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Anything for Money

Bideford artist Nan Ferrier accepts an unusual commission

by Sue Gallant

Nan Ferrier paints a satellite dish at a property in Warren Grove

It’s not easy painting a work of art outdoors, onto the concave surface of a large, tall, disused, satellite dish. The job is made even more challenging with a pot-bellied pig hanging around at the base of your ladder, passing the time by using the structure upon which you are precariously balanced as a convenient backscratcher. It’s the kind of highly unusual commission that some artists faint-of- heart might shy away from, but which Nan Ferrier of Bideford says she greatly enjoyed this fall.

“In early summer I was commissioned to paint a picture of the original, old Warren House and farm, in Warren Grove,” said Ferrier. “The present owner is Adele Peters. Later in August, Adele again contacted me and wondered if I could paint a mural onto a large, non functional satellite dish in her yard.” Always ready for a challenge, Ferrier gladly accepted, and made a number of proposals for the subject matter to be included onto the mural, of which Peters chose one.

Following a chance telephone conversation between friends later that day, Ferrier was joined in Warren Grove by fellow artist Richard Vickerson of Charlottetown. “I just dropped by to take photographs,” Vickerson explained, “I then offered to help reach some of the high spots and ended up doing the (background) areas of colour.” Vickerson says it was a unique experience and one which he enjoyed.

The finished satellite artwork depicts rural countryside and features animals owned by Peters, all of which live at the Warren Grove property. Those animals include: Porky the farm pig; Lilly the pot-bellied pig (Ferrier notes Lilly smiles a lot); Molly the mare and Spirit her foul; and Duke the Dalmation dog.

Both Ferrier and Vickerson signed the dish when the mural was completed, and Peters is thrilled with the result. “I am telling you, it turned out just lovely,” says Peters, “just excellent. I am so proud of it, I show it to everybody.”

“It was a wonderful day and a great experience,” says Ferrier. “I think Nan should apply for a Canada Council grant and go across the country doing it,” suggested Vickerson. Would Ferrier consider doing more satellites, if asked? “Sure! Anything legal for money,”she replied, laughing.

A Tribute to Henri

Memorial to the late Joseph-Henri Gaudet installed in Tignish

by Sue GallantJ. Henri Gaudet inside the St. Simon and St Jude Church, Tiginish.

A permanent memorial and tribute to the life and work of the late, great, Joseph-Henri Gaudet, has recently been installed within the Tignish Cultural Centre.

Gaudet was an outspoken, colourful, controversial and deeply spiritual man, who worked tirelessly to preserve his region’s history for prosperity. He received many prestigious awards for his work, including the Order of PEI in 2000, and posthumously, the order of Canada in 2002. Gaudet died in 2001 at the age of 69, after suffering for many years from diabetes. He now rests in the graveyard of his beloved St .Simon’s and St. Jude’s Church, Tignish.

Although Gaudet left school in grade seven, he later became a teacher; a career which was to span three decades. Gaudet’s private passions led him further to become an accomplished organist, genealogist, antiquarian, historian and published writer. He fought in vain to preserve the original Dalton School/Museum from demolition. When the historic building came down in the late nineties, he was devastated and refused to leave his house that day. A 30 minute video presentation featuring Gaudet speaking knowledgeably and proudly from inside the former school/museum, is part of the memorial tribute now on display to the viewing public.

Jamie LeClair is Manager of the Tignish Cultural Centre: “The Tignish Historical Preservation Foundation Inc. was excited when we received funding from the Community Museum Association of Prince Edward Island to create a permanent memorial to J. Henri Gaudet,” LeClair told The Buzz. “Members of J. Henri Gaudet’s family were honoured and touched to have this done. This exhibit is to recognize the contribution, dedication and Henri’s many years of tireless work to preserve history and collect artifacts in our community. The Tignish Historical Preservation Foundation Inc. is proud of Henri’s accomplishments and honoured to have this exhibit in the Interpretive Centre in memory of him.”

Thanks for memories

Memories of the Rat Pack

Review by Sue Gallant

They set the style and pace for 1950’s America. They were known collectively as The Rat Pack. They were: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. A live musical tribute to the first three and most famous members of The Pack, delighted audiences at the Harbourfront Jubilee Theatre in Summerside this July and August.

