What I like best about blogging is feeling free to write about whatever seems most important or interesting to me at the time I sit down to my computer. So this week, as I am still coming down from my high over the Festival of the Arts we planned, organised and executed and which turned into such a fabulous success, I’m going to tell you a little about the weekend and post some pictures of the various events.
We opened the festival on Friday night with a reception in honour of our sponsors and supporters at which Cobourg’s poet laureate, Ted Amsden, read his poem that celebrates Canada 150 and the town of Cobourg. This was followed by a staged reading of De Beaux Gestes & Beautiful Deeds, a musical play in which the playwright, singer-songwriter Marie-Lynn Hammond, performed and sang 10 of her original songs.
It is a moving piece; as Marie Lynn said, it’s “about my French and English grandmothers, who on the surface seemed like opposites. But both were funny, passionate, strong, and loved to dance. As to how they felt about the marriage of Elsie’s son to Corinne’s daughter…”
This was disclosed to a sold-out, enthusiastic audience on November 3rd. The central character, Marie-Lynn, playing herself, sings that she has an English head and a French heart, but is finally able to reconcile the two sides of her family in her last song: ‘…two voices can become a single heart that speaks as one/and their songs still echo down through time to me…’
The book fair, organised by Kim Aubrey, and art show by Judy Hopkins opened on Friday evening and drew visitors all through Saturday. One of the events which attracted a crowd was the Great Portrait Challenge. Mandy Bing’s inspiration involved five artists who signed up to paint Member of Provincial Parliament, Lou Rinaldi, who graciously sat from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The artists had to finish their portraits by 1:00 and Mr Rinaldi, who was to choose his favorite, asked if he could have them all!
Workshops were scheduled all day Saturday and participants were excited by the ones they attended. I and fourteen others were deeply engaged by Melody Crowe’s presentation, called Land, Language and Culture. Melody is an Elder of Alderville First Nation and has worked for many years to preserve and expand the use of the Ojibway language. Others enjoyed Follow the Line with Kim Aubrey, Making Faces with Susan Statham, Writing Memoir with Diane Taylor or Self-Publishing 101 with Jennifer Bogart. In the lunch hour, a panel, moderated by Alan Bland with speakers Shane Joseph, Ronald MacKay and Cynthia Reyes, shared their views on “Art and Migration”.
And finally on Saturday night there was the concert and launch of Hill Spirits 111 another sold- out success with the talents of local musicians and some of the writers who contributed to the anthology on display.
The festival committee, who worked together for 18 months to put on the event, and became a close-knit team were ecstatic. Some, it is said, even spoke of “the next time we do this”.