Our rural communities will thrive with active participation of residents. We saw significant success on July 11, 2014 with the first ever promoted community kitchen party to be hosted at Green Island Cove wharf. The event ended up being held at the neighbouring fishers’ gear shed and drew throughout the evening upwards of 200 people from under eight to nearly eighty years of age. It was truly a gathering to celebrate community, tradition and enjoy each other’s company at one of the busiest times of year.
Music brings people together and we are blessed to have local people willing to share their talents. Guitars, accordions, ugly sticks, brooms, spoons and kajoons paired with a vocals of Clara and Loomis made for an incredible night where tradition thrived. I’ve always heard my grandparents talk about the old-fashioned time and this is likely the closest I’ll get to experiencing those community celebrations of food, song and dance. With fishing nets as the backdrop, songbooks distributed, the waltz, two-step and jigs began to play and the old wooden floor of the gear shed got some action.
There was a little magic in the room that evening as we all embraced our small fishing community way of living, as those who came before us would always take time throughout summer to have a time. Even the little kids were eager to learn the dance moves. A tumble or two would not deter them.
A group of men and women also treated us to a good old-fashioned square dance. This dance was once commonplace and now only a handful know all the moves. When these dancers took the floor, all eyes were on them. A couple of brave souls joined in with the group and learned the steps as they went. I believe everyone else wish they knew the moves, so they too could take to the floor.
It has become quite clear that the success of our rural communities is about how we interact with the space we have in our everyday lives. I think ensuring that a gear shed or a wharf can also be the gathering place as they were pre-moratorium of 1992 is vital to maintaining and sustaining our outport communities.
I must commend the leadership of Dr. Kathleen Blanchard, President and Founder of Intervale. This organization produces programs and services in the fields of conservation, heritage interpretation, and sustainable development. Her interest in sustainable fisheries and community economic development was the driving force to documenting and organizing with fishers Loomis and Brenda such a tremendous event, which can be shared with others.
The success of the evening has already sparked talks to host another, possibly make this an annual event like the Conche and Goose Cove Garden Parties. The evening also stimulated discussion of hosting another Come Home Year in 2016 – one for Green Island Cove and Pine’s Cove. The dates have been set, so mark your calendars – August 15-21st, 2016 because home is where you will want to be. Please join us!
Live Rural NL -Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North @MitchelmoreMHA
Tonight there will be a unique experience at my hometown community, which has a population of 187 residents. Let’s hope the wharf will be fill with spectators as our very own multi-talented Loomis Way and a band of musicians perform traditional music, hosting what is likely the first Kitchen Party at the Green Island Cove wharf.
Join us tonight to celebrate the Spirit of Newfoundland & Labrador Inshore Fishery & Fishing Communities. Details are below:
The inshore plays a vital role in our rural communities. It has been our reason for existence. There is no secret the return of the mighty cod is nearing. Now is the time for policymakers to involve the inshore fishers in this process so we are ready to deal with cod quota increases, when they occur.
Rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorians believe in their community and sustainably harvest the resources that are available to them. We have exceptional cultural assets as well that stem from the activities in which we live in our daily lives. Tonight’s Kitchen Party will be a prime example as we celebrate our small fishing communities through song and dance in the surroundings of friends.
Come out tonight if you can, for a truly authentic rural experience on the Great Northern Peninsula.
Live Rural NL -Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
Grenfell Memorial Co-op, St. Anthony is your one-stop shop for musical instruments on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.
When we think of the co-op in recent years, one would automatically think of groceries. However, retail co-ops carry an array of consumer goods. In the past, the co-op would be a key supplier for fishing twine and other non-consumables.
A co-op serves its members. When visiting Neechi Foods Coop Ltd. in Winnipeg, one could eat traditional Aboriginal meals on site and also buy products that were handmade, such as moccasins.
It is great to see the addition of musical instruments to Grenfell Memorial Co-op in St. Anthony. I hope this inspires more local residents to learn the art of music and share with those around them
Live Rural NL -Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North @MitchelmoreMHA
I woke up this morning to find out about this exciting new community development endeavour of Radio Quirpon. Wayne Bartlett and Cheryl McCarron are the creators of something wonderful for Newfoundlanders & Labradorians everywhere to enjoy a little piece of “the Rock”. Radio Quirpon is available at www.radioquirpon.com.
