Ben Henriques is a man of few words. He prefers to let his saxophone talk for him.
On Saturday, December 3, at the St. Lawrence Stage, he “talked” to the audience with passion and fire as he performed classic and highly original contemporary jazz during his performance. Backed by the musical artistry of members of Trio Bruxo, Henriques delivered jazz his way.
Alternating between soprano and tenor saxes, Henriques almost seems to lose himself in his music when he performs. His fingers flying, his eyes closed, he is a study in musical intensity. Whether his style of jazz is necessarily everyone’s taste doesn’t really matter: it is impossible to miss the passion, the artistry in his work.
A quiet, almost diffident speaker between numbers, he seemed comfortable letting David Ryshpan of Trio Bruxo make most of the introductions.
Since this was an evening that featured original compositions by Ryshpan along with many works by Henriques himself, it was an arrangement that worked.
“You’ve just heard a piece of Ben’s called ‘Paranoia is a Flower’,” Ryshpan laughed, following a number by times dreamy, a little sexy, a little wild. “He called it that because he says both grow the more you put into them.”
Later, Henriques showed a flash of his own humour when he introduced ‘All of Me’.
“This piece has been ‘remelodicized’ into Background Music by Owen Marsh. Remember folks, you heard it here first.”
Expertly backed by bassist Nicholas Bédard, drummer Mark Nelson and pianist Ryshpan, Henriques performed in a way that was often non-traditional, and unrestricted musically. In an earlier interview with The Leader, Henriques said that in contemporary jazz, “we seek to write music in a different way.” He clearly loves the freedom to improvise that modern jazz allows him.
Numbers like ‘Captain Awesome’ or ‘Fortress of Solitude’ showcased Henriques’ skill and virtuosity. A quiet duet between just Ryshpan’s piano and Henriques’ sax was a memorable moment to me.
Solo spots highlighting the formidable talents of Nelson, Bédard and Ryshpan rounded out the evening.
“Thank you, Morrisburg,” Ben Henriques said, “for supporting live jazz.”
Tickets are currently going very fast for the upcoming St. Lawrence Stage January 21 concert featuring Don Ross, with Graham Greer opening.
Due to its success the first time around, Kraft Food for Families will be running their program once again, giving people another opportunity to help their local food banks win money each and every week!
The second phase of the program began on December 2nd. It will last for 10 weeks, ending February 10th. To help your local registered food bank win, go to www.kraftassists.ca and add your name. Mountain’s House of Lazarus is the local food bank registered in the program for this area.
Each name added will equal one vote for the House of Lazarus. Every week, the food bank that receives the most names of support for that week will receive a $1,000 donation from the Kraft Food for Families program.
Note that each week the totals reset to zero. So, please remember to revisit the site, add your name, and help your local food bank win the money for that week.
“What uses electricity in your home?”
This was the first question, Brian Carter, a retired safety consultant for Electrical & Utilities Safety Association, asked the grade 3/4 class of St. Mary’s – St. Cecilia’s Catholic School in Morrisburg.
Carter was at the school on December 1st giving presentations on “electrical safety and conservation.”
Rideau St. Lawrence Utilities hires Carter to give the presentation to schools in their service area every three years. In the last two weeks, Carter has visited elementary schools in Cardinal, Iroquois, Morrisburg, Prescott, and Westport.
According to Carter, the presentation’s purpose is to give students “a basic knowledge and awareness of what could happen and what they should do if something does take place.”
Most importantly, he said, is to teach children to have respect for electricity: “It’s a wonderful thing folks, as long as we respect it.”
Carter’s presentation included demonstrations, audience participation, hands-on activities, and a short film, “Power Line Safety the Buddy Way.”
On November 27th, Pastor Duncan Perry of the Morrisburg Pentecostal Tabernacle, shared his life-changing experiences from his recent Mission Trip to Africa during a Sunday evening service.
