Harmony Concerts Come to Perth! - theHumm June 2021

Harmony Concerts Come to Perth! - theHumm June 2021

By Kris Riendeau

Although this last year or so has been exceedingly tough on artists and performers, we are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. One very positive sign is the announcement of a new concert series taking place at Studio Theatre Perth! Organized by Ottawa-based Harmony Concerts, the series will open with Lynn Miles in late-June and continue right through to December with a fabulous line-up that features fiddling, folk, jazz, blues and more. We (very excitedly!) contacted Harmony’s head honcho Jan Fox to find out more.

theHumm: When I first saw your line-up I thought “wow – that’s ambitious!”, but then I checked out your website and found that you’re actually building on several years’ experience in bringing live music to Eastern Ontario. What made you decide to branch out to the Valley?

Jan Fox: Simply put, the Valley is rich in art and culture, and we felt it was a great place to complement what was already happening. We actually wanted to move into the Valley in 2020, but with Covid unknowns that spring it didn’t make sense. We also realized that going into 2021 would come with challenges, but we wanted to begin making it happen while following all guidelines set out by the Provincial Government.

Our move to Perth Studio Theatre specifically came when one of the supporters of the theatre planted the seed. That initial conversation blossomed into more discussions with Theatre representatives to secure a partnership to enhance music in the Valley.

How does partnering with Studio Theatre Perth benefit both parties, as well as the performers?

It’s a win-win-win! Harmony Concerts is presenting a diverse line-up of performers and events, and STP provides us a home-base to start branding in the Valley. We want people to see a presentation by Harmony Concerts and have the confidence it will be good, even if they don’t know the performer. We have been very successful doing this in and around Ottawa, Cornwall, Morrisburg and Brockville regions. It is a logical move to the Valley.

The performer may have no following in the Valley, but confidence in HC presentations will bring new followers to them. We also realize that people may have no idea who Harmony Concerts is or what we do, and some of our performers are well known to the Valley and across the globe for that matter. Those performers will draw a crowd because of their own brand, and patrons will then learn that Harmony Concerts presents great music and events.

Over the years the Studio Theatre has hosted occasional concerts, and people are starving for more. The reputation of the STP in the community is a win for both HC and performers, and we will work hard to give the people confidence in the music presentations there.

Running a successful multi-venue music promotion business has got to take a combination of experience and real passion. How did you first get drawn into the live music world, and what was it that prompted you to take the plunge and become a promoter?

It’s like a person becoming a veterinarian because they “love animals”. I love music and going to events, and I’m at a point in life where it’s time to do what I always enjoyed. Life is too short! I absolutely love what I am doing with Harmony Concerts — it doesn’t pay any of my bills, but it isn’t supposed to. This is about community for me — part of the community is the performers, part is the patrons, part is the people I work with, and part is the joy everyone feels when the show is on! It is 100% fulfilling. And to top it all off, I get to enjoy all of the events and amazing artists too.

I worked for a couple of years with some festivals and promoters around Ottawa. I learned a lot of things, including some things to avoid. But I thoroughly enjoyed the work and what it was all about, so I took the lessons — the good and the bad — and formulated something that seems to be working. There is no intention of ever becoming a large concert promoter. I do present some events in larger theatres in Ottawa and Cornwall (Susan Aglukark, Men of the Deeps, Sultans of String), but that is the max. I love concerts, but I prefer the more intimate settings where you feel like you’re part of the show rather than one of thousands. I want to give patrons that experience, so they really capture what the artist is offering.

Tell our readers a bit about the line-up of entertainers you are bringing to Perth.

We’ve got a great line-up planned — some of which may be rescheduled because of restrictions — but we will present them all in 2020. I wanted to kick the series of with one of Canada’s most awarded performers, Lynn Miles. She is well known throughout Eastern Ontario and of course the Valley. Nobody, I mean nobody, is ever disappointed after a Lynn Miles concert. She is not only an amazing musician, but also absolutely hysterical.

Some of the performers, like Heather Rankin and Catherine MacLellan, are performing in our series in Morrisburg, so I hired them to perform in the Valley as well because their music is appealing here and they are driving a long way, so why not give them a second night of fun!

Anna Ludlow is a “blow your mind” fiddler who was the principal fiddle player in the longest-running production of Come From Away. Lynne Hanson is so entertaining and part of HC’s “staple” line-up — she has been there from the start and I often bounce thoughts off her.

To add some jazz to the lineup, Kellylee Evans, Roddy Ellias and Pete Woods are three logical performers. Kellylee and Roddy perform together; Pete has put a trio together to perform an evening of wartime jazz favorites. These are amazing artists who deserve the stage!

I like bluegrass (as I am confident many in the Valley do), and one of the best bluegrass groups around is The Barrel Boys. These guys are amazing and two of them live in Smiths Falls.

In the series I do at the winery in Morrisburg, I was introduced to a performer, Marleen Fawcett, and it was clear that she had what any stage needs — great music and a keen grasp of her audience. She has been a regular for HC in Morrisburg and I know she will be a hit in the Valley. The Christmas show Marleen does with her band Mountain Breeze is really a great way to get ready for the season.

