Fiddle grand master looks forward to live show

DanielGervais Photo

Masha Scheele

Life for performing artists has changed a lot over the last couple of months, but Daniel Gervais is looking forward to fiddling in front of a crowd in Hinton this weekend.

“I did a gig last weekend and it was really nice to play with real people, not just playing online. It felt really special so I’m looking forward to it,” he said about his upcoming performance on Oct. 24.

Gervais isn’t new to the Hinton area, he has performed in the community before, he has taken advantage of the Hinton Nordic Centre and its cross country ski trails, and he has also participated in the MS bike tour four times.

He was asked to come teach a fiddle workshop and perform in the community, and he was more than happy to do it.

“It will be a guitar and fiddle duo, so lots of toe tapping and high energy fiddle music, but also stories and jokes,” he said.

Gervais will be accompanied by Chris Tabbert, a talented guitar and mandolin player, and together they plan to sing a few songs and perform in a variety of different ways.

Concert-goers will hear some original compositions by Gervais as well as some of the classics.

In 2016 and 2011, Gervais became the Canadian Grand Master Fiddle Champion and he looks forward to showing off some different music.

“There’s obviously going to be fiddle fans there but some people just get tired of listening to an entire show of fiddling,” he added.

Tabbert will probably do a couple of features, and he also sings, Gervais added.

In any other normal year, he performs up to 150 shows, large and small, but since the pandemic hit, he hasn’t been out much. Luckily for him, he was able to continue teaching music, mostly online.

Gervais currently teaches as sessional faculty at MacEwan University in the jazz and popular music program, but also does private music lessons.

“I still have students in Ontario and Manitoba and then I teach at MacEwan University in the Jazz program, so that’s also mostly online,” he said. 

Most fiddle camps were cancelled this summer, but Gervais took part in a few that were offered online. Before the pandemic, he also performed in schools for kids.

“Teaching kept me afloat. Before, I would teach quite a bit but I was performing a lot. A lot of concerts and gigs, now that kind of flipped. Less performance and more teaching, but it’s really good,” he said.

While much of the country was locked down due to the pandemic this summer, Gervais also composed a little bit of new material and stayed busy with his newborn baby and three kids in online school.

“I have some ideas for projects but it’s not really a good time. And I’m also back in school, taking a degree in education,” he added. He hopes to teach music within schools afterwards.

Gervais was first introduced to the fiddle around a campfire when he was five years old. He was mesmerized and his mother quickly bought him a fiddle.

He now plays a variety of fiddle styles and classical violin.

A teacher travelled to Saint Paul, AB, where he grew up to teach him and later he travelled to Edmonton for classical music lessons.

“It’s my instrument of choice, it’s very expressive,” he added.

He played with the Edmonton Youth Orchestra and went on to create six albums, including three solo albums, and is a founding member of Trad’badour, a French-Canadian duo, with Roger Dallaire and Hot Club Edmonton with guitarist Clinton Pelletier. 

His most recent album called ‘Mostly Original’ includes all his original compositions, except for two tunes.

“The music is, I would call it fiddle style, but also blended with my classical music training,” he said. “A little bit of my personal voice, I would call it post-contemporary fiddling.”

He was inspired to create an album with mostly original music after some people at his shows told him they loved his original compositions and told him he should put them all on an album.

He added, it was also about getting into the studio and being true to himself.

Gervais has performed at the 2012 London Olympics as a cultural ambassador of Alberta and for a reception at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City. 

He toured with Zéphyr, a French-Canadian dance group, performing across North America and France, and has had several television and radio appearances.

Gervais completed a Master of Music degree in classical violin at the University of Alberta studying with Dr. Guillaume Tardif. 

During his studies, he was awarded a research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Gervais is offering a fiddle workshop for intermediate fiddlers from 1 pm until 4 pm on Oct. 24, as well as private fiddle lessons. His performance in Hinton on Oct. 24 starts at 7:30 pm upstairs at the Hinton Curling Club. 

Gervais will be accompanied by Chris Tabbert, who is offering a guitar workshop from 1 pm until 4 pm.

Only 48 tickets are for sale in advance of their performance for $25 and are sold in table groups of four for $100 total. The curling rink bar will be open.

Guests will be asked to follow all COVID-19 health guidelines, including wearing a mask until seated at the table.

