was a child. Music took hold of him early on. “It was a kind of intuitive pull,” he said. “I knew even as a child that music was drawing me in. When you pursue music, I believe the whole world opens up to you, and takes you to a lot of places. Of course, I love to travel.” Then he paused and added with a laugh, “Almost as much as I love music. Maybe I took up music just for the opportunity to travel.”

Manx is often described as a definitive Canadian artist. “Like most kids, I grew up with exposure to Canadian music. Gordon Lightfoot was, and still is, a big hero to me. I would say that a kind of Canadian veneer has crept into my music. I find it in my attraction to certain rhythmic styles and notes: that is the Canadiana effect.”

“It’s an interesting thing. You can always hear the musician in the music. When he performs, an artist always tells you something about his nature. His music becomes an insightful tour into the soul of that artist. All his experiences, everything that makes him unique, it’s all revealed the moment he picks up his guitar.”

An intense connection with his listeners lies at the heart of Harry Manx’s music.

“I have a goal to inspire people with my words. I write music in the language of the heart. Emotions and life situations interest me. And I always write of things that actually have had an impact on me: I’m not a fiction writer.”

His twelve years living in India, learning to meditate, studying Eastern music, have coloured his compositions. “When I write, I have to keep my music and words separate. I write poetry, then find the music and marry the two, like two hearts beating as one. You might say I take the maple syrup of words, distill it and find the essence of my song. Performing music is what I fit at, and what feels right. That keeps the passion alive for me. And over the years, touring has helped me get better at my art, I believe. I feel good about how I’m playing now.” He did share one anecdote about those long months on tour, separated from his wife and child.

“I once received this email from my wife saying ‘Don’t forget to miss me.’” He paused. “Never have decided whether that was affection or a threat,” he laughed. “But it did lead me to a song I called Don’t Forget to Miss Me that has become very popular.”

Fans are going to be very glad not to “miss” the Morrisburg concert by the incomparable Harry Manx.

The board of the directors of the SLAS has received some big news. Scotiabank Morrisburg, is partnering with the Stage at the Manx concert March 7, to help with a fund raising event for the Stage. “Bank staff will be present at the show collecting donations for us both before the show and during intermission. Everything collected from the audience members will be matched by the branch,” said board member, Sandra Whitworth. “We’re very excited about this opportunity and very grateful to Scotiabank Morrisburg for offering to support our not-for-profit music series this way.”

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St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage names new board members

 

“We have welcomed two new members on to our board,” said Sandra Whitworth of the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage, “and we are delighted that Anna and Eric have joined us.” Eric Pietersma and Anna Boisvenue have joined the three current SLAS board members, as the outstanding 2015 season at the Stage continues. “Anna has a background in accounting and Eric has legal expertise and so they expand the skill set on the board in a range of important areas. We started a planning process a year-and-a-half ago to try to begin to move from  an operational board to a more properly governance board,” Whitworth said. With artists like the Young Novelists, Harry Manx, Chick Gamine and Madison Violet coming to the Stage this winter and spring, the volunteer members of the board are hard-working and clearly dedicated to bringing great music to South Dundas. Some of the musicians who perform at the Stage have also led workshops with elementary children at the Akwasasne Mohawk School. One of the SLAS board’s long term goals is to make such outstanding workshops in many types of music available to other students in the South Dundas area. Pictured, l-r, are board members Eric Pietersma, Derek Hunter, Sandra Whitworth, Tony McCadden and Anna Boisvenue. 

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Adrian Legg in Concert at St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage

 

All a person has to do is just mention the name of guitarist Adrian Legg. 

Immediately music lovers explode into rapturous descriptions of his multi genre style, his extraordinary and original compositions, his legendary showmanship, his infectious joie de vivre. In short, they love this transplanted Englishman and artist, who will be lighting up the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage in concert on Saturday, November 15, at 7 p.m.

“I have been fortunate enough to have seen Adrian Legg in concert twice – and would gladly see him nightly…” said Eric Thom (a former Morrisburg resident who writes music reviews for Maverick, Sing Out, Roots Music Canada among others). “(Legg’s) standalone style combines with elements of classical, jazz, folk, rock and even country, to create something altogether other-worldly and completely captivating.” 

Adrian Legg has built an international reputation based on his completely unique finger style approach to the guitar. Recipient of numerous musical awards, and consistently on top of musical polls, Legg performs on a custom guitar that is a hybrid of electronic and acoustic. I asked him about “inventing” his instrument.

“The guitar wouldn’t do what I wanted,” he said, “so I changed it. For me, the American guitar goes from Elizabeth Cotten to Lonnie Mack, taking in banjo and steel guitar. While others devotedly tend individual trees, I just love the whole wood. I need an instrument that can come close to reflecting that.” 

A teacher and mentor to other artists, Legg has just released his 12th album, Dead Bankers, to great acclaim. I asked him where the inspirational ideas for his music come from. “Tunes have a technical vehicle and an emotional idea. Sometimes they meet and work, sometimes they don’t…sometimes the music just arrives. I don’t really see music as a business. I keep learning. I have to, I keep writing things I can’t play,” he laughed. “We have to learn new words sometimes to say more clearly what we want to communicate, and so it is with music.”

His on stage versatility is the stuff of legend. “(My heart) lies in the moment…Sometimes music is very simple. A good piece of pop can tell a human story very quickly and simply. Sometimes the story is more complex and there are more layers to discover and understand. How can anyone lose a passion for music? That must be a kind of death.”

