- Amanda Bon
- Andy Rush
- Brothers Aloud
- Bytown Ukulele Group
- Captain Dirt and the Skirta
- Chris White
- Concession 23
- Ed Lawrence
- Gilles Leclerc
- James Keelaghan
- Jill Shipley
- Jody Marsolais
- Karen Oxorn and Swing Guitars
- Katayoun Malekmotiee
- Maple Hill
- Mark Weinstock
- Maxim Cossette
- Missy Burgess
- Neptune’s Music Workshops
- Russ Kelley
- Ruth Stewart-Verger and Donna Stewart
- Shout Sister Choir
- The Monroe Sisters
- The Sparrows
- The Terry Penner Weekend Choir with Rowena Pearl
You could say that Amanda’s musical path started with her first lessons at the piano as a child, but in truth is was before that. From the very beginning she has been a singer and a lover of all things musical. Her natural leaning towards music is likely thanks to her family lineage, which includes violin makers, music teachers, composers and performers going back many generations. This innate love for music lead Amanda to pursue her piano training with gusto from a young age, become an avid listener to artists of many genres, to put together various recreational musical groups of her own over the years, and eventually to turn to songwriting and set out on the budding career she is enjoying today.
In the mid-2000’s, when she first felt ready to present some of her own material in a public forum, she moved from the piano to the guitar and began attending open stages in and around her hometown of Ottawa. Eventually the day came when she had built up both her repertoire and the confidence to share her music with a broader audience, at which point she set her sights on recording her debut CD (Juniper Weekends, 2011). Having found a talented and symbiotic group to work with, (Danny Artuso – guitars, pedal steel, vocals / Ken Kawisher – upright bass, accordion / Gilles Leclerc – mandolin, vocals), Amanda began regularly playing shows around the region and she and her band quickly started gaining attention from local media and music listeners.
Only two short years later, the same group went back into the studio to record their second CD (Down The Road, 2013), and they adopted their current band name, Amanda Bon & The Outskirts. The band’s sound is largely rooted in Amanda’s songwriting, which blends elements of folk and country. Although her musical tastes are broad, she has an affinity for the melodies and lyrics of the more rootsy artists, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch, to name a few. Add to this the instrumentation of the band and the rich harmonies they weave into their songs, and you find the dash of bluegrass often attributed to this group. Amanda is proud to have appeared at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012 and Junofest 2012, headlined The National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage and Wakefield’s renowned Black Sheep Inn among others, and to have shared the stage with the lovely Jenn Grant at the NAC’s concert series NAC Presents.
She remains the hard-working leader of her band, acting as the manager, booking agent, publicist, promoter, songwriter and front-woman all in one, and looks forward to continuing to broaden her experience. It should be said though, that Amanda’s pursuits are not only musical. She is also a performing member of Tara Luz Danse, one of Ottawa’s professional contemporary dance companies, and an independent pilates instructor, specializing in the rehabilitative aspects of the work.
“…a magical voice…she shows much promise on stage. Her flair for a lilting melody seems effortless, while her lyrics are insightful without being overwritten.”
-Lynn Saxberg, The Ottawa Citizen (December 2011)
“…‘Down The Road’ shows songwriting that has grown by leaps and bounds. Bon’s voice is rich with emotion and the musicianship of all participants is impeccable but still down to earth…”
– Lynn Saxberg, The Ottawa Citizen (May 2013)
Who is Andy Rush?
Andy began this musical life in high school as a casual folk guitarist and singer. Through most of his 20’s Andy made his living as an artisan goldsmith, performing folk music in restaurants and clubs on some weekends. Andy then studied music education at Queen’s University and began teaching high school choral, band and guitar music in 1986. Andy used this teaching experience as he started leading impromptu choral groups at folk festivals and at weekend workshops. Andy has just retired from his high school career, but continues as the founder and artistic director of the 110 voice Open Voices Community Choir of Kingston, and as an instructor and practice teaching supervisor at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University. Andy is famous for creating ‘instant’ choirs, picking great repertoire and arranging on the fly to meet the needs and interests of his singers.