In addition to individual concerts, you are also launching the inaugural “Blues on the Tay” festival at the end of October. How will that differ from the format of your regular shows?

I want to premier a mini-festival called “Blues on the Tay” that I plan to expand to a multi-day, multi-venue outdoor event when larger crowds are allowed. I booked Suzie Vinnick to headline one night and Miss Emily another. Both of these women have had great impact across Ontario (and beyond) with their music. I sought out other great performers to complement the line-up, and Angelique Francis from Ottawa really caught my eye. And in Ottawa blues aren’t blues without Tony D, so that was a great addition.

This will be the first step to a larger event, one I hope becomes a staple in the Valley. This differs because people can buy a weekend pass, a day pass, or attend an individual concert.

For tickets and up-to-date information on this year’s Harmony Concerts in Perth, visit harmonyconcerts.ca .


Frank Sammut —Fine Wood Working - theHumm June 2021

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

Kokopelli Custom Woodworking is Frank Sammut’s celebration of the natural beauty and wonder encapsulated in the trees that fall on his 87 acres of bush lot near Maberly. His lifelong fondness for working with his hands has culminated in a passion for creating one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture that showcase nature’s beauty. Wood speaks to him. And he creates poetry in response.

Frank’s artistic tables and benches are as much sculptures as the......


Warden Proclaims June as PRIDE Month - theHumm June 2021

Warden Christa Lowry (Mississippi Mills Mayor) has proclaimed June as PRIDE Month in Lanark County and encourages residents to reflect on the ongoing struggle for equality faced by members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community while celebrating the contributions that enhance the county.

The proclamation expresses support for every citizen to experience equality and freedom from discrimination, and notes all people, regardless of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, genetic characteristics or disability, hav......


Seeds(or, Tiny Bodies with a Determined Will to Flourish) - theHumm June 2021

By Susie Osler

It is mid-May. Late Spring. The air is pulsing with life. The miracle that is migration parades a blessing of beautiful birds back to parks, forests, streets and yards, along with their chorus of songs telling us, again, to listen, look, and revel in Life. Amongst the flurry of feathery delights, another migration of sorts has also been underway. Postmarked packages containing thousands of little genetic bundles criss-cross the continents on flightpaths of their own — from seed producers to the mailbo......


Rural Root’s Comedic Double-Feature - theHumm June 2021

After winning the Ottawa Faces Magazine People’s Choice Award for Favourite Theatre Company, Rural Root Theatre Company is hard at work bringing live theatre to the community again.

Rural Root’s third virtual production is a comedy extravaganza that features Dagny Jackson’s Fishing for Fate and Peter Paylor’s Tea with Roger. It is being presented live via Zoom on June 3, 4 and 5 at 7:30pm and on Sunday, June 6 at 2pm. The show is free, and you can choose your date by visiting ruralroot.org .

Imagine hailing a cab only to f......


Pop Up Summer Theatre - theHumm June 2021

By Juli Heney

Studio Theatre Perth is happy to announce a plan to return to live theatre at the end of summer — but in a new, Covid-friendly, engaging and exciting way!

During the weekend of August 28 and 29, there will be 10-minute plays popping up all over downtown Perth and in a few other select locations. We are joining forces with Kanata Theatre in presenting plays that were developed through a playwriting workshop facilitated by award-winning playwright Guy Newsham.

There will be......


Gayle Kells:Rooted in Time - theHumm June 2021

From May 26 to July 2 (leading up to Canada Day), Sivarulrasa Gallery is pleased to present Rooted in Time, an intriguing installation by Ottawa-based artist Gayle Kells that uses art to explore Canadian identity in the 21st Century. Kells was born to two Lebanese Canadians who both had parents who immigrated to Canada at different times. The installation can be viewed virtually until the current lockdown is lifted; at which time we will open our doors again to in-person view......


Art in the Garden
2021 Event Allows for Social Distancing
- theHumm June 2021

Art in the Garden is back at Kiwi Gardens this year in an extended format following Covid protocols. From June 18–20 and 25–27, come wander their 10 acres and find delightful art for enhancing your home garden, produced by local artists, artfully displayed in shady woods and on sunny lawns. Bring your parasol and come for a stroll!

Art in the Garden is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9–5, but tickets and car passes must be purchased for specific time slots to ena......


Destination: Downtown Smiths Falls - theHumm June 2021

By John Pigeau

When things slowly begin opening up again in Smiths Falls, folks in the area will have a whole lot to be excited about — and it’s safe to say that Amy Rensby, owner of C’est Tout Bakery, might be a little more excited than most. 

She has good reason to be.

In June, C’est Tout Bakery — the little bakery that could — is set to become the first commercial tenant to open its doors at the newly restored and renovated Rideau Hotel on Beckwith Street. Understandably, Amy is pretty thril......