Perry left for Africa this past October with his wife Sandra and 14 other like-minded individuals. They left Canada on October 12th, headed for the Village of Hope – Malawi, in Lilongwe, where they spent three weeks breathing in all things Africa through work, play, and prayer.
The group of missionaries raised over $10,000, all of which went to the children in Malawi. The money was used to buy things like furniture for the dormitory they helped to complete.
In addition to personal items, each traveler was permitted one hockey-sized bag full of items on the airplane. The group carried along things like clothes, tools, food, Tim Horton’s coffee, and anything they thought might be needed by the village’s people.
In addition to finishing one of the dormitory buildings, including furnishing it, the group also did various repair jobs, painting, yard work, and other menial, but necessary, tasks.
Members of the group also helped in the schools, ministered, played with the children and socialized with the adults.
While Perry and his group accomplished much on the trip, there is still more to be done.
As for this article, he asked that the pictures focus on the children, not on him or his group because, as he said, “it’s about them.”
Listening to Perry talk about the children, about the village, and about the neighbouring towns causes a host of emotions to flow. While his appreciation and awe for the beauty of Africa shines through, it is also very clear that his heart has been deeply touched by the hardships and loss these young orphans face on a daily basis.
In September, prior to his trip to Malawi, Perry told the Leader that he expected his outlook on life to be drastically changed after the trip. As he will attest, he was right.
Perry shared that knowing children are starving in another part of the world is different from seeing it first hand. He tears up each time he talks of the orphans who receive food only three days of the week.
He also spoke, in admiration, of their spirit, their love for God, and their unwavering belief in God despite the daily hardships they face.
Perry encourages others to remember these children and to show compassion for their plight.
“This is something we look forward to doing,” said Hanne Rycroft, co-owner of the Basket Case in Morrisburg. “This is our second annual Christmas Craft show, and also the fourth anniversary of our business here in Morrisburg. This is a joint celebration.” The craft show on December 3 offered many delicious home baked goods and goodies to visitors as well as the opportunity to see many crafts, including a Christmas tree completely decked out in locally made decorations. The Basket Case also presented some new authors to the community and collected goods for the Dundas Food Bank. “People have been very generous,” Rycroft said. Above, Cynthia Foss (left) and Sue Jarvis pose with some of the colourful sock monkeys (created by Foss) up for “adoption” at the Basket Case this Christmas.
Over 175 people come out to enjoy a very special dramatic reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on Sunday, December 4, a fund raiser to help Winchester Hospital with the purchase of new cardiac monitors. Lakeshore Drive United Church in collaboration with Upper Canada Playhouse sponsored the event, which raised close to $5,000, according to ecstatic organizer Gail McCooeye, with some funds still coming in. Ticket sales are being matched by Scotiabank. “I couldn’t have chosen five better readers than the ones we had. They did an excellent job,” McCooeye said. “The Seaway Valley Singers added to the Yule spirit with Christmas carols and Margaret Whisselle sang a beautiful solo.” With the Seaway Singers in the background, the readers (l-r), in full Victorian costumes, are Joan Farlinger, Donnie Bowes, Paul Coolican (emcee), Wayne Domanko, Doug Grenkie and Wendy Gibb.
MORRISBURG – An hilarious golf show in late winter, a live country concert in the spring, a series of hysterical comedies in the summer, a fabulous Elvis concert in the fall and a wonderful holiday family show at Christmas, all beginning with CBC’s The Vinyl Café with Stuart McLean in January!
It’s four seasons of great entertainment in 2012 at Upper Canada Playhouse. People from far and wide have already tapped into the excitement with a flurry of activity at the theatre’s new box office, which has been filled with patrons booking their tickets for the longest season in memory.
“Our audience has been booking their Flex Passes for the summer season as well as purchasing seats for our added shows in the spring and fall,” remarks Artistic Director Donnie Bowes.
“We’ve already added another week of shows for Blue Suede Shoes, our Elvis show, in the Fall. Folks are really looking forward to coming to The Playhouse not only in the summer but all year. It’s great for them, great for us and great for our community,” he adds. In fact, some groups are purchasing whole performances for office parties and other functions.