Contact: email@example.com 613-542-6992
Brothers Aloud is a group of men who sing folk, pop, country, gospel, protest and a cappella songs for fun. Audiences enjoy their positive musical energy and their knack for putting smiles on faces. The group gets together on Mondays from 7 to 9 pm in a room at the Georgetown Pub. New members are always welcome! Director Chris White is dedicated to freeing people’s voices and connecting them with music — contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bytown Ukulele Group
The Bytown Ukulele Group (BUG) is for people of all ages with an interest in singing and playing the ukulele together! All levels welcome. Beginners – don’t be shy! We have so much fun! We bring song binders to each meeting for people to share. We also project the words and chords on two large TV screens in the room.
Regular BUG jam is on the 3rd Wednesday of every month. It’s free!
Ukulele Slow Jam is on the 1st Wednesday of every month at a small $5 cost, led by local music teachers/performers.
Where: Clocktower Brew Pub, lower level, 575 Bank Street, Ottawa
When: 7 to 10 p.m. But come early and join us downstairs for a delicious dinner, snack, or drinks, anytime after 5:30 – meet new friends, and share ukulele tips and tricks.
Come out to strum, sing, eat drink and be merry! We have up to 90 people participating in our sessions! Come see what all the excitement is about!
If you’d like further information, please visit our website at www.bytownukulele.ca
BUG started in Ottawa in the fall of 2008 with about 6 members, but has grown by leaps and bounds since then! We now have over 130 members with 50 or more members showing up at each and every BUG jam session!
As well as our monthly jam sessions, BUG participates in many other activities, such as:
community events by request:
- Ottawa Folk Festival – jam sessions and uke workshops
- Music and Beyond Festival – jam sessions
- Ottawa Farmers’ Market
- Ottawa Folklore Centre 35th Anniversary Concert
- Ottawa Grassroots Festival
- In From The Cold at Parkdale United Church – annual jam sessions
- Dundonald Park jam session for Active Places, Healthy People initiative for the Centretown Community Health Centre
- performed on stage with the Lucky Uke band at the Just for Laughs Festival (Montreal, July 29, 2011), to break the world record for most ukuleles playing the same song together – 1288 ukuleles playing Twisted Sisters’ “We’re Not Going to Take It” for 5 minutes!
- Ukulele FLASHMOBs in downtown Ottawa
- Ottawa Folklore Centre 35th Anniversary Concert
- Organized BUG workshops with Manitoba Hal and Ralph Shaw
- led the jam session/sing-a-long after the screening of “Mighty Uke” at the Mayfair Theatre
- Ukulele Caribbean cruises 2013 and 2014
- road trips together to see James Hill, Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Jake Shimabukuro
An unofficial history of the ukulele:
Over a hundred years ago, in 1879, a ship arrived in Hawaii from Portugal with over 400 men, women and children aboard. They brought with them small stringed instruments called machêtes. They would play their machêtes together outside in the evenings. The Hawaiian people loved the sound of the machête! The King and Queen both learned to play the machête and encouraged Hawaiians to play the traditional Hawaiian tunes with it. The machête became wildly popular in Hawaii!
Why did the machête become known as the ukulele? Nobody knows for sure. One story is told of a British soldier who worked with the Hawaiian King and would play the machête at the King’s parties. The soldier was small and sprightly, and he played the machête very energetically, so the Hawaiians gave him the nickname of ukulele which means “jumping flea” and that nickname simply spread to the instrument he played. Another story told is that the fingers of a good player flying up and down the ukulele were like the movement of “jumping fleas”.
In 1915, a World Fair was held in San Francisco that ran for 9 months and attracted 19 million visitors. At the Hawaiian Pavilion, a ukulele band was playing. The people visiting the fair fell in love with the wonderful sound of the ukulele! The ukulele quickly became a huge sensation all over the world. Because it had only four strings, people found it was easy to play! And with only 3 chords they could play hundreds of songs right away! You can too!
Come be part of the ukulele revival! Join us – the more, the merrier!
