Tag Archives: Abby Woodhouse

GBCS Battle of The Bands Becomes Music Madness

by Bill Monahan

The bi-annual showcase of musical talent from Georgian Bay Community School in Meaford, known in the past as GBSS Idol, and now Music Madness returns in a new form this year, with the first round of eliminations happening at the school this Friday.

All grades from nine to twelve will be represented in a range of styles that include trios, duos, solos, all-girl and all-boy bands.  Featured performers will include Emma Wright, Mira Woodhouse, Max Breadner and Owen Kearns, and among several other acts adding up to sixteen competitors.

Bands like Tears For Ophelia and the Ted Brownlow Band, and solo artists like Abby Woodhouse and Greg Smith have emerged from past contests at the school.  This year’s show includes performances from Sweet 16 and Elite 8 (the bands, not the basketball teams).  It’s always exciting to see these young performers in their early stages.

This year’s competition has been organized by the students’ Music Council, which gets together every Monday at lunch time to plan events.  It will follow a different format from past, a “bracket” system similar to sports tournaments.  A pair of acts will face off in a series of rounds that eventually will come down to two acts.  Each round is decided by the audience and the favourite will move on to the next round.

In a second show at the school on May 11th, the acts will be narrowed down to the Final 4 and the
Top 2 before the winner is decided.

The first round of competition starts at 7 p.m. on Friday Apr. 13 in the cafeteria at GBCS.  Tickets are $5 at the door.

Return to Front Page for today’s update

Kimberley Community Out In Force To Support Meaford Refugees

There was a hint of spring on Saturday evening and on the steps of Kimberley Hall, down at the bottom of the Beaver Valley, the bagpipes of Michael Findlay resonated through the village calling people to gather for the celebration.  It was the special fundraiser organized by the Meaford Refugee Welcome Group, promising a variety show with an array of local talents.

The MRWG had been formed a year and a half ago with the goal of bringing a Syrian family to our community to escape the violence of their homeland.  Just over a year ago, Hanan and Rajab Al Sheayer came to Meaford with their four children.  Since then they have settled into the community with the children embracing school and mom and dad completing a year of ESL courses and starting a business selling their delicious Syrian food.  Now the support group wants to bring Hanan’s sister and her family here as well from a refugee camp in Lebanon where the children  of the camp sell flowers and gum to try to eke out a meagre living.  There is some urgency to this effort because the youngest boy in the family is suffering from cancer and his life might be saved by access to the cancer treatment centre at Sunnybrook.  If sufficient funds can be raised by the end of this month, it means the family can be brought to our community this year.  The event on Saturday night in Kimberley was designed to bring the community together to raise awareness and funds to make another miracle happen.

The hall filled with bustling neighbours early in the evening, soon reaching capacity.  Before the music even began there was a sense of celebration.  The enticing aroma of Syrian food, prepared by the Al Sheayers and offered free to everyone, filled the hall, along with the excited murmer of conversation.  Master of Ceremonies and one-man technical crew, Chris Scerri, hustled to set up the sound system.

The early part of the evening offered a succession of singer-songwriters with the emphasis on youth.  Songwriter Greg Smith, who is quickly establishing a reputation for his unique story songs, started off the evening, playing with enthusiasm and joy even though his songs were somewhat buried in the acoustics of the room and the audience conversation.  He was followed by Abby Woodhouse who was last year’s winner of GBSS Idol.  She sang a number of country covers and her version of “I Fall To Pieces” was particularly impressive, coming closer than most singers can to the emotive power of Patsy Cline’s original.  Isaac Goodings followed with a strong performance of originals mixed with covers.  Then, to cap off the solo acoustic part of the evening there was a big jump in age when Bill Monahan sang a few originals and got the crowd pumped up with a rousing version of “Jambalaya” and a Bo Diddley song.  Things were hopping from then on.

The exciting rhythmic sounds of klezmer music from Broken Bagel Scene had people up and dancing in the few spaces available.  That was followed by some piping from Michael Findlay, a couple of songs from Michael O’Connell, and then East Back Line, the band built around the songs of Paul Allan and David Marshak from Beaver Valley, with Beaker Granger on drums.  They had everyone dancing.  Chris Scerri joined them to sing some songs at the end of their set, Hartley from Broken Bagel Scene joined in and the evening climaxed with a jam of “I Shall be Released”.

It was a big success for everyone concerned and brought the Meaford Refugee Welcome Group closer to their goal.  If you missed it, you can still contribute through a tax deductible contribution by cheque to:  Christ Church Anglican Meaford, with MRWG in the memo section.  Christ Church Anglican, 34 Boucher St E, Meaford, ON N4L 1E3.

Return to Front Page for today’s update

Fourth Annual Mapleplaooza Turned to Fundraiser

Next Saturday, March 18th, the fourth annual Maplepalooza concert at Kimberley Hall is being dedicated as a fund raiser for the Meaford Refugee Welcome Group.  The group, originally organized by Cathy Miller, the pastor at Christ Anglican Church, and several prominent caring citizens, brought the Al-Sheayar family to Meaford just over a year ago and has helped them to settle in.  The family is doing very well.  The children are enrolled in local schools and have enjoyed various summer camps. The parents are attending English language classes, and are working to establish a specialty food business. Now they want offer the same opportunity to extended members of the family: Hanan’s sister, her husband and 4 children.

The rules have changed since the original push by the new Liberal government to meet their campaign commitment of bringing 20,000 refugees to the country within a few short months.  For this application, due this month, the government requires that the group raise a minimum of $32,000.  They are hoping to reach a target of $50,000, with the money going toward resettlement costs of the family and the first year of their living costs.  Donations are tax-deductible.

Maplepalooza has been an annual celebration of tree-tapping season organized by Jonathan Robinson in the great little community of Kimberley down in the bottom of the Beaver Valley.  He’s invited friends to come to his sugar bush to tap trees during the day and then party with him that night at Kimberley Hall to the sounds of live music.  This year his generous spirit has turned the party into a benefit concert to help raise funds for the new refugee initiative.

Looking Back At Meaford Live Music in 2016

This website was launched on Canada Day in 2016, and in the half year since then more than 7,500 visitors like you have made more than 12,500 visits to find out what’s going on with live music here in Meaford.  In the 264 posts archived here since then you can read about our local musicians and remember summer nights of music here in town. (Try the search engine on the right).

The kickoff on Canada Day had a whole day of music arranged by Johnny Roy, with the evening to kick off the Meaford Summer Concert Series that Chris Scerri had arranged.  It turned out to be a rainy day so the Market Square had to be abandoned.  A stage was set up in the Rotary tent and an afternoon of evening led to a great evening concert with Tyler Yarema and his Rhythm.  Following rock bands River and Rock and the Shane Coulter band, Emma Wright was the first of Meaford’s young people to participate in the summer concert series.

 

The rain couldn’t dampen Canada Day

Shane Cloutier Band

Beaker Granger with River and Rock

 

 

As the Summer Concert Series continued through several summer Fridays the young performers were consistently impressive.  Two high school bands, The Ted Brownlow Band and Cry For Ophelia, played to enthusiastic crowds and singers Abby Woodhouse and Max Breadner took some impressive solo turns.  The visiting bands that came to play at those events fell in love with Meaford and returned later in the summer to play a night at The Leeky Canoe.

Cry For Ophelia

The Ted Brownlow Band

Max Breadner with a little help from his friends, performs at the Meaford Summer Series

Open stages at various venues around town kept a steady stream of local talent before Meaford audiences.  The long standing Wednesday jam at Ted’s Range Road Diner rocked on but now other times were available for fresh talent to take the stage.