Message Lois Carnell for more information on tickets or the workshops at, or call 780-865-0979.

Local artist featured at Joggins Fossil Institute

Image from Andrew Godsalve
Godsalve working on images from his Sigillaria project done at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs this fall.

Masha Scheele

A visual artist originally from Hinton is taking part in the artist-in-residence program at the Joggins Fossil Institute in Nova Scotia, this fall.

Andrew Godsalve is using his residency to work with photographic photomontages to show the geological structures and processes of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs of the area.

Godsalve initially found an interest in mixing geology and art through photography when he was studying for his undergrad in fine arts in Victoria.

“I just decided to go to the beach and photograph the rocks there, just taking these detailed images of the rock material, just pure geology. I found those photographs really exciting. Something about them really struck me and stuck with me,” Godsalve explained.

He worked with those images in digital software to transform them and connect art and geology.

While studying for his masters of fine arts at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) University, he developed the idea of connecting fossils and photographs.

“I had a few residencies on the Bay of Fundy before, in 2015, and in those sites I was able to work with outdoor photo installations,” he said.

He made photomontages on weather resistant print material that was able to be placed outside in areas where fossils would normally be found.

In each of his residencies, Godsalve responds to the environment through his art, and at Joggins, he is responding to the geological and paleontological history of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs.

“My work is all about geology and the past and connecting fossils to photography and the exploration of that,” Godsalve said.

He explained that most of the earth’s coal reserves come from the carboniferous period, a geologic period that spans 60 million years, starting 358.9 million years ago.

This period saw the appearance of the first extensive forests on Earth, and one of the key fossils at Joggins is the “Lycopod tree”, as Godsalve explained.

In the carboniferous period, these trees grew to be about 30 metres tall and today their living relatives are tiny club mosses.

These ancient giant trees would grow in dense swamp forests and when they died, a rotting hollow stump would be left over, Godsalve explained.

“The first reptile in the fossil record, that we know of, was found inside one of these stumps. So, that’s a really interesting history there that I wanted to respond to with photography and photomontage,” he said.

To do this, Godsalve photographed clubmosses, the living relatives of these ancient “lycopod trees.” 

He then manipulated and transformed the images in ways that are influenced by the geological structures and patterns of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs.

“Hopefully allowing people to see the fossils in a different way, not just rock. They can see the story the rock contains,” Godsalve said.

The photos he took of the club mosses were taken while he travelled from Hinton to Joggins.

“The way I’m kind of transforming the photographs is related to how the fossils are formed and look and the fossil forms you would find at Joggins,” he said.

Diagenesis study no.1: Carbonization – digital photomontage by Andrew Godsalve
This work is part of Godsalve’s Camera Sigillaria project done at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs and Parrsboro’s Main & Station in fall 2020.

One key area Godsalve wanted to explore was the connection between fossils and photographs and how they both capture evidence of past life.

“I’m interested in these hollow tree trunks as being kind of analogous to the camera lens, how a camera kind of fossilizes a slice of time by taking a photo, the way that actual fossils are formed,” Godsalve added. 

The public will be able to view his work while it is still in progress during an open studio day on Oct. 10. The main feature of the open studio is a photomontage series of large prints he developed that shows the process of coal formation.

There will be other pieces to see in the studio that are still a work in-progress.

“I will have prints that I’m starting to cut into into new shapes that will be going out onto the beach later in October,” he said.

On Oct. 24, Godsalve will lead a beach tour at low tide and show his audience the work that will be installed there.

That work will consist of photomontage prints lying among the beach, rocks, and sand, just as any other fossil would be found.

After his residency comes to an end at Joggins Fossil Institute, Godsalve will continue this project into November through his residency at the Main and Station Nonesuch Kickshaws Art Gallery in Parrsboro, also located along the Bay of Fundy with the same geologic history.

To follow along, find his instagram at @andrewgodsalve or view his website at

Godsalve obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria in 2012 and a Master of Fine Arts from NSCAD University in 2018. 

While at NSCAD, Godsalve developed his Master’s thesis project studying the common geological origins of rocks in Newfoundland and Scotland, and the interbedding of human and geologic agency within and across both regions, according to his website.