Captain Dirt and the Skirta
Equal parts musical musings, and fashionable theatrics, Captain Dirt & The Skirt are reinventing what it means to be a duo. United by their mutual love of musical adventure with a mysterious twist, their debut album The Adventures of Captain Dirt & the Skirt draws on bluegrass, hymnal, gypsy-jazz, classical and pop with the undeniable grit of rock layered throughout.
Coming from their own independently successful music careers, Kristin Sweetland and Lyndell Montgomery are seasoned road-warriors, having toured extensively nationally and internationally for more than a decade. Now they have joined forces with all their experience to create unique and original music together.
Kristin Sweetland, aka: The Skirt, is a guitarist, singer, songwriter, photographer, record label owner, and international touring road warrior. She has released 2 CDs and 2 EPs, won an award from the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals “Songs of the Heart” competition, and is currently working on her first book of photography “Adventures in Sweetland” – a chronicle of the selfportrait series she has been working on for the past 15 years. Hailed as one of Canada’s “hottest guitar players” Sweetland has performed at major festivals across Canada, the Unites States, and Europe, and served as emcee at many Canadian festivals and arts events. She sings in both English and French, and has taught numerous “Master Class” guitar workshops in both languages across Canada, the USA, and France. www.kristinsweetland.com
British Columbia born and raised Lyndell Montgomery, aka: Captain Dirt, is a multi-instrumentalist touring machine. She has composed, arranged, recorded, booked, publicized and tour managed with countless artists around the globe. Her musical experiences have taken her from India to Australia, Europe to North America and beyond. Lyndell is currently the producer of Beau’s Oktoberfest, an annual three-day music/culture/beer festival situated in Vankleek Hill, Ontario. She is also co-author of the widely acclaimed book Boys Like Her; Transfictions. Aside from composition, live performance, management and production, Lyndell works with the Alberta’s based Rocker Girl Camp and the Ottawa Blues Festival as a music educator.
If you don’t know Chris White, then you just moved to Canada…or have just discovered folk music! Chris has been a moving force in the local, regional and national folk music scene for over 25 years. Currently the Community Liaison and Volunteer Support person at CKCU FM 93.1, Chris was artistic director of the Ottawa Folk Festival from 1993 until October 2009.
Concession 23 [kuhn-sesh-uhn] – noun.
1 to concede; agree; work together + 23 (the number of strings from a guitar, banjo, bass and mandolin).
2 a bluegrass band from the Ottawa Valley.
The band’s musical strength lies in its teamwork, its energetic playing style, and in the relaxed relationship it establishes with its audiences. The band is Jonathan Ferrabee (acoustic bass/vocals); Kevin Golka (mandolin/vocals); Sherry Philp (banjo/vocals); and Nick Strachan (guitar/vocals).
Concession 23 has been nominated in almost all categories at the Central Canadian Bluegrass Awards. After winning female vocalist of the year for five consecutive years, Sherry is now retired from the category.
Concession 23 has two full-length recordings, both nominated as “Recording of the Year” and is preparing for a third to be released in 2014. Selections from the recordings are played at radio stations across Canada and internationally.
Recently retired after 30 years of outstanding achievement in the field of Canadian horticulture, Ed Lawrence’s tenure as Chief Horticultural Specialist to six consecutive Governors General spanned a period of vice-regal history dating from Jules Leger in the 1970s to Adrienne Clarkson in 2005. In his capacity as head gardener, Ed’s responsibilities included not only the oversight of the 85 acre historic grounds and greenhouses of Rideau Hall, but of all six official residences under the authority of the National Capital Commission, including those of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
During that same period, Ed’s gardening expertise gained popular recognition through CBC Radio’s “Ontario Today” noon-time gardening phone-in show heard every Monday. After more than two decades, enthusiasm for Ed’s down-to-earth practical advice shows no sign of waning, making the Monday gardening hour one of the longest-running and most successful features in the annals of Canadian broadcast history.
His on-air popularity has led to other appearances on numerous radio and television gardening programs, including The Hobby Garden, From a Country Garden, The Canadian Gardener, and Vie de chalet on Radio-Canada. In the summer of 2001, Ed hosted a 13-part television gardening series, “The Gardener” produced in partnership with the National Capital Commission in Ottawa and WPBS TV in Watertown, New York. Ed has written gardening columns for newspapers throughout the Ottawa Valley and a weekly column for the Toronto edition of the national newspaper, The Globe and Mail.
