BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: Good coffee, good music, and some of North Durham’s best art can all be found at the Piano Cafe, during the Port Perry Artists’ Association’s (PPAA) brand-new exhibit.
Located at 217 Queen St. in Port Perry, the Piano Cafe will play host to the work of 15 local artists, and include a range of representational and abstract pastels, water colours, oil paintings and acrylics.
The Standard sat down with PPAA President Karen Fox to learn more.
“The Piano Cafe is the perfect venue for us to display our work - it’s well attended by both Scugog’s tourists, and the local crowds,” said Ms. Fox. “I’d like to personally invite anyone who loves good food, good coffee and good art to stop in!”
The Piano Cafe exhibit is a new project for the PPAA, brought about by the relationship between Christy Stone-Curry, owner of the popular coffee house, and grandmother Ruth Stone - one of the founding members of the PPAA.
“We have artists of all skill levels and affinities, but we would love to bring some new and younger members into the fold,” said Ms. Fox. “Artists and dabblers from across Durham Region are welcome to take advantage of what the group has to offer!”
For more information, readers are encouraged to contact Karen Fox via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the PPAA on-line at ppaaart.blogspot.ca, or stop by one of the group’s meetings - held every Tuesday, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., upstairs at Vos’ Independent, located at 1893 Scugog St.
Ice sculptures of carousel horses are enjoying the recent frigid weather, sitting outside of the Port Perry Post Office on Queen St. The sculptures were crafted from blocks during the Feb Fest event at Port Perry’s Latcham Centre - and have since found a home in the downtown core. BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
Scugog artists are ready to show off their wintertime talents at the Scugog Council for the Arts gallery - 181 Perry St. From left, Stan Wojtaszek, Ron Peter, and Livy Peter attended the opening of the SCA’s latest show - ‘Winter’ on Feb. 7. Winter is a compilation effort from more than 20 North Durham artists. The show will be hung for the month of February. BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
WYNN WALTERS |Special to The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Spring is scheduled to come to Uxbridge starting on Sunday, Feb. 22. It’s being brought to town by the Uxbridge Chamber Choir, in a concert designed to lift the spirits and drive away the winter blahs.
“It’s all about light-hearted gypsies and flowers, and upbeat music,” says Mark Fabbi, the choir’s president. “Our last concert was somber and reflective, appropriate for Remembrance Day, so we thought a change would be good for mid-winter.”
The main work on the program will be a series of light and bouncy songs revolving around gypsies and love, called “Gypsy Songs” (or Zigeunerlieder) by Johannes Brahms.
The cycle of 11 short songs is performed with a very dynamic virtuoso piano accompaniment, played by Anne Mizen Baker. “It’s a real pianistic workout,” says Anne, “but a lot of fun.”
The theme of the concert is “The Art of the Song”. The choir, directed by Thomas Baker, will also perform three other cycles of songs. There will be the “Five Flower Songs” by Benjamin Britten, which speak of the coming of spring and summer. Three songs by Samuel Barber have a little more sombre tone.
Of particular local interest is the cycle of works by Canadian composer John Beckwith called “Sharon Fragments”. The texts are from the writings of David Willson, founder and patriarch of the Children of Peace, in Sharon, 25 km. west of Uxbridge.
Willson came to Canada as a farmhand in 1802. Religious visions and disagreements with the Quakers led him to found the Sharon Community.
Many Uxbridge residents will know of the Sharon Temple, completed in 1832, which still serves as a venue for concerts and as a museum. “The Chamber Choir has sung in the Sharon Temple in years gone by,” said Tom Baker, “so it is fitting that we revisit the music associated with this local landmark.” Willson wrote the texts for some 600 hymns, and was ahead of his time in championing education for girls and respect for Jewish people.
The sect dwindled and died after his death; but the temple in Sharon remains in its place.
The Chamber Choir concert will be held at Trinity United Church on Sunday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. Tickets ($20, $15 for students) are available at Presents, Presents and Blue Heron Books, and at the door.
For further information, please contact Wynn Walters at 905-649-3330.
JONATHAN VAN BILSEN Special to The Standard
Anyone who has ever written an article, a book or a short story knows how difficult and frustrating such a task can be. Writing a drama or adventure essay is nothing compared to the challenge of writing a children’s book, an art form truly mastered by this month’s Next Chapter’s author, Neil Crone.
Many people know Neil as a comic and an actor and he has starred in dozens of television series, movies and theater productions, where he played many roles from his veteran days at Second City to Fred, the crusty Radio announcer on Little Mosque on the Prairie. Not to mention his recent role as the prosecutor in Murdoch Mysteries where he tried to have sweet Julia thrown in prison.
I was stunned to learn that Neil has written children’s books and when I read his latest, The Farmer’s Secret Midnight Dance, I was shocked by the sensitivity Neil captured in the story. It starts with a little boy, fast asleep in his bed, awakened by the sound of distant music. He dons his slippers and climbs out the window to a moonlit hill where he witnesses a group of local farmers standing in a circle around a bonfire. At the stroke of midnight the farm animals come out and on this particular, magical night, they are able to speak. The farmers convey their respect and love for the animals and share their dependence on them. The soiree concludes with a dance where everyone participates.
I asked Neil how he began his witty and sometimes provocative writing career and he explained that he has always enjoyed writing, but when he moved to Sunderland with his young children, and was surrounded by farms, he decided to begin writing poetry for the pleasure of his kids. Years later he pitched the verse and after many rejections was finally accepted and the book was published.
So what is next for Neil Crone? “I am putting together an anthology of letters; it is a collection of my own writings. Both emails to friends while I was undergoing my bout with colorectal cancer and some articles that I wrote at the same time,” Neil explains. “The letters will help people with the dreaded illness cope and understand their experiences better.”
In the photo (left) is a knitted shawl presented to Neil by several ladies who had heard of his illness and decided to knit and present it to him after a theatre production. “You can never imagine how much that gift means to me and how much I appreciate the gesture of those sweet ladies.” A sensitive side to a great actor.
THE NEXT CHAPTER is a monthly feature of the Standard newspaper and is written by author and photographer Jonathan van Bilsen. His work can be viewed at photosNtravel.com
_Clockwise from top, Karina Bray, Adam Sinclair, Mitch Tones and Mike Murczek were just a few of the Port Perry H.S. alumni to bring their variety of talents on-stage on Sat., Jan., 31 - during ‘With a Little Help From My Friends 2’.
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard