Tag Archives: Meaford Hall & Culture Foundation

Meaford Musical Community Shines In “The Last Waltz”

Review by Bill Monahan
featured photo courtesy of Patti Kendall

On Saturday night at Meaford Hall, “The Last Waltz – Meaford Style” was a celebration of our musical community unlike anything that has been seen before.  A complete sellout more than a month in advance, the show featured a cavalcade of home grown talent that was equal to any visiting talent that has graced this great venue, and the audience loved it.

The template for the show was the famous Martin Scorcese film from 1978 that documented the last concert by The Band, with all of the performers who had been part of that celebration represented here by local talents.  It was actually the 41st anniversary of the original concert, which took place at Winterland in San Francisco on November 25, 1976.  The film set the bar high for a group of local performers who had little more than a month to practice.  They rose to the occasion. The band was tight, often indistinguishable from their model, and each performer who contributed tributes to the other performers did a stellar job.  The energy from the audience matched that coming from the stage.

Jaret Koop photo courtesy of John Scerri

A few of the vocalists stood out with their ability to mimic the originals to an uncanny extent.  Drew McIvor’s take on Doctor John’s (Mac  Rebennack) “Such A Night” had that New Orleans drawl down cold, and Jaret Koop perfectly captured Rick Danko’s anguished vocals on “The Shape I’m In”.

Fran Bouwmann photo courtesy of John Scerri

Fran Bouwman did a great take on Joni Mitchell’s “Coyote” (and even looked the part), and Tom Thwaits version of Neil Diamond’s “Dry Your Eyes” sounded like the real thing.  John Hume reproduced not only the vocal parts but the keyboards (that beautiful Hammond organ sound) with fidelity.

Sandra Swannell photo courtesy of John Scerri

Others added their own special talent to the songs that reflected what they bring to music.  Sandra Swannell’s violin solos on “Acadian Driftwood” and the encore “I Shall Be Released”, and Emma Wright’s vocals on “Evangeline” were spine-tingling standouts.  Chris Scerri’s vocals, of course, are 100% his.  He’s a belter and his style made new versions of the songs he covered.

 

Two Communities Meet At The Arena

Two communities will come together at the Meaford Arena on October 12th, the date of the Home Opener for the Knights of Meaford hockey team.  For the first time, the game will be kicked off with the national anthem performed live.  The singers performing the anthem will from our local musical community, a practice that will continue through the season at all home games.

Emma Wright will be singing the anthem at the first game.  She is an obvious choice, not only because of her talent but because she has sung the anthem for several years at the Canada Day ceremonies in Meaford.

The idea originated with Jason Acres, Marketing Director for the team.

“Every year we try to make out program better,” he says, “In years past we’ve had a DJ, but this year we’ll be bringing in someone to sing the anthem.”

To find the singers to perform, Jason turned to Chris Scerri Presents.  Chris was happy to take on the task, a chance for him to do something different from the big shows that he has been bringing to our community.  For him, community is what it is all about.

“It’s a great way of bringing the two worlds together,” he says.  On the one hand it will make local music fans more aware of our local hockey team, and as he says, “hockey fans will learn to appreciate that there is a lot of live music and great local talent happening in our town.”

The Second Annual Summer Concert Series Returns to Meaford

The Meaford Summer Concert Series which takes place in the Market Square (beside Meaford Hall) will be returning this year with another exciting lineup that combines acts brought in from outside the area with local artists to create a free event on select Friday evenings through July and August.  Once again the series has been organized by Chris Scerri (now Chris Scerri Presents.com).  Last year’s series was the catalyst that initiated an impressive growth in live music locally, and, incidentally, was the reason for this website coming into existence.  Once again a number of sponsors have stepped up to make the series possible, led by the Meaford BIA and the Meaford Hall & Culture Foundation.

“One thing this year that’s different,” says Chris, “is that we will not only include young local artists, but there will be other opening acts to give local artists a chance to participate.”