Bowes and staff laugh when they realize that there is really no such time as ‘off-season’ anymore when marketing and planning usually takes place at The Playhouse. “It’s go, go, go now,” he laughs.
To kick off the Season, CBC and Stuart McLean are taping two episodes of The Vinyl Café on January 28 and 29. Tickets have been going quickly and there are only tickets left for the January 29 show.
Starting off the regular Season will be Norm Foster’s popular golf comedy The Foursome, probably one of the comic playwright’s most popular shows ever. It’s about four pals who re-unite to catch up on their lives by playing a round of golf. Their hilarious stories, antics and surprises have been entertaining audiences for years now. The comedy runs March 16 to April 1 and is in response to audience requests for a show at this time of year to chase away the winter blues.
The spring brings Country Jukebox, from May 2 to 13, a brand new country concert from popular singer Leisa Way and her Wayward Wind Band whose hit shows Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton were featured at The Playhouse in recent seasons. The show will showcase hit songs from the famous singing partners of country music from Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty to Tammy Wynette and George Jones and many more.
Next up is the popular comedy series starting with Hotbed Hotel, running June 7 to July 1 and written by Michael Parker, the creator of last season’s hit The Sensuous Senator. It’s about a couple trying to sell their run-down hotel.
Up next is Norm Foster’s comedy Here on the Flight Path playing from July 5 through 29. It’s set on two balconies of an apartment building where writer John Cummings deals with the hilarious antics caused by new ladies constantly moving in next door.
The comedy Wife Begins at Forty by Arne Sultan, Earl Barret and Ray Cooney is next at bat from August 2 to 26. Friends, neighbours and the family dog deal with the hilarious consequences of a couple trying to re-kindle their romance.
The summer series finishes September 6 to 30 with A Nice Family Gathering by Phil Olson. It’s the first family reunion since Dad died, and the tension and hilarity increase when his ghost appears to one of the sons with a special favour. It all breaks lose when Mom’s date shows up for dinner. This show has it all—conflict, comedy and characters we all recognize.
The fall will rock The Playhouse with a two-week run of Blue Suede Shoes, A Tribute to Elvis Presley. It plays October 10 to 21 and is an explosive, 45-song journey through the life of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
The Playhouse season wraps up with a brand new holiday family show, Everything I Always Loved About Christmas by Robert More and playing November 22 to December 16. It’s a wholesome, down-home story, told through the comical eyes of a granddad, about a family preparing for Christmas while their daughter is stranded in a bus stop far away. A joyous and entertaining Yuletide story filled with magic, music and the wonder of the season.
The box office is open year round and, although tickets can be purchased anytime throughout the year, Flex Passes are only available until June 7. The Playhouse also has popular group and senior rates available. Sales have been brisk for this 2012 season and patrons are advised as usual to book early to get the dates, time and specific seats they want.
Gretta McGann entered a team in the women’s Navy bonspiel in Ottawa last week. With her were Alice Thompson, Yvonne Mabo and Claire Locke. They dropped their first match to a foursome from the Ottawa R.A. Centre, and after a fine lunch, tackled a Perth quartet. It was a good game, and our folks emerged victorious.
Their scores put them in third place on the day, and some prizes were available. The two teams ahead of them were tied, and, unable to break the tie, the organizers split the first and second place money for them.
The skip of one of the teams had fallen in the first end of their initial match, and was unable to continue. When the three curlers finished the end, they decided to forfeit their match, but the organizers found them a replacement. Good thing they kept playing!
One of our senior teams is in Metcalfe this week for that club’s invitational bonspiel. We’ll have the results next time. Also our men host three Cornwall senior teams in a return friendly match this Friday, and we’ll have those results for you
Alice Thompson and her committee are hosting a women’s invitational bonspiel this week. Same story concerning reporting there.