Memories of The Rat Pack, co-created, directed and managed by Chris McHarge, is a polished, entertaining, professional, and downright enjoyable show. How disappointing for Jubilee management it must be therefore, that certainly on the second-from-lastDean Hollin as Frank Sinatra in Memories of The Rat Pack at the Jubilee Theatreshow, the 528-seat theatre was probably less than one half full.

McHarge, a native of Hamilton, Ontario, has been directing in Canada for over 15 years. He is the co-creator of a number of musical tribute shows besides Memories of The Rat Pack, including Doowop to Motown, Memories of Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, and Impressions of the Moulin Rouge—all have toured extensively in Canada.

Memories of The Rat Pack, performed in two fifty minute acts, is a celebration of the lives and music of the legendary three. The audience learns about the men and their times pre-Beatle mania, and is treated to thirty of the threesome’s more popular songs.

Those in the audience too young to remember the fifties with any clarity, may be assured that Sinatra, Martin and Davis Jr., mannerisms, appearance and comedic timing, were replicated on stage with astounding accuracy.

In real life, Sinatra was King Rat: on stage at The Jubilee, Martin (played by Derek Marshall), usurped him. Marshall crooned and swooned, constantly flashing a set of perfect pearly whites, as he flirted with the audience; all the while staggering drunkenly, in true Martin style. Marshall hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia. His bio boasts a BA from Dalhousie and a diploma in musical theatre performance from Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario.

Shane Philips (Davis Jr.), is billed on Memories of the Rat Pack promotional literature, as one of Canada’s most promising soul artists. On stage at The Jubilee, Philips' performance almost equalled Marshall’s—but not quite.

Last, but not least, the singing and acting abilities of Dean Hollin (Frank Sinatra) were superb. Unlike Marshall and Philips though, somehow or other Hollin didn’t quite make the grade visually with regard to the character he was playing.

Memories of The Rat Pack was a terrific show with talented performers; well-worth the $30 ticket seat admission price, certainly for the more affluent tourist, and even for those of us struggling along on an Atlantic Canadian living allowance.

The Edge

US and Canadian visual artists explore shared exhibition theme

by Sue Gallant

 Seagull Edge, by John Burden. Acrylic on canvas

A definition of the word edge, when used as a noun, is the line where something begins or ends. It’s a definition recently explored in great creative detail by five Maine, and nine Island visual artists. The result is an impressive combined exhibition at the Cultural Centre in Tignish.

The Edge: where land and water meet, is a collaboration between visual artists on both sides of the Canadian/US border. This major exhibition includes more than fifty works, all of which are for sale. When The Edge leaves Tignish, it will be exhibited in Maine.

Janelle Delicata is the artist responsible for co-ordinating and bringing the U.S. arm of The Edge to Western Prince Edward Island. It was a casual, chance meeting and discussion on the arts, between Delicata and Island artist Roy Dyment, that gave birth to The Edge exhibition on view in Tignish throughout the month of August this year.

“The edge of anything is a powerful place, a place of change and possibility, where anything can happen,” says Delicata. “In my wanderings I am attracted to the edges of places. (For the show) I chose five sites that seemed especially powerful to me. The smooth sand beaches of Georgia, the bold coastline of California, the shipwrecking cliffs of Yorkshire on the North Sea—these places have spoken to me and caused me to remember and think about them.”

South-West shore, rocks view Matinicus 2003, by Carol Sloane of Washington, Maine. Oil stick on paperDelicata’s Edge works are executed using mixed media on paper. The four fellow US artists exhibiting alongside her are: Jill Disque, Mark Lazzari, Carol Sloane and Melita Westerlund. Prince Edward Island artists contributing to the show are: John Burden, Lesley Dubey, Roy Dyment, Nan Ferrier, Sue Gallant, Kerras Jeffery, RoseMarie Jones, Deborah Kerr and Karl MacKeeman. Island participation in The Edge was made possible with funding from the provincial Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the support of the West Prince Arts Council.