Abstract + Landscape
An Interview with Sarah Moffat
- theHumm June 2021

By Kris Riendeau

There’s a tangible sense of optimism brewing amongst visual artists and galleries in our area. After months (and months) of moving-target restrictions, many are eyeing mid-June as the time they might be able to begin the gradual return to “normal”. One artist and gallery owner who has already chucked “normal” and set her sights on “better” is Sarah Moffat sarahmoffat.com . Sarah has spent the past several months doing major renovations to h......


Invasive Perennials — Buyer Beware! - theHumm June 2021

By David Hinks

I find that gardeners who choose perennial flowers to grace their yards and gardens face a bit of a dilemma. One the one hand gardeners want plants that will thrive; on the other hand they want plants that will be well behaved. Many people go into gardening with perennials believing that it will be effortless — put in the right plants and your new perennial border will be maintenance-free.

Not completely true! I find that the essence of gardening is really our desire to “shape unruly nature” to e......


Harmony Concerts Come to Perth! - theHumm June 2021

By Kris Riendeau

Although this last year or so has been exceedingly tough on artists and performers, we are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. One very positive sign is the announcement of a new concert series taking place at Studio Theatre Perth! Organized by Ottawa-based Harmony Concerts, the series will open with Lynn Miles in late-June and continue right through to December with a fabulous line-up that features fiddling, folk, jazz, blues and more. We (very excitedly!) contacted Harmony’s......


Mom is On Your Shoulder! - theHumm June 2021

By Glenda Jones

Listen here, You! You can’t do whatever you please and think that no one is noticing. Your Mom is noticing, and she refuses to stay silent any longer. You’re being a bad person when you abuse others, send nasty emails or anonymous Tweets. Your Mom knows, and by golly, you are going to pay! She definitely doesn’t approve of your behaviour. You know full well what’s worse than a darn good spanking, don’t you? It’s when Mom stands in front of you, with her arms crossed, and quietly says, “You’ve disappointed me. I thought you were better than that.” Yikes, you’ve been reprimanded big time. A......


Algonquin History Plaques
Longstanding Indigenous Presence Recognized
- theHumm June 2021

By Andy Fisher is with the Lanark County Neighbours for Truth and Reconciliation

Thousands of years before European settlers arrived in what is now called Lanark County, Algonquin/Omàmìwininì People thrived in these lands. When Samuel de Champlain first encountered Algonquins in the 1600s, the land was not empty. Rather, the Algonquin People had complex social and political structures for governing their homeland. These structures worked at an individual and collective level to maintain balanced relationships within the Natural World, fulfilling the Algonquins’ responsibilities t......


Your Resource for Local Climate Questions & Action
- theHumm June 2021

By Chandler Swain

If you’re wondering what’s going on in Lanark with Climate Action and how you can contribute, consider this: municipal governments control or influence half of all greenhouse gas emissions produced locally.

This is good news as we try to figure out how to help create the changes needed to confront the Climate Crisis. There is significant headway to be made to address these issues here in Lanark County. We have the capacity and the power to do this. But where to start?

For the last year, membe......


Pandemic Puppetry and the Art of Playing - theHumm June 2021

By Danielle K.L. Grégoire

When I first moved to Almonte in 2007, it was for what I called my favourite Ps: Poetry, Puppetry and Pottery. I was lucky to live there when the Puppets Up Festival was in full swing, bringing thousands to our fair town, and right now I am revelling in the memory of those giant crowds and all the children laughing and experiencing the joy of puppetry. I moved away to Seattle in 2012, and when it came time to return to Canada there was only one place I wanted to be: the town where I h......


Cycling in Miss Mills - theHumm June 2021

Ever consider joining a bicycle group so you can share some of your rides with others? Maybe now is the time to get organized for when the Covid restrictions end. Many of us will haul out a bike this spring. Some will ride to do errands around town, a few to commute to work, others to explore the beautiful quiet roads and trails in the area, while still others will enjoy a long, hard workout. Hopefully, we all do it for pleasure. Sometimes we prefer to ride solo and sometimes the kil......


Just the Tip
An Interview with Tattoo Artist Sarah Wright
- theHumm June 2021

By Kris Riendeau

Over the years, I’ve learned that when one artist highly recommends another, it’s generally a good idea to follow up on the tip. In this case, the tip came from Kaajuk Kablalik, who is profiled in the April 2021 issue of theHumm. Along with the headshot for his Artist Trading Card, Kaajuk sent along a photo of his tattoos (shown here), which were done by a visual artist and graphic designer living with their four kids on a small homestead in Brooke Valley. I followed the link to their website


Go Jump in the Lake, Kids! - theHumm June 2021

By Sarah Kerr

This month’s Little Humm topic was an easy one after many weeks in lockdown with my family. We’ve all been feeling the need to tell each other to go jump in the lake this month — figuratively and literally! I don’t know if you’re in the same boat or if you need a dinghy at this point, but since we’re all enrolled in a provincial three-step program which involves nothing social until at least mid-month, I thought the best lifeline I can toss your way is to share a little backwoods tour of sw......


Lanark Prideis Now County-Wide! - theHumm June 2021

By Elizabeth Snyder

Pride in Lanark County this year looks entirely different from 2020. Last year, community organizers were still reeling from the pandemic and trying to maintain a small semblance of normalcy and ......