In 1988 he won Landscape Ontario’s Garden Communicators’ Award for his broadcasting work and in 2000, Ed was the recipient of the prestigious Award of Merit from the Ontario Horticultural Association. Toronto-born and Humber College educated, Ed now resides on a farm in the Almonte, Ontario region and continues to share his gardening know-how through a broad range of national and community-based horticultural endeavours.
Ed’s book is available throughout Ontario
at your local independent bookstore or garden centre,
at all Chapters, Coles, Smithbooks locations,
and online at Indigo.ca
FIDDLEHEADS is a group of around 30 energetic young performers in the National Capital Region, under the direction of Trish Barclay, who sing, dance, act and fiddle their fingers off! They performed their first original musical theatre show “Gatineau River Reel“, a foot-stompin’, home-grown, historical musical, in July 2011 to enthusiastic audiences in Chelsea, Quebec and again in July 2012 to thrilled audiences at the Wakefield, QC theatre.
Fiddleheads young performers help to create the original full-length musical shows in collaboration with professional artists. They are involved in the entire process, from helping conceive of the story and characters, to building costumes, sets, and props. In addition to sharpening their fiddling skills with a multi-ethnic repertoire, the young performers hone their skills acting, singing and dancing on stage.
The young artists, ranging in age from 6 to 16, are mentored by professionals, who rehearse and perform alongside them. A community of committed parent volunteers contribute their skills and energy to help make the show a success. From the artistic nurturing and support of all involved, a wonderfully inspired musical theatre experience grows!
It is Fiddlehead‘s dream to tour their shows, sharing their music and learning from other young musicians and diverse cultures around the world.
Gilles Leclerc, native to the Ottawa area, grew up in a musical family. His father, brother and uncles were all musicians and fans of old country music. Gilles started playing guitar at 12 years old and later picked up the mandolin to join a bluegrass band when he was 18. He has played in many bluegrass groups in Ontario for which he has been nominated guitar player and mandolin player of the year by the Central Canadian Bluegrass Association. He has also worked with many folk/roots artists. He is currently the mandolin player for The Dusty Drifters, and is very excited to be creating music with Amanda Bon and the Outskirts.
Not only does his deep catalogue include timeless originals like Fires of Calais, Cold Missouri Waters, Jenny Bryce, Hillcrest Mine, and Kiri’s Piano. Keelaghan is also a possessive interpreter of outside material, a fine example being his gripping take on Gordon Lightfoot’s epic Canadian Railroad Trilogy on the Lighfoot Tribute disc Beautiful. There are a number of illustrations of his interpretive skills on his 2006 recording A Few Simple Verses. The closing tune on that spellbinding set, My Blood written with Jez Lowe, is one of many examples in Keelaghan’s career, where he has invited collaboration into his creative process.
“I was at the Celtic Colors Festival in 2008 and the producers locked six of us in a house for a week, and the company included Dave Gunning, David Francey, and Rose Cousins, it was an amazing experience. We had to come up with enough material for a show at the end of it.“To go along with a lifelong accumulation of influences, there have been these opportunities to work with equals, whether if be Oliver Schroer, Hugh McMillan, or Oscar Lopez. The sparks of collaboration, batting melodies back and forth, whatever, have produced some wonderful results,” says the artist who ties it all together with a powerful voice, delivery, and a commanding presence where he finds a balance between examining the lighter and heavier sides of life.
Admiration and respect for his work amongst his peers is best summed up by David Francey who recently stated that, “James Keelaghan sis a voice in contemporary Canadian songwriting that has helped us define who we are as a people. He writes with great humanity and honesty, with an eye to the past and a vision of the future. He has chronicled his times with powerful and abiding songs, with heart and eyes wide open.”
Ottawa-based but raised in Canada’s cool west, Jill likes to warm things up with great tunes! Jill sings cover songs in open mic venues, song circles, choirs and wherever else opportunity takes her! She comes from a musical family and is a self-taught 12-string guitar player. When she was 16 she worked at a children’s camp, where she participated in leading sing-songs. Harmony is an effortless passion for Jill and other singers have often called upon her to set harmonies with them.