Live performance is Legg’s forte. He loves an audience. As he once wrote, “Playing live is the whole point. Everyone makes a journey:..we all come together to share this wonderful, universal, human emotional interaction. This is where music lives.”

And, as Eric Thom puts it, Adrian Legg’s sense of humour is as infectious as his music. “This warm, completely affable Brit…generously provides hilarious banter along the way. (Concert-goers) are in for one unforgettable experience.” 

Opening for Adrian Legg on Saturday evening will be a young guitarist who is just beginning to make his mark on the Canadian music scene. Chris Thompson first appeared on the Stage in an Intimate Acoustics show case in 2011. A finger style guitarist himself, Thompson said that he is “excited and honoured to be sharing a stage with a musician as talented and decorated as Adrian. He’s a true genius and a guitar master.”

Thompson has two albums to his name now, and is a composer who “tries to write songs that meet a balance between catchy and melodic, while still being musically and visually exciting.” About two years ago, he went back to basics, focusing more on “building a strong melody and recognizable cohesiveness to my music.” He’s been working on improvisation, blues and jazz. Like Adrian Legg, Chris Thompson loves live performance. 

“I really feel strongly that music should always be genuine and from the heart. Part of what makes music performance so powerful is its power to connect you with people. When you’re singing or playing a song that really hits home to an audience member, that’s when the magic happens. The fact that you can tell a story, evoke emotion, and share a connection with someone over some sounds on a guitar is beautifully fascinating to me.”

Tickets for Adrian Legg in concert at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on Saturday, November 15 at 7 p.m. are $18 in advance or $20 at the door. Contact the Stage website at www.st-lawrencestage.com/shows.

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Powerhouse of Performers at Babes 4 Breasts

 

 Four outstanding artists are coming to the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage. 

On Saturday, October 25, at 7 p.m,  Ana Miura, Annabelle Chvostek, Amanda Rheaume and Graham Greer will take to the St. Lawrence stage to present a one-of-a-kind concert, Babes 4 Breasts. Like-minded Canadian recording artists, who have come together to fight breast cancer through music, these four outstanding singers will dedicate their Morrisburg concert to helping to raise funds for the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre, which integrates traditional medicine, alternate therapies, research and development, life style and cancer coaches.

And funds raised from the SLAS show will be specifically earmarked for members of the South Dundas community who use the Centre. 

“There will be some touching moments in the concert,” said Ana Miura, who came up with the Babes 4 Breasts concept back in 2003, “but this is a show that is uplifting, and really a lot of fun. We strive to fight sorrow with joy.”

Since the B4B concerts began appearing across Canada after 2007, featuring a wide range of talented musicians, the program has raised  $100,000 for charity. 

Ana Miura explained that the whole idea of using music to raise funds originally came from the grief she felt when a very close friend lost her mother to cancer.

“I thought, I have to do something. This kind of sorrow has to be combatted.”

She had originally intended to do only one concert, but between 2007 and 2009, the B4B concerts,  featuring artists “who may never have shared a stage before or since,” travelled all across Canada. Many of these artists also came together to create compilation albums, the most recent of which just came out this October. 

What the October 25 concert musicians have in common is an intense care for their communities, and a strong determination to fight breast cancer in every way possible.

“We perform in a song circle on stage,” Miura explained, “where we take turns singing. We musicians are one half of the circle, the audience forms the other half. The audience hears a very unique concert of original songs, and there is always that organic moment when the musicians join in each other’s songs… and we fill up the sound, improvising on stage.” 

The artists coming to Morrisburg are an eclectic and multi-talented group.

Miura  is an international touring star who has shared the stage with the likes of Bruce Cockburn and Joel Plaskett.

Métis singer-songwriter, Amanda Rheaume’s 2013 CD, Keep a Fire, was Juno nominated. 

Annabelle Chvostek, a former member of the Wailin’ Jennys,  saw her CD, Rise, nominated for both a Juno and a Canadian Music Award.

Cornwall’s Graham Greer, one of the original Barstool Prophets,  is also an award winning, hugely popular solo artist.

The talented Steph McAlear of Cornwall will also join the four musicians on percussion October 25.

I asked Graham, Amanda and Annabelle to share some of their personal views of the upcoming concert.

Graham, who is very proud to be an honourary “babe,” said he is “really looking forward to the spontaneous interactions and harmonizing that results from four talented folks together in a wonderful environment in front of a warm and appreciative audience.”

“What makes this concert incredibly special is that it is a one time opportunity,” Amanda said. “There won’t be another show with these exact artists on stage singing songs and contributing to an evening all together.”

“The format of the Babes is always a joy, kind of a metaphor for the working together it takes to make changes,” Annabelle said. “It’s always been such a magical and spontaneous collaboration…filled with humour and good old entertainment.”

The Morrisburg Meeting Centre is waiving its rental fee for the show, the tickets were printed free, the sound tech is contributing part of his fee, the Morrisburg Leader is making a donation to the show, and the artists are all performing at a fraction of the fees they might normally command.

“I’m hoping we get a sold out crowd, and that by the time we get to show night we can direct every penny we make on the tickets, maybe even more, to B4B,” said SLAS board member, Sandra Whitworth.

Don’t miss the chance to see some fabulous Babes present a night of extraordinary music: fight the sorrow of cancer with joy.

Tickets are $18 in advance, or $20 at the door. Contact www.st-lawrencestage.com.

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