And ofcourse, others too can enjoy our unique culture and our music. I especially love the local tunes from the creator, Wayne Bartlett and Straitsview’s own Skipper Hot’s Band. Little Bo Peep was one I’m looking forward to hearing again :). It is also nice to hear the personal commentary, it gives each song a special meaning when one listens.
Radio Quirpon has a selection of local photos from the the Great Northern Peninsula, as well as videos and a blog. I encourage you all to visit their site and share your thoughts.
I would like to thank the creators for sharing their talents with the world. It is these types of initiatives that will build a much stronger community, one that reaches well beyond our small populations. I look forward to spreading the word! Let’s keep historic Quirpon with a population of 75 people on the map!
Cheryl operates “Coffee in the Cove”, located in Hay Cove (population 32) which is just minutes from L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site. Experience where the Vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America more than 1,000 years ago. Coffee in the Cove offers a selection of freshly brewed coffees, espressos, lattes and has a singing kitchen. On Facebook, visit their page called Coffee in the Cove.
The Great Northern Peninsula, where big things are happening in very small communities. Help spread the word!
Live Rural NL -Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
On August 5, 2011 myself and a friend had plans to take in the 10th Annual St. Anthony Music Festival. After a quick stop at Tim Horton‘s for an ice cap, we drove up to a little paradise with panoramic views, trails, restaurants and an emporium. It can be the peak of your experience. I was able to park my car and get a good view of the many icebergs. There is also one lonely fisherman in the harbour, maybe he plans to catch a few cod-fish while the recreational fishery.
The reason for the trip was to take in the festivities and hear the diverse talents of our local musicians. They had a great line-up of performers that would appeal to everyone’s fancy, from Folk, Traditional Newfoundland & Labrador, Blue Grass, Country, Old Time Rock N’ Roll and other songs from popular culture. The Olympia was a buzz – there was a sense of happiness from the people in the room. I spoke with a number of people and even found some travelling to St. Anthony from Corner Brook, NL and even as far as Northern Quebec and Nunavut.
Addmission was just $10.00 to hear 9 different bands/performers. The schedule was as follows:
- 7:30 PM Doors Open. Recorded Music
- 8:00 PM The Pumper Boys
- 9:00 PM Angela Byrne & Alphonsus Reardon
- 9:30 PM Alphonsus Reardon & Albert Kinsella
- 9:45 PM Wade Hillier
- 10:15 PM Max Sexton
- 10:30 PM Jade Gibbons
- 11:00 PM Skipper Hotts Band
- Midnight Sam S., Adam R., Trevor N., & John H.
- 1:30 AM – Close Dwayne Snow
Alphonsus Reardon & Angela Byrne perform some traditional music. She had a beautiful voice and was the only female performer during the whole show. Great job & hopefully next year more female singers will come out and participate. There certainly were no shortage of women in attendance, as they filled up the dance floor.
Wade Hillier has many talents – Viking re-enactor, story and joke teller, as well as a musician. I heard him the Friday prior performing at the Norseman Restaurant in L’Anse Aux Meadows. My two friends from California enjoyed his tunes, that they purchased a copy of his CD. I love the deep voice Wade has and especially love hearing his rendition of Aunt Martha’s Sheep and anything he does by Johnny Cash!
Ford Blake is one part of the Skipper Hotts Band, as he riddles out the tunes on the old squeeze box. I had the joy of hearing him and a part of his band play at Skipper Hotts Lounge in Straitsview the previous Friday as well. There my two friends would get Screeched-in (photos and story to follow). Tonight they had their full complement and their music pulled the people out on the floor to dance up a storm.
Prior to his performance I had asked him about playing the accordion. He had told me he started learning by playing on his father’s old one as a little boy, because you certainly were not allowed to use the good one back in those days. Drop by Skipper Hotts Lounge in Straitview and you too may be greeted by this self-taught talent and his band’s traditional music. The sound of music in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador is vibrant and even more so due to the people with the talent of being able to play the accordion.