The Rythym Room
We spend 9 months of our lives 6 inches away from our mother’s beating heart,
the beat of the drum is in us all.”
Jody Marsolais is a Vic Firth Certified Instructor/Facilitator who offers:
- dynamic team building for corporations and agencies
- stimulating school workshops
- serene crystal singing bowl meditations
- effective programs for individuals or groups with special needs
- entertainment for groups i.e. birthdays, Jack/Jill parties, weddings, etc..
Jody manages his private practice, The Rythym Room, teaching
instrument lessons and supports the Community through
Jody’s passion for music launched him into a full time career
as a music instructor and workshop facilitator. Jody provides services to retirement
homes, daycare centers, corporations/agencies, churches and schools.
At the age of five, Jody’s zeal for music and performance began. Jody would attend his
Mom’s performances at various events such as receptions and gatherings. Terry, his
Mom, began to introduce him to various instruments. Since then, Jody has become
proficient at percussion, drums, and guitar. His abilities extend to reading and writing
Quantum physics, philosophy, creative visualization and meditation resonate with Jody’s
spirit. From these teachings, his desire has become rooted in the understanding that
healing can be achieved through a variety of sound modalities. His holistic workshops
have proven to be inspirational as the audience experiences a sense of peace and wellness
through the soft sounds of crystal singing bowls and meditation.
Building confidence and team skills through drumming has become popular in both the
profit and not for profit sectors. These workshops help develop focus and productivity
while increasing the ability to concentrate, retain and recall information. Jody’s school
workshops meet the Ontario Music Curriculum as a guide lines. These workshops are an
excellent form of ‘brain gym’, reduces bullying and builds self confidence.
The Rythym Room is a proud member of the both the Ottawa and the Cornwall Chambers
of Commerce. Visit www.TheRythymRoom.ca or phone 613.937.3800 to learn more!
Karen Oxorn and Swing Guitars
Karen Oxorn’s musical journey began later in life when she discovered that singing along to jazz icon Ella Fitzgerald helped her deal with the heartbreak of a failing love affair. The romance, alas, ended but her love of performing has been going strong ever since. After developing a serious interest in singing in 2002, Karen performs regularly at local jazz venues, and has developed a large and dedicated following. She performs for private functions in Canada and the United States, and has performed at the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage, GigSpace Performance Studio, the Ottawa Jazz Festival, Merrickville’s Jazz Fest, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and the Canadian War Museum. Noted jazz historian Ron Sweetman describes Karen’s singing as having “real feeling and a subtle swing in a deep, rich voice.” Jacques Emond, founding artistic director of the Ottawa Jazz Festival, had the following comments: “Talented and versatile Karen Oxorn is a very interesting vocalist. She has a warm and swinging straightforward voice skilled with ballads as well as upbeat songs.“ Since 2010, she has become more involved in producing jazz concerts and working as a volunteer for music events in the Ottawa area. She has recently begun co-hosting Swing Is in the Air on CKCU-FM 93.1 (www.ckcufm.com).
Rob Martin and Paul Bourdeau perform together on a regular basis under the name Swing Guitars. Specializing in the music of the early swing era as well as in the Hot Jazz sounds of Django Reinhardt, this two-man band are also excellent vocal accompanists. They performed with Karen at the end of January at a sold-out Django tribute concert that took place at Ottawa’s GigSpace Performance Studio.
Katayoun Malekmotiee was born in Iran. She began studying music at the age of 9. After the Islamic Revolution, music was forbidden and all the music schools were closed. She went on to study Economics, but after 8 years the prohibition against music was lifted and she obtained a music degree. She then began teaching music and santour, a traditional Iranian instrument.
Katayoun has worked with many music groups as a player and composer. She founded a women’s music group and opened her own music institute 10 years ago. She has performed extensively in Iran and abroad and has recorded a number of CDs. Katayoun moved to Ottawa, Canada two years ago and she is thrilled to be introducing her music to a Canadian audience.