Teams from Navan, Prescott, Maxville, City View, Russell, two from Cornwall, Lancaster, Kemptville, Alexandria, and Ottawa’s R.A. Centre are here. One club had trouble getting a team together, so our Gretta McGann volunteered to fill in with three other local ladies.
As always, the organizers have an all-volunteer group to staff the kitchen, the bar, and prepare the ice. And to maximize profits for our club on the day, all of the food has been prepared and donated by the local women.
At time of writing, there are still a few openings for the club bonspiel this Saturday. It’s a fund raiser to support getting a new carpet for the club. Looks like a nice event, with a great lunch provided. If there’s still room on Wednesday, why not sign up for what promises to be a very pleasant day.
The notices for renewal of club supporters’ signs are in the mail, and we hope all will continue their club sponsorship. We value your assistance and will continue to support your businesses.
Coming up later this month are the friendly bonspiel for Saturday, December 17, and the two-day OCA competition for senior curlers, Friday and Saturday, December 23 and 24. Hope we have some local teams entered!
John Toonders, of Morrisburg, may be reached at 613-543-3362 for those wishing to rent the club for a family or staff party. Weekends are filling up, and those interested should contact him soon, as dates for the rest of the season are being snapped up.
Ian Wilson and family members are looking after the Little Rocks program again this year. The 16 curlers practice on Monday nights, and will be competing in bonspiels in the new year. They are also hosting teams from Metcalfe, Russell and Winchester in their Big Four tournament
For those aspiring to greater things on the ice, last weekend could have been an inspiration, as TSN covered the semi-finals and finals for the men’s and women’s Canada Cup. Jennifer Jones won the title for the ladies, defeating Chelsea Carey, and Kevin Martin edged Glenn Howard on the men’s side. Besides the money and the prestige, the winners guaranteed themselves a place in the “curling sweepstakes” leading to qualifying for the Olympics.
That’s it for now. Good curling
The beauty of Christmas came alive at Upper Canada Village, Friday night, as the St. Lawrence Parks Commission opened its new gates in its new Discovery Centre to the 11th annual Alight at Night Festival.
Now recognized as one of the Top 100 events in Ontario by Festivals and Events, Ontario, Alight at Night has grown again with close to 1 million lights now lighting up the Eastern Ontario evening sky.
Visitors were welcomed to the official opening at Crysler Hall by Ron Eamer, Acting Chair of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, who claimed that snow has been ordered and is on its way.
“We owe a great amount of thanks to the staff,” said Eamer. “Their enthusiasm is what carries it off. This year, they have put up almost 1 million lights.”
Director of Marketing, Bryan Mercer highlighted the various additions to this year’s festival. They include new state-of-the-art LED wall washer lighting that sets the historic buildings aglow in colour, a new and convenient outdoor food court and more streamlined pricing to alleviate lineups and speed entry to the Village.
For one price, visitors now get admission to the festival, including a wagon and train ride.
Admission is $13 for adults (13 years plus), $10 for seniors (65 years plus) and $10 for youth (six to 12 years). Children five years of age and under will be admitted free. All admissions are subject to tax.
Returning to this year’s Alight at Night Festival is the very popular Sound and Light Spectacular which runs every half hour outside Crysler Hall. This year’s show is sponsored by Cruickshank Construction.
The third running of the Annual Canadian Gingerbread Competition was judged this past Saturday and the entries are on display at Crysler Hall and the carolling at nearby Christ Church has been expanded.
Mercer pointed out that the festival opened a few days later (than in the past) on Friday, December 2 but will operate through to January 7 this year.
Alight at Night is now open Thursday to Sunday until December 18 (closed Mondays to Wednesdays). From December 19 to January 7 it will be open nightly except for its closure on December 24 and 25.
“It’s our 11th year and Alight at Night has become the signature event for Eastern Ontario,” said Mercer. “It keeps growing and growing and getting better. Anyone who has been involved in it should congratulate yourself.”