Despite the chill in the air of the stadium, the night ended up drawing a large crowd. I have to commend the organizers as they handed out a schedule with important information, which included a floor plan. This helped people find the washroom, concession stand, bar, drink ticket area, seating area and designated smoking area. As well, the local Boys & Girls Club benefited from revenues sold at the concession stand. It was nice to see that monies would go back to a local cause and benefit the area’s youth.
The Music Festival brought a crowd of young and young-at-heart alike out to the floor. I had a great time meeting new people, catching up with old friends, having a glass of Screech & Coke, dancing and enjoying the life in the stadium created through music.
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
- Iceberg Festival Runs June 10-19, 2011 (liveruralnl.com)
Rural Newfoundland & Labrador has talent. I stand by this statement, which I had written in July 2010 after attending the Big Droke Idol as part of the annual Big Droke Heritage Festival. There was a diverse range of talent – with some very young vocalists singing to background music, to more veteran singers using the squeezebox and those that needed no music but their own. It was quite the night and array of talent.
Just moments ago, my friend messages me on Facebook with the following message:
Watch my Much Music video by following the above link. Copy the link to your facebook page so all your friends can watch too…..
Make sure you rate the video and share on the social networks.
If you have talent, join the competition. Release Your Inner Superstar!
Live Rural NL -
Newfoundlanders & Labradorian’s continue to roam the world, passing on talents, exploring and making history. I’ve been reading Old-Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland: Songs of the People from the Days of our Forefathers. Compiler and Publisher, Gerald S. Doyle (1892-1956) was one of Newfoundland’s most successful businessman, establishing a province-wide pharmaceutical and home products business. Additionally, he had a passion for preserving culture. His newspaper, “The Family Fireside” was provincially distributed, provided good advice and noted first-hand accounts about the social and economic conditions of rural communities, as well as promoted his products. He certainly was a very savvy businessman. He has done us all a remarkable service through his publications. We now have preserved in time these songbooks for us to enjoy, reflect and compare with current Newfoundland folk songs.
Newfoundlanders are known for being musical and having our own unique folk songs. Today, I will share with you “The Roving Newfoundlanders” taken from Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland
The Roving Newfoundlander
- As I was setting in my homestead on day
- while all alone,
- I was thinking of my countrymen and
- where they had to roam,
- From England to America, Australia and
- Where’er you go you’ll surely find a man
- from Newfoundland.
- They’re the pride of every country, good
- fortune on the smile!
- They climbed the heights of Alma, and
- crossed the river Nile,
- They sailed unto Vancouver, you’ll find it on
- the roll,
- And on the expedition went nearest to
- the Pole.
- It’s way out in South Africa where hogs
- they stand so high,
- They used their guns and bayonets the
- Boers for to destroy,
- Where cannons roar like thunder
- destructions on the plain
- You sons of Terra Nova, you fought for
- England’s fame.
- ‘was Nelson at Trafalgar the victory
- did gain,
- The Americans fought the Spaniards for
- blowing up the Maine;
- She sunk with all of her gallent crew,
- that gay and gallant band,
- They’re sleeping in their watery graves like
- sons of Newfoundland.
- When my mind been bent on roaming, ’tis
- something sad to tell
- Out in the mines of Cuba one of my
- comrades fell.
- His age had scarce been twenty-one, just
- entered in full bloom,
- On the eighteenth day of June was
- summoned to his tomb.
- They sailed the Mediterranean, I’ve heard
- the clergy tell,
- They went out into Egypt, from that to
- Jacob’s Well,
- They’ve fished the Northern and Grand
- Banks from every hole and knap,
- They are the tyrants of the sea, they
- fished the Flemish Cap.
- And now my song is ended, I think I have
- done well,
- My birthplace and my station I’m trying
- for to tell.
- I’ve spoken of every nation, I’ve freely won
- my race,
- I am a Newfoundlander belongs to
- Harbour Grace.