Maple Hill is an award winning bluegrass band that brings energy, emotion, fun and entertainment in their show. Built on the foundation that “it’s all about the song”, Maple Hill delivers strong vocals with fresh instrumental backup rooted in a traditional sound. Maple Hill covers the full range of bluegrass from the early hard edged blues through gospel and on to today’s great songwriters.
Co-founders Garry Greenland and Pat Moore are joined by banjo player Sean Lundy on banjo, and Kevin Golka on mandolin. With Maple Hill the song and its story are always the focus with solos, duets, trios and quartets.
The Bluegrass Music Association of Canada, ValleyGrass, and The Central Canadian Bluegrass Committee recently honoured Garry, for his immense contribution to bluegrass music in Canada for teaching and mentoring. The timing was perfect as he celebrates 50 years as a bluegrass road musician.
Heart, drive, deep blues, inspiration, tight blend, and fun filled interplay between musicians are some of the things that describe a Maple Hill performance.
Mark Weinstock is a popular singer-songwriter and children’s entertainer, combining his experiences as an award winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and respected educator. He continues to perform across the continent and overseas, picking up new instruments and stories along the way. His unforgettable concerts and workshops have become festival favourites, encouraging group participation and combining an effortless blend of musical styles.
He honed his craft while making music around the world. Along his adventures, he performed in Himalayan villages, the jungles of Australia, Cambodian orphanages, interfaith communities in Jerusalem, and festivals across North America. He loves to travel but Ontario remains his home.
Mark’s songs have been placed in feature film and television, while his written works have been published in several languages. Over the years, he has collaborated with an eclectic mix of musicians including Ken Whitely, the All Gods Children Harlem Gospel Choir and greats from bands such as Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band.
Mark’s concerts and albums continue to receive glowing reviews from the media and music circles alike, establishing him as one of Canada’s preeminent emerging talents and one of its best-kept secrets.
“His warmth on stage emanates…he is as talented as they come.” -Jen Bill, 24 Hours Newspaper
“Beautiful songs with meaningful lyrics.” -Ted Kartzman, JamBase San Francisco
*OCFF and Folk Alliance Int’l Official Showcase Selections
*Canadian Folk Music Awards Nominee
*Parents Choice Awards –two time winner
Maxim Cossette is a bilingual recording artist. He’s been playing the banjo for a decade and has performed across Canada, the US and Ireland. His lyrics and engaging style are inspired by his travels and personal experiences. Maxim is the front man of Sick Sick Sicks, who play “Djanjobilly” music, a cross between Django Reinhardt gypsy jazz and 50s Rock and Roll. He’s been performing for longboarding and permaculture communities for over five years.
Growing up in a large family where chaos was a lifestyle had its benefits. I could train myself to live in a different land even though chaos was all around me. As a young teen, I would climb into my brother’s tree house and imagine myself singing late at night in some obscure small room in New York City and walking the streets alone as I thought all musicians did. By the time I was 15 years old I had heard all my father’s jazz and big band albums over and over and had attended numerous concerts where my brother, Michael sang Gregorian chant with St. Michael’s Choir School in downtown Toronto. I loved music, and belonged to many church choirs, but it took on new meaning when my father brought home a record of Fats Waller. It introduced a sound that shook my insides and made me want to sing. But it took many years of living, which included a nursing/teaching career, marriage, a son and many dogs and cats before I would take music seriously.
Since 1996 I have performed on main stages from The National Arts Centre in Ottawa to Boston’s Regent Theatre to The Angola Prison for Women in Louisiana. including a guest performance at the Great Canadian Theatre Company for Garnet Rogers.
I have recorded 3 albums. Pour Me a Song features veteran folk singer Penny Lang and Michael Burgess. My second album Lemon Pie features the late Willie P. Bennett. My latest CD, Play Me Sweet features Keith Glass (6 time Juno Award Winner from Prairie Oyster (Keith also produced the album) and Lynn Miles appears courtesy of True North Records. You can find all 3 CD’s at The Ottawa Folklore Centre, CD Warehouse, and Compact CD.