Cry For Ophelia beat out a dozen other contenders to win the Battle of The Bands

The Ted Brownlow Band

The youth contingent last year was an important part of the series, showcasing some of the incredible talent that has emerged from Patrick Delaney’s music program at the high school.  It included the Ted Brownlow Band, a previous GBSS winner of Battle of The Bands, and Cry For Ophelia, a band which won this year’s Battle of The Bands and has been booked to be part of Meaford’s Canada Day Celebration.

Another change this year is that the same artists that appear as openers for the headliners at the main stage in the Market Square will head across the street afterwards to perform for the evening at The Leeky Canoe, which is one of the sponsors of the series.  Last year it evolved that visiting bands enjoyed themselves so much performing in the Market Square that pretty much all of them extended the night by going to The Leeky afterward.

One of the by-products of last year’s series was that the headliners who were brought in to play, most of whom had never performed in Meaford before, liked it so much they have returned often to play Meaford again, helping to create the buzz which is making the town’s reputation as a centre for live music.  The most notable of these is Tyler Yarema, often performing with Gracie.  They have become an integral part of the fabric of live music in Meaford and Tyler has worked with Chris to create a number of amazing shows through the year.

“I’m always hoping they’ll come back to Meaford one way or another,” says Chris of the out-of-town artists, “whether at a venue or a festival.”

You’ll learn a lot more details about the concerts by keeping an eye on this website so stay tuned.

There has been a lot of growth in interest in live music in the past year, not only in Meaford but in the surrounding area.  Meaford’s reputation for live music has grown to the extent that it will be included for the first time in this year’s Peak To Shore Festival sponsored by Blue Mountain Village.

The Thursday Outlook – May 4, 2017

If you’re planning on going to see Jamie Baxter at The Red Door in Meaford tomorrow night you’d better get there early.  Last time he played there the place was packed.  Not only does he rarely perform here in town but it is rare to see anyone who can play virtuoso level classical guitar like he does.  He starts at seven and it’s all over by ten so bring your friends and grab a table early.

Jon Zaslow is a quiet and unassuming singer-songwriter but he is an excellent guitarist and impressive songwriter and singer.  He’s part of a trio called The Travelling Thornburys.   He’ll be co-hosting the jam at The Leeky with Chris Scerri tonight.  Saturday night at The Leeky, Bored of Education, Meaford’s most popular party band, is playing their big catalogue of songs from several eras.  That will be a good place to keep up the energy after Chris Scerri and friends rev you up at Meaford Hall with Rockin’ the Hall, Volume 2.  This is the same bunch that blew the roof off the Opera House at Christmas and this time they’ll be each playing the music that means the most to them.

Rockin’ The Hall, Volume 2 is part of the Grand Reopening Event running from Friday through Sunday at Meaford Hall.  Friday night is An Intimate Evening With Sean McCann.  Since leaving Great Big Sea and setting his own course, Sean has applied his talents to music that is more personal and moving but still imbued with that distinctive Newfoundland flavour.  And then on Sunday you’re in for a very rare treat with the world renowned throat singer/electronics performer Tanya Tagaq.  When you’re at Meaford Hall, check out Adventure Canada, who are co-sponsoring the weekend and donating a trip to Sable Island to be auctioned off for the benefit of the Meaford Hall & Culture Foundation.  Place a bid, or just talk to them about their outstanding wilderness tours, contextualized by the presence of musicians, writers and others who accompany every expedition.

So much great music, so little time!

Why not make it a Jayden Grahlman weekend?  He’ll be a special guest at the Rockin’ The Hall show on Saturday, but you can catch him doing his own thing at Bruce Wine Bar on Friday.  Then on Sunday afternoon he will be augmenting a big band show with Great Lake Winds at Central Westside United Church in Owen Sound.  This is the annual spring concert of Great Lakes Winds, an ensemble of brass, woodwinds and percussion players of all ages specifically created with the goal of developing talent.

The development of choral talents is celebrated as well this weekend with Tara Mackenzie’s various choirs and her drum ensemble both tonight and tomorrow in a concert at The Harmony Centre called Songs From the Big Blue Marble.  These groups as well as the Great Lakes Winds welcome new participants.