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World Renown Youth Choir Visits the Great Northern Peninsula

The Saltwater Joys – Tour of Newfoundland & Labrador presented by The Munich Youth Choir set the stage that drew a large audience at the Bird Cove Community Centre on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 7:00 PM.

It was wonderful to see nearly 200 people come out for this event that had limited marketing in the region.

They opened the event to all and accepted donations. It was nice to see the inclusiveness and variety of all age groups from a few years to the mid-eighties. I was fortunate to be able to sit in the audience. I have attended operas, musicals, theatres and other special performances in Europe; however, this was my first by youth. It was a very empowering experience!

A production that promotes the exchange and share of culture. We were greeted with German music, British, English, Japanese, Australian, African, Classical, Popular Culture and even tunes from Newfoundland & Labrador.

I was captivated by their rendition of “Yesterday” by the Beatles. For me this was completely unexpected. I really did not know the aptitude of this group and their talents. I was pleasantly surprised. They utilized different instruments, including a bone drum, tambourine and keyboard accordian. Celebrate Life made me smile, enough that I purchase their “Folk CD” and have played it in my car to and from work for more than 1 hour.

Music is the universal language – Re-quoted by Blair Gaulton, Tour Organizor

The Sister Act tunes really were upbeat! It was also a first hearing a song recited in Japanese. Although, I truly enjoyed hearing the Newfoundland Tunes of “Danny Boy“, “I’se da By’s” and one of my favourites “Saltwater Joys”.

They were impressive! It reminded me of being at the Opera House in Prague, Czech Republic watching a Grand Performance, when you realize that you are in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador at the local community centre. The World has come to us, to share with us their talents and we had the opportunity to share with this group from Munich the rural lifestyle. I have been on an exchange, lived, studies and travelled Europe visiting nearly 30 different countries and there is much value in meeting, learning and sharing ideas with others.

The Munich Youth Choir was given the opportunity to meet and hang out with locals, travel the peninsula, visit Icebergs and even meet Rose. Rose is a local resident, well – Crinkle Cove, I think? She provided some light hearted humour while the band played traditional Newfoundland & Labrador music including the “ugly stick”.

The group easily broke into dance with the group. There was much positive energy, harmony and happiness in the room with each others company. Rose lead the way to provide a re-vised version of the Screech-in, making each visitor an honourary Newfoundlander by dressing, dancing, eating, talking and drinking Purity Syrup and kissing a cod fish.

Pucker Up!

After 3 hours at the center, I was deeply rewarded for contributing my time and making a donation. In turn was exposed to music, art and culture from a very talented group of individuals. I had taken away many photos, a couple of cds and the cherished memories of being there for something wonderful.

Communities came together, people were happy and we have an opportunity for more growth. Rural Newfoundland & Labrador is a good venue beyond the large urban centres for culturally significant events and entertainment.

A special thank you to the Munich Youth Choir, organizers, sponsors and local groups such as the Big Droke Foundation. St. Barbe Development Association, Going Healthy Program – Bird Cove and the Town of Bird Cove.

For those of you that missed the performance, you can drop by sometime for a cup of tea from the Dark Tickle Company and listen to the music. There is opportuntiy for Rural Newfoundland & Labrador to exchange talents, hosting a multitude of learning vacations.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher C. Mitchelmore


Rural Communities are Stronger Together – Keep Government Accountable

On June 16, 2011 – Jim Diers writes “Building Strong Communities Means We Can Hold Government to Account” the complete article can be found at:

“Community is the engine room of people powered change; although there’s a role for government and other agencies with staff and budgets, there is no substitute for people identifying with and caring for one another and the place they share.” Jin Diers

The Great Northern Peninsula is stronger when we work together. Despite a small population and vast geographical distance, we have been overcoming barriers and working together in larger groups – with our partners. It is easier to reach our objectives, share-knowledge, skills and volunteers to achieve our goals for individual communities and regions.

One only has to look at St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. (SABRI) to realize the success on can have when communities work in co-operation. I wrote an article on April 17, 2011 entitled, “Community Control Over Resources Leads to Greater Success in Rural NL ( In 1997, when the Federal Government released its new fisheries management plan, there was an allocation of 3,000 tonnes for the 16 communities (17 at the time) on the northern part of the Great Northern Peninsula. They included the communities from Big Brook (now re-settled) to Goose Cove that had lobbied for a share of the increased quotas. Having this resource in the hands of the communities, enabled SABRI to make local decisions that would provide the greatest benefit to residents of the area.

They were able to develop the many trails and gazebos, including the ones in Goose Cove that led me to view the Massive Icebergs. Additionally, millions were invested in infrastructure, hundreds of jobs created directly and many more indirectly in the region. SABRI is truly a local success story on the Great Northern Peninsula that was given a small allocation of 3,000 tonnes and manage it effectively to provide the greatest benefits to the people of their region. They should be commended for the work they do and the significant impact they have made.

Another example of communities working together is the Northern Peninsula East Heritage Corridor, consisting of a network of communities that work to build their tourism assets. As a collective unit they have been able to create a number of reasons for people to spend their vacation visiting their Towns. I know I have been to Englee, Roddickton-Bide Arm, Conche and Main Brook many times visiting the Underground Salmon Pool, Walking Trails or French Shore Culture Centre.

The Eagle River Credit Union is another success story of communities working together and deciding its needs. St. Barbe Consumer Co-op, Flower’s Cove and Grenfell Memorial Co-op, St. Anthony continue to exist because of its ability to serve their members.

Communities decide on what it values and what it needs to add to be happy. We have unique ideas in Rural NL and solutions to fill voids that do not always register or understood by the Government. There is a wealth of creativity, ingenuity and knowledge in our rural economy. Our suggestions do not always require hiring a consultant – sometimes it is a matter of good common sense.

I have written past articles asking, “Where are our Farmer’s Markets?”, “Where are our Social Spaces?”, “Where is Our Community Murals?” “Where are the Community Gardens?”. These are all small measures that can help with rural revitalization. These measures generate revenue, can help re-train employees and lead to long-term growth in various industries. Enhancing the community advances tourism and attracts a climate for further business development.

“Strong communities are the key to holding government accountable for protecting the rights of the most vulnerable. Social justice never comes from the top-down. People must be organized to support one another but also to demand that their government provide what the community can’t or shouldn’t do for itself. There are some things best done by community, some by government, and some that can only be accomplished by working in true partnership.”Jim Dier.

When communities come together and collaborate for the common good of everyone, there is greater success. We are beginning to see local groups with common interests, working closer together to share finite resources. We only have to look to co-operatives and how they have thrived in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. We need more local co-ops (agriculture, forestry, fishery, crafts, tourism), as well as collaboration from communities, businesses and government. There is room for everyone to play a role. Everyone has a strength and everyone deficiencies – so Together We Can Change the World!

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