I have had the good fortune of being connected with Terry Eagan in Boston who has pioneered efforts to put gardens in hospitals all across Canada for people hospitalized with cancer. Terry produced my first album and I continue to support his efforts in any way I can. The last fundraiser was September 2011 where I performed along side Lynn Miles, Keith Glass, Ana Miura and Amanda Rheaume and Michael Burgess. Visit the website patiogardens.com for more information.
Neptune’s Music Workshops
Neptunes’ Music Workshops, Dawn and Joe Reynolds, have run alternative music workshops, talent shows and community spirited music events since 2007. Their focus is to inspire music appreciation in all ages and encourage the celebration of music in local communities.
Russ is returning to writing and performing after what he thought was a career ending operation on his vocal chords. His background is in folk, blues and rock.
He had his songs charted in Canada and in one case had a #1 chart topper in Quebec on French pop music radio co-written and performed by Renee Martel. He had toured in the US, had a publishing deal with MCA Music Publishing in New York, and performed continually in groups and as a solo artist in Canada based first in Montreal and then in Halfax, NS. This first period of his music life lasted for 25 years before he lost his voice.
Describing himself as an extraordinarily fortunate person, He found a new life with the funding of the arts in Canada. He worked first as a program officer for the Canada Council for the Arts for five years. Then he was the founding Executive Director of the first Nova Scotia Arts Council, followed by being appointed to the newly created position of Acting Executive Director of Culture for the Province of Nova Scotia. Subsequently, he was appointed to the position of Head of Music for the Canada Council for the Arts, the national arts funding body.
He remained in the position of Head of Music for ten years, during which, midway through he began to write and sing again. Slowly but surely much of his voice returned. It is different than before, not the same range, but it has become an interesting voice, rough and expressive, that together with his fine guitar work has audiences responding very well.
In the summer of 2012, he began performing seriously again, appearing first at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso, Nova Scotia followed by the Mariposa Folk Festival in Ontario. He then spent the last two weeks of September and early October on a 12 date tour of house concerts in Manitoba organized by Home Routes in Canada.
His first solo CD has been released in Toronto in early January, 2013. “Crazy Shades of Blue” consists of ten original songs recorded on Lake Winnipeg with some of Winnipeg’s finest musicians and sweetened by guest artists such as Juno Award winning Jane Bunnett and slide
Ruth Stewart-Verger and Donna Stewart
Donna Stewart and Ruth Stewart-Verger are storytellers with years of experience recounting tales of Canada’s history. Donna Stewart has told stories on all three of Canada’s coasts, and every where in between! Donna was given the title “Elder” by the Storyteller’s of Canada/Conteur du Canada’s national conference in 2003. Together they hold the position “co-past president” of the National Storytelling Association. Both have studied Canadian history, both are teachers (Donna retired), both have given performances workshops, and seminars on storytelling, and on conveying our countries history through oral story across Canada. Ruth has had the great good fortune to hear Donna’s tales all her life.
Ruth uses stories daily in her classroom and in her work with new Canadians. She has facilitated workshops, conducted seminars and presented at symposiums and conferences on storytelling and the applications of storytelling. She has traveled across Canada telling stories, and finding new ones!
Ruth has recorded two historical tales about Canadian Women heroes and toured with them across Canada.
The stories we tell of Canadian Railways have been researched through academic texts, archives and the newspapers of the time, but they are heavily influenced by family stories we have heard all our lives!
The Almonte Train Wreck of 1942 is one such story. It was one of Canada’s worst rail disasters, but the people of Almonte rose to heroic action to ensure that all who could be saved were saved!
Shout Sister Choir
The Shout Sister Choir takes an unorthodox approach to choral singing. We do not audition and we sing a fun variety of music from pop and Motown, to folk, to a touch of country and blues. We learn from recorded tracks so we require no reading of music. Our method is fresh and fun and we are a warm and welcoming community.
The act of singing with others is both powerful and joyful and, while our choir fills the need for those who have never sung with others, experienced singers will find the relaxed atmosphere and alternative repertoire a refreshing change.
You are welcome to attend a practice with no obligation and new members are welcome at any time.