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald to play Hinton under the big tent as part of his Farm Tour

Masha Scheele

Live Music Returns

Singer songwriter Michael Bernard Fitzgerald begins his Farm Tour on Sept. 1 and is taking his venue with him on the road.

MBF will be in Hinton on Sept. 11, performing on private land in a large but cozy tent that allows for physical distancing and roughly 20 concertgoers.

“There’s blankets, there’s canvas cloths, and things like that that make it feel really good inside,” said MBF.

The intimate space allows for conversations between him and his audience but it still feels like a real venue when the music starts. It was important for him to connect with people face to face even if that meant really bringing the numbers down.

“You can have a conversation with people and talk about my favourite song or their favourite song or take requests and things like that,” he added.

He hopes to add to the tent over the next couple of years and eventually bring it to fun festivals and venues along the way as the world navigates its new normal. When things changed in mid-March, MBF was just finishing up his fifth record called ‘Love Valley’.

The final step of making that record was mastering, which is typically done by correspondence and wasn’t impacted in a big way by the restrictions of the pandemic.

“My first step was thinking if I was still going to release this music and if so, when?” he said.

Once he determined his plan, he went back to this tent idea he thought of prior to the pandemic.

After years of touring and performing in different cities, he said it all becomes very similar, and creating his own venue would change things up and allow for a bit more control of his performances.

The atmosphere of the tent and the calm sounds of his new album mesh perfectly for a unique experience. The capacity was already going to be lower due to the tent, but with the pandemic it was brought down even more.

His travelling tent venue is called “The Greenbriar,” and it started in the backyard of his Calgary home this summer.

He sold out fifty shows in five hours and an average of six people attended his micro backyard concerts each night.

“I started playing those and we looked at the tour again and we thought the tent could get bigger and the capacity could grow slightly and we’d start travelling the country again,” MBF said.

Figuring out how to safely host concerts within the guidelines of each province, while remaining adaptable to future changes, made it possible to organize the tour.

Most of his concerts will be set up on private farms or land near the towns and cities.

“I’ve never played in Hinton, it will be another nice thing of this tour is that we get to go to places where we’ve never been,” he said.

MBF took a bit of a break prior to writing his new album, and he spent it renovating a home in Calgary.

“I gave myself a little bit of time away to reassess and as soon as I was done with the house I went to work,” he said.

Together with Calgary producer Josh Gwilliam at OCL Studios he slowly ticked away at recording an album and writing every song throughout the past year.

“I wanted to paint this picture of where I wanted my life to go and I think that’s relatable to people,” he said.

Previous albums spoke to current or past experiences he’d gone through, but this album speaks about future aspirations and he allowed it to sort of be a prophetic tool, he explained.

“I just let my mind run with it and paint this picture with the lyrics and music that I really wanted to see and I thought you know if I’m going to be singing these songs hundreds and thousands of times, why not sing about that,” he said.

These songs could have the power to forecast and talk about what he’d like to bring into his life, he further explained.

He released his first song from the album on May 15, called ‘Our River’ and the second track came out July 10, called ‘I love that sound’. 

Our River was his most successful digital release across his career so far and he said it has been really fun to watch those songs come out this summer. Another two songs will be released Sept. 9, and the full record will come out Oct. 9.

His favourite song on this album is called ‘Heart Of It,’ he shared, a track that hasn’t been heard by the public yet.

Going back to his first song, ‘Love Valley,’ which looks at life as a mountain with challenges and adventures, and on the other side of that mountain is this calm valley that’s home, called Love Valley. ‘Heart Of It’ writes about that same place, Love Valley, as if he’s already there, he explained.

“I have some friends who had a listen and I said put the thing on from tip to tail and go out for a slow drive or take a big cup of coffee early in the morning and listen to it. It’s 45 or so minutes. And I think that’s the best way to take it in,” he said of his album.

In the Greenbrier, he noticed that people would hear songs for the first time and relate to his lyrics in their own personal ways.

“This is such a cool way to play music and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

Tickets are sold in packs of four for households or cohorts, and they have sold quickly for his Farm Tour, which is set to begin on Sept. 1.

His team is calling everyone who purchases a ticket to check on how many individuals are in their group to ensure for the proper distancing.

Go to his website for more information,

Wild Mountain now setting its sights on 2021

File Photo
The 2020 Wild Mountain Music Festival has been officially cancelled due to provincial health measures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, so festival goers will have to wait until the 2021 event to see headlinders on the main stage. 