Meteor Model

Island ship-building history created in newspaper and home-made glue

by Sue Gallant

Loretta Ross of Bideford proudly shows her papier-mache model of the Meteor, made in ten weeks at Ellerslie Community School Loretta Ross of Bideford proudly shows her papier-mache model of the Meteor, made in ten weeks at Ellerslie Community School this year.

Her name was the Meteor. She was one of the last, magnificent, wooden sailing ships to be built and launched from the Bideford wharf in Western PEI, in 1892.

The story of the Meteor, a three-masted brigantine, so touched the life of current Bideford resident Loretta Ross, that at Ellerslie Community School this year, Ross decided to embark upon building a model of the Meteor—out of newspaper, flour and water.

The demise of ship-building marked the end of an important and prosperous era for this region, known locally as Prince Edward Island’s Westcountry. The area was so called after the shipbuilding, Westcountry region of South West England, from whence many of Bideford’s then inhabitants came.

The Ross family had relatives who worked on building the original Meteor three generations previously; they also own a model of the Meteor acquired in the 1930s. The making of such models was apparently common practice for ship builders prior to producing the real thing. The Ross family have loaned their original Meteor model to the Bideford Parsonage Museum where it is now on permanent display.

Loretta Ross signed up for class instructor Deborah Kerr-Cook’s, papier-mache making class in January of this year. Over the period of the next ten weeks until mid-March, professional artist Kerr-Cook, guided Ross in the fascinating art of creating beautiful sculpture using torn scraps of newspaper layered together with gluppy bowls of homemade glue.

As Ross’s model of the Meteor began to take shape, she could be seen enlisting more and more assistance getting the thing out and in her vehicle in the school’s parking lot, at the beginning and end of each Wednesday evening class. The impressive finished model stands one metre thirty centimetres in length and one metre high.

When Ross agreed to a Buzz interview to showcase her handiwork, she disclosed two further twists to this story: husband Tim is a long-time, Prince County delivery driver for The Buzz. Ross also decided that after being asked to do the interview around week seven of the ten week community school project, it would only be fitting to use out-dated, surplus, Buzz magazines to finish the job—several layers in fact.

Exile and Return

Moncton artist Finton Wade opens exhibit at Musée Acadien

by Sue Gallant

Finton WadeFinton Wade of Moncton is a man who quite obviously enjoys life. He smiles and laughs a lot. The man’s sunny disposition is utterly contagious. Wade is a proud Acadian; a retired elementary school teacher; a musician; singer/songwriter; and a visual artist with an undisguised passion for Acadian history.

An exhibition of Wade’s work, entitled Exile and Return, opened recently at the Acadian Museum in Miscouche. It is Wade’s first visual art exhibit ever and runs until July 31. At the well-attended exhibition opening, Wade gave a loud, live performance of music and song that was intimately intertwined with fifteen of the sixteen works of art displayed on the walls in the room.

Wade first began writing the music in 1977 as part of a mini-opera celebrating Acadian history and years later became inspired to paint the images in his minds eye. He set about producing the sixteen paintings that go to make up Exile and Return. He did the work at astonishing speed, over a period of approximately five weeks, commencing August 2003. All the images are 61 x 61cms on presswood, using oil, pastel and crayon. They explore Acadian culture and history; specifically the Acadian expulsion by the British, centuries ago.

Wade then wrote a further eight songs, making a total of fifteen, each one about a separate painting in the collection. There is one song still left to be written. “I am going to ask another Acadian to compose that,” Wade told The Buzz.

Wade likes to share his passion out, and just cannot quite shake off the teacher thing. “I am a teacher,” he says, smiling broadly and shrugging his shoulders by way of explanation.

Exile and Return is a lively display. This writer would like to hear Wade’s music playing in the same room the paintings are hung, until July 31st when the exhibition ends. The two belong together, long after the artist will have returned to home shores.

Shooting Digital

Video production workshop series presented in Tyne Valley

by Sue Gallant

Kent Hardy and Blake Oatway of Ellerslie are currently taking part in the first video production workshop at Tyne Valley CAP site.