My grandfather at 80 years, passed away this June. He had a remarkable memory and ability to rhyme off anecdotes, jokes, stories, poems and other lines from days gone by. I only wish we had greater written accounts of all his knowledge and tales. He is sadly missed. So take time and write down that traditional song, story or event, it can help us preserve our Newfoundland & Labrador culture as we continue to advance in society. In the early 1900’s we may have been required to own a newspaper company to reach the mass of a province; however, today we have social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and others to reach the world.
Live Rural Newfoundland -
Newfoundlanders’ & Labradorian’s are well-known for their strong work ethic, craftsmanship, hospitality and of course, ability to perform.
This weekend marked the opening of the 4th Annual Big Droke Heritage Festival (visit www.bigdroke.ca for complete schedule). I rushed from work to attend the opening ceremonies. It was certainly a real treat for those able to be at the Big Droke Interpretation Centre. The opening performers were students of Viking Trail Academy’s Youth Choir, their voices angelic and their traditional tunes, spirited and touching. This group had stolen the limelight from Festival Organizers, Board Members, Politicians and other special guests. No spoken words were as powerful of those youth in that room. The power of music and the future in our youth is a bright shining star!
Dinner followed at the Plum Point Motel. A delicious serving of Fisherman’s Brewis was to be had, served with homemade pickles and the freshest of rolls. Tea or coffee was to compliment the choice of bakeapple, blueberry or partridge-berry tarts for desserts. The meal was delectable. All this was enjoyed by the sounds of very talented local entertainment strumming on their guitars. What more could one want, great food and songs in the company of friends. Well…there was more…
Around 8:30, “Rose” had dropped by to pay a visit. Rose is quite the character in these parts, with her well endowed top and bottom, splashy make-up and attire, all complimented with a firecracker personality and some witty humour that would light the place up. Yes, Rose made my night. I could not hold back the laughter, and neither could the others in the audience. Rose has an incredible talent to make others laugh – through her stories, jokes, song and silly antics. She was also complimented by fisherman Skipper George (pronounced Jaarge), who captivated the audience by sharing our local dialect and interacting to engage in some tongue-twisting. This led to 10 CFA’s (Come From Aways) to want to be screeched-in to become Honorary Newfoundlanders (for ceremony and significance, refer to earlier blog post, entitled “Black Gold”). It is pretty safe to say, that George and Rose left an impression with these 10 people, that this moment will be forever engrained the highlight of their vacation.
On Saturday night, I listened to the Wade Hillier Band at Thirsty’s Lounge. A little disappointed with the number people making their way out on this night, as the band really put on a show. They even played some of my favourite tunes. One specifically stands out from Ryan’s Fancy, “Candlelight & Wine” (click for youtube clip).
Last night I attended an evening of Music & Friends and Big Droke Idol. For the many in attendance, all eyes were watching, ears listening and lips smiling as they heard local resident Mr. Kean tell stories of the first settlers; Mr. Doyle play his squeezebox (accordion) and sing some karaoke; Ms. Hartery perform traditional Newfoundland songs, including a counting song that garnered the audience’s participation; Mr. Kennedy was on hand to play guitar, with a special talent to pick up the chords for any song; Ms. House sang a number of songs; Ms. Caines, 74, got up to share a tune among other singers, performers, storytellers and joke sharers. It was an evening to remember, to reflect of where we came from and where we are. Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Sinnicks performed and had the crowd cheering. Special Guest Singer from Cape Breton Rita McNeil even made an appearance. Well it wasn’t really her, but if you didn’t know, it would have been difficult to tell. This woman was remarkable, her beautiful voice, body movements and hand gestures had everyone’s attention. Not to mention the entrance and blowing the crowd kisses.
This was followed by an IDOL competition, with contestants ranging in age from 19 – 76. Imagine how much from we have in Rural Newfoundland. Stay young, fun at any age and share your talent, experiences and abilities.
After watching the acts, I realized Rural Newfoundland’s Got Talent. Does this mean the CBC & NTV television stations need to jump on the reality band wagon to give us our own show. The answer is…NO. However, we should take time to truly appreciate the talented people around us, that make contributions to our culture and heritage. Some preserve, while others help it evolve.
Still searching for my musical talents -
Friday, July 23, 2010.