Ottawa Centre Chapter
Choir Director: Jody Benjamin
Choir Manager: Nancy Greig
Tuesday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
St. Barnabas Church
394 Kent St.
For security purposes, the door to the church is locked at 7:05. If you are late use the doorbell on the James St. entrance.
Ottawa Afternoon Chapter
Wed. 1:00 p.m.to 3:00 p.m.
Rideau Park United Church
2203 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa
Ottawa West Chapter
Choir Director: Jody Benjamin
Choir Manager: Nancy Greig
Thursday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Woodroffe United Church
207 Woodroffe Ave.
Entrance door at North side of Church.
“Singing is as basic to being human as walking upright on two legs. If the professionals have taken it away for themselves, then it’s time the amateurs took it back.” – Robert Fulgham
The Monroe Sisters
On September 13, 1911, the man who invented Bluegrass music was born in the town of Rosine, Kentucky. He and his brother Charlie played together as The Monroe Brothers before Bill started The Kentuckians. His music inspired many, and so in homage to The Father of Bluegrass, we are – The Monroe Sisters.
The Monroe Sisters together have 100 years of living and playing bluegrass music. We are, Kate Greenland, Elizabeth Foster, Sherry Philp, and Pat Moore. “Cousin Brent Weatherall” sits in on bass with us!
There’s nothing like “sister harmony”, and we love that!
Visit us at www.themonroesisters.weebly.com and find out more about who we are, and where you can find us.
Sun. April 23 at 1:00 pm Fellowship Hall
“Songs for Families”
This sing-along family concert features The Sparrows, Anna Ludlow, Chris White and surprise guests.
The Sparrows are a group of home-schooled children between the ages of 4 and 11 who love music. They sing, play instruments and dance under the guidance of group leaders Chris White and Anna Ludlow.
Chris White is a singer-songwriter, choir leader, radio host, festival organizer and concert producer who loves to connect people with music and with one another. He received the 2012 Helen Verger Award for his “significant, sustained contributions to Canadian folk music”. Catch Chris and “Canadian Spaces” every Saturday from 10 to noon on CKCU 93.1 FM and www.ckcufm.com.
Anna Ludlow is an accomplished fiddler, singer and songwriter originally from Antigonish who now lives in Ottawa. She performs in a variety of styles, including what she calls “Mainland Maritime Fiddle Fusion”. Anna released an album called “Reel to Reel” in 2009.
The Terry Penner Weekend Choir with Rowena Pearl
Terry Penner was the co-founder of the Ottawa Folklore Centre and wife of Arthur McGregor. During the first years of the Folklore Centre, Terry did some bookkeeping while holding down a ‘paying’ job. The Folklore Centre took a while before it made enough money to pay an owner. Later, Terry ran the school of music, introducing lots of great programmes like ‘Pub Carols’, shape note singing and more. She also became our full time bookkeeper. In 1992, Terry developed breast cancer. She continued to work at the store while suffering an aggressive treatment schedule. In 1998, we decided to expand the Folklore Centre to its current location, hoping that the larger school would ease the financial burdens. In early 1999, Terry was diagnosed as terminal and she retired from the Folklore Centre. Her retirement party, in the Glebe Community Centre, was a wonderful celebration. Terry died in November, 2000. Terry wished for three things at her wake: a parade, a Dixieland jazz band and a celebration of her life. We held a parade from the Folklore Centre to the now-demolished Strand Theatre on Bank Street. We arrived to a Dixieland jazz band that included Terry’s brother on Euphonium and proceeded to have a lovely celebration of Terry’s life. In 2001, we started the annual Terry Penner Weekend Festival Choir at the now changed Ottawa Folk Festival. This is the first year that we’ve sponsored the choir at the Grassroots Festival. I think Terry would have approved!
With her unique enthusiasm Rowena Pearl’s talent shines especially bright when she engages all ages in making music together. Rowena brings her love of music to audiences as a music director of school, church and community choirs in the North Gower area. She is also a very popular music teacher, introducing a love of Piano and the Ukulele to dozens of students. In addition to participating in the Ottawa Grassroots Festival, Rowena is currently Musical Director of The Little Princess coming this summer to the Station Theatre in Smith Falls.