Wannabe film directors are getting a chance to learn the craft at Tyne Valley Opportunity Centre & CAP Site. The first in a series of film-making workshops is currently underway there, with a second scheduled for April.

Over a period of four, three-hour, workshops, participants each make three, one-minute productions. They view demonstrations and take part in discussion on sound recording, camera technique, lighting tips, and editing, as well as enjoying plenty of hands-on learning with the equipment. Six participants use three cameras and three editing suites to shoot and edit each one-minute production.

“The goal of the workshop series is to enable each participant to produce video on their own, using digital video equipment,” says workshop instructor Ken Williams. “Quality sound and lighting will be stressed as well as editing skills essential to creating video that is presentable and of a high quality. It is anticipated that participants will be able to use the skills they learn to produce documentaries or short videos.”

One minute autobiography—This is the first exercise in the workshop and gets participants familiar with the camera, DV transfer, and basic editing using Adobe Premiere. Each autobiography is structured using standard questions and also some open questions. Each participant takes a turn shooting and being interviewed.

One minute sequence of events—Shooting a sequence of events such as walking into a building, using a PC, then leaving, is broken down into about fifteen sequential shots. Setting up the camera for each shot and editing in order to establish a flow and continuity are the goals of the exercise.

One minute experimenting with lighting—Each participant chooses a lighting effect to shoot a close-up of themselves: dark one side; back-lit hair; obscured face; shadowy eyes, etc. Next, participants take part in a group effort to shoot using light effects such as the three point light set-up. Advanced camera techniques such as tracking and panning are considered.

The Tyne Valley CAP Site digital video production film-making workshop series has been made possible with funding and support from the Tech PEI Innovation Fund. Additional partnership support and funding has also been received from The West Prince Arts Council and Rural Community Learning Incorporated. Technical support is provided by the Island Media Arts Co-op.

A second series of workshops commences early April. Info: 831-3136.

PEI Folk Music Centre

by Sue GallantThe currently-vacant, historic Forbes home in Tyne Valley, built circa 1890, has been chosen to house the new PEI Folk Music Centre. Work on improvements and additions will begin in the spring of 2004. The Centre is expected to be in operation by 2005.

The Chairman of the Board of the soon-to-be-established PEI Folk Music Centre, says he anticipates the new facility will open its doors in late Summer 2004, and be in full-fledged operation by 2005. “Once complete, this new Centre will be a popular destination for our many visitors and for Islanders themselves,” says Myles Ellis.

The PEI Folk Music Centre will be housed in the historic Forbes home, located in the heart of Tyne Valley. The building has been vacant for a number of years. It used to be run as an Inn in the 1980s and 90s. Contractors will begin work on improvements and additions to the building as it now stands, in the Spring of 2004.

The new Centre will interpret the traditional music of the Island through display, instruction and performance. It will encompass all the musical traditions present on PEI, including Scottish Gaelic, Mi’kmaq, Irish, Acadian and British, as well as profiling home-grown musicians.

Ellis said the idea for the new Centre grew out of discussions amongst members of the planning committee for the Larry Gorman Festival, held (usually) annually, in this region.

Gorman was born in Tyne Valley in 1846. He was a colourful individual with a talent for writing songs that often featured fellow community members. It is just such as this rich Island tradition of story-telling and song-writing, that the new Centre will explore and keep alive.

The former owner of the building chosen to house the new PEI Folk Music Centre, is actually mentioned in one of Gorman’s most popular and well-known songs, “The Shan Van Vogh.” The title of the song is Gaelic and means, poor old woman. Gorman and his mother were living and working in Tyne Valley at the same time as Donald Forbes who later owned the Mansard-roof style house, built around 1890.

The PEI Folk Music Centre as envisioned, will have a strong emphasis on contemporary song writing. It will also provide opportunities for the songwriters and composers of tomorrow. The Centre will offer a wide variety of workshops, in conjunction with UPEI. The Centre will also feature permanent, interactive and traveling displays.

Funding for the PEI Folk Music Centre has been provided to the tune of $800,000 through the Strategic Community Investment Fund of The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. PEI’s Provincial Government is providing $200,000 over a two-year period.

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