Category: Hamilton-Brantford (page 1 of 2)

Bring on the Carols!

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It is the time of year when we dust off our favourite Christmas themed songs, the ones we don’t sing the other 11 months of the year, and let them loose in public. Christmas carols have a way of creating impromptu ensembles out of neighbours and choristers out of usually reluctant singers.

If you are anywhere near Guelph, Hamilton, Cambridge, Kitchener, Toronto or Ottawa, here are some ideas of where to go to share in some seasonal and participatory music:

 

Sing along with Sam & Jane

Friday, December 14. 8-10 pm. *Holiday edition*

Magnolia Café 88 Yarmouth Street, Guelph

Reservations recommended, but not required: 519.766.4663

Cover: $10

The usual singalong, plus a few holiday songs & carols!

http://all-together-now.ca/

 

Mill Race Folk Society presents Pub Carols with the Orange Peel Carollers.

“These carols are not the standard Christmas stock we hear piped into every mall; they are often more boisterous and secular in nature than the familiar fare. . .

If you would like to hear more, or better yet come out and sing along with the group, they invite you to join them at the Kiwi on Sunday, Dec. 16, from 3 P.m. to 6 P.M. Admission if Free, but donations for the carollers are welcome.”

47 Dickson Street, Cambridge

www.millracefolksociety.com

 

For Ottawa folks Lee Hayes will be leading the pub caroling at Irene’s (885 Bank Street) for the next three Sundays (Dec 9, 16, 23) 4:30 – 6:00 pm

“Pub Caroling is a northern Yorkshire tradition of singing ancient 3 and 4 part Christmas songs. We’ve created our own tradition of singing rare holiday songs and you’re invited! Free!”

 

Hamilton Folk Club Christmas Club

Tuesday, December 18  8 – 11 pm

“An open stage night with added Christmas spirit: extra raffle prizes, some performers doing seasonal songs (serious or funny), that sort of thing. Hope to see you there!”

www.hamiltonfolkclub.ca

 

Corktown Uke Jam – Holiday Party Theme Night

Wed December 19

Dominion on Queen

500 Queen Street East, Toronto

8pm Workshop WITH STEVE McNIE

9:30 – 11pm Open stage & group jam

http://torontoUKES.com/console_calendar_rpt.php?mn=00&en=1309#.ULkF–01jpM

 

Black Walnut Club

“Next month on Friday, December 21 we’ll be back for another Acoustic Open Stage with a Christmas flavour, treats etc.”

216 Mill Street, Kitchener

Friday, December 21, 2012 8-11 pm

Admission: $3

http://blackwalnut.wordpress.com/

 

Hamilton Folk Club Christmas Club

Tuesday, December 18  8 – 11 pm

“An open stage night with added Christmas spirit: extra raffle prizes, some performers doing seasonal songs (serious or funny), that sort of thing. Hope to see you there!”

www.hamiltonfolkclub.ca

 

If you have a December event where folks are welcome to come sing post it in the comment section below or on the Open Stage Adventure facebook page.

Enjoy the music! Keep each other warm!

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite Christmas songs, by Canadian songwriter Chris Maclean:

 

 

 

Supercrawl – James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario

This weekend (September 14-15), Hamilton transformed a long stretch of James Street North into a concert and street party venue. For a day and a half the street was closed to cars to allow thousands of music and art lovers to enjoy Supercrawl. The festival hosted dozens of musical acts on four stages and filled the neighbourhood with drama, dance and visual arts installations and performances. Organized busking stages collected money for Warchild, the charity Supercrawl chose to sponsor at this year’s event.

Highlights for me: Terra Lightfoot, The Born Ruffians, and Owen Pallett.

  

Also the creative and thought provoking installations here and there throughout the venue.

 

Part of the street entertainment was “unofficial” busking. One unfortunate result of buskers setting up too close to each other was that their sound competed and it was hard to enjoy either one.  I liked this unscheduled and impromptu part of the festival but some better location planning or even a friendly agreement to take turns playing sets would have solved that minor irritation.

The breathtaking Circus Orange

To Supercrawl organizers, volunteers, artists and performers – congratulations for reclaiming some street space (even temporarily) for art and music.

The Open Stage Adventure – a second fun-filled year!

It’s great to look back on a year of music when you know there’s more to look forward to . Since last June I have visited 25 events in 12 towns. It seems the more places I visit the more I hear about – for every gathering spot that has ended (sorry to hear of Alliston’s Groundswell Café closing its doors) several new initiatives spring up (for example, the Open Mic & Jam at the Ivy Arms, Milton and the Two Rivers Song Gathering, Guelph).

I appreciate the emails people have sent me with their own recommendations of a jam or open mic to check out. It’s great to get leads for new adventures and inspiring to hear about how much these places mean to people in their musical and personal journeys. Over 2700 of you dropped into the Open Stage Adventure last month and I hope to hear from more of you!

Some highlights:

The Hamilton Folk ClubFor longevity

The longest running open stage I visited this year has been going since 1982 (edged out the Free Times Café by one year).

 

 

The Cornerstone Campfire SessionsFor group participation

This venue stands out for having the most audience participation – so much so, that there wasn’t really a distinction between performers and audience. You’d be hard pressed to find someone in the establishment who wasn’t raising their voice, shaking a shaker or strumming an instrument.

Monday Night Deliverance – For high calibre music

Although I’m not a regular, the times I happened in on this event I was treated to songs by both up-and-coming and seasoned performers. I hear that one of the hosts, Christen Zuch, has started an open stage on Wednesday nights at the Embassy in Waterloo. I haven’t been there yet but it is definitely on the list for the next OSA season.

News Café, Niagara Falls – For youth talent

I was impressed with the songwriting and performing of the young people I saw at this venue (and it wasn’t just because two of them cheered when I took out my ukulele).

Venue: Hamilton Folk Club @ The Pheasant Plucker

What is the secret to longevity in an open stage? I thought a visit to the Hamilton Folk Club  – in operation since 1982 – might shed some light of this. Every other Tuesday night, musicians bring their instruments and voices to the Pheasant Plucker, just off James Street South in Hamilton. Host (and founder) Al Lindsay makes everyone feel at home and keeps the evening moving smoothly.

Pete & I were slated to do the feature set following the open stage. The big advantage of this order of events is that we were able to hear a fine fiddle player who we then asked to join us on a few songs – thank you, Steve!

   

As we sang and I looked around the room I didn’t see anything extraordinary that explained how they celebrated their 30 year anniversary in February. I saw friendly people, good quality sound, a comfortable room, very much in keeping with many of the clubs we have visited. Then Pete sang his song “Tuesday Night at the Copper Kettle”, a tribute to the jam where we are now regulars. When he got to the chorus: “Come on down, there’s always room for more, just park the world outside the door. Friendship’s on the house and the music’s free” I saw faces light up. The words paint a place where people come to share music, make lasting friendships, encourage, support and inspire each other. The song is about another place, a different group of people, but I could see that the lyrics resonated with them, that they told a story of self-expression and community that was very familiar.

So – our thanks to Al and the Hamilton Folk Club organizing committee for creating and sustaining a place where people can gather to share music and so much more.

[Hamilton Folk Club, The Pheasant Plucker, 20 Augusta Street, Hamilton; every other Tuesday starting at 8 pm; $3 cover, performers free]

Venue: Artword Artbar, Hamilton

The neighbourhood of James Street North in downtown Hamilton seems like a place in transition. It is a mix of run down businesses, vacant, boarded up storefronts, and vibrant shops, cafés, art galleries and fine dining from a variety of cultures. Just off James St N is Artword Artbar, described as “an arts hub, live music venue, artists’ hang-out”. In this unassuming brick building there is an open mic every Wednesday night. Owners Ron Weihs and Judith Sandiford make it a welcoming, familiar feeling place even on the first visit. The open mic has existed in different forms for about a year, becoming a regular event about 4 months ago.

This particular night was sparsely attended – as people came and went the house peaked at about 12 people. Ron added his fiddle to more than one piece and Judith’s poetry had an improvised bass and guitar accompaniment. I should mention that the desire to “sit in” and collaborate in this crowd is strong and if you don’t want freelance musical partners adding unexpected dimensions to your songs you need to be direct. There is a lovely baby grand in the corner for any keys players and a sound system to plug into.

I think this little establishment deserves a larger audience – all genres of music and spoken word are welcome.

[Artword Artbar, 15 Colborne St, Hamilton, every Wednesday 8-11 pm]

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