Masha Scheele
Local Journalism Initiative

The Wild Mountain Music Society is setting its sight on 2021 after their 2020 festival was cancelled due to the current COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings in Alberta.

“We still have grant applications we can put in and get that going. Keeping a good relationship with our sponsors. And that gives us a little bit more time hopefully to start nibbling away at bands for next year,” said Layne Seabrook, president of the society.

With an extra year to plan, crews can spend more time on maintenance work on the stages and stores at the site, Seabrook said. While the society tried to remain positive about the situation, they are disappointed they won’t be welcoming back festival goers.

“It is too bad, it kind of interrupts the rhythm of our weekends in July. That’s just what you do, you book your weekend off for the Wild Mountain…” Seabrook said.

Due to the early uncertainty around the festival last year, organizers realized that there was a percentage of people that held off because they were under the impression that it was cancelled or they weren’t quite sure what the quality would be, according to Seabrook.

“We were quite excited about seeing those 20 or 30 per cent back at Wild Mountain again this year,” he said, adding that the event  normally attracts between 2,500 and 3,000 people every year. 

Seabrook added that a few society members would like to put on a show for the community once public gathering restrictions are expanded beyond 15 people.

“We would like to put on a show for the community. Just to get everyone back and reintroduce them to social life again,” he said.

Details of this event are dependent on what happens with the pandemic provincially and organizers will solidify any plans once guidelines change.

Seabrook added that the concert would likely showcase local artists and be a one-day event.

Sponsors of the festival have remained supportive and about 80 per cent have left their investment with the society for the 2021 festival. On top of financial investments, the society also has in-kind sponsors who are still fully committed.

Fortunately, the society was still in negotiations with most of its bands for 2020 and hadn’t paid any deposits yet.

“Normally it’s 50 per cent of the cost down, especially for headliners. Because we were still in negotiations we weren’t at the deposit part of it. We didn’t have any deposits to lose,” Seabrook said.

The way booking talent works is that the society first puts in an offer with any headliner, committing 50 per cent of the money until they accept or decline. They can only work with one headliner at a time to manage their budget, which is why the process takes some time.

They originally pushed to book a headliner by the end of January, which ended up not working out and they had not solidified a headliner since.

He added that the society will definitely keep bands lined up for 2021 that had committed to them in 2020. Since the 2019 Wild Mountain Music Festival was such a success and through the generosity of corporate sponsors, the society was able to put away some money, which will now all go towards 2021.

“We were able to have a decent amount of money in the bank. [The pandemic] hasn’t affected that at all,” Seabrook said.

Around 50 tickets were already sold for the 2020 festival, and more than half of those ticket holders want to keep their tickets for next year. Organizers are still finishing things up from the preparations of the 2020 festival, but all members will remain in their positions, Seabrook explained.

An annual general meeting (AGM) will be held in October and three board positions will be up for renewal or election. 

Contact Rob DeRoo at (780) 699-2641 for a refund of 2020 Wild Mountain tickets or to make arrangements to honour them for Wild Mountain 2021.

Library getting resources, programs to the people

Hinton Library Photo
Astrid Ramos, librarian at the Hinton Library, hosted a special guest during the April 17 edition of Storytime Live!, which takes place every Friday at 10 am on the library’s Facebook page.

Tyler Waugh

The Hinton Library has prided itself as a third space – a home away from home for many and a focal point of cultural and literary programming.

Usage has increased and the library had been welcoming more visitors than ever within its four walls. But now, with the onset of the COVID pandemic, the challenge isn’t getting more people inside their four walls, but rather getting its programming and resources outside the four walls to the people.

“When it first happened and the doors were closed it was a challenge for us. It was almost like ‘what do we do now’. It was like that for a lot of people, a lot of libraries,” said Anayo Ugboma, manager of library services for the Hinton Library.

But the library has rolled with the challenge, despite more limited staff, and has seen success taking some of its programming online.

“We needed to transform programs to an online audience and we are doing what we can to offer those programs in a way that will engage our residents,” Ugboma said.

“At the end of the day our goal is to continue to promote literacy.”

The Storytime Live! sees kids of all ages join in on Facebook live as staff read stories, sing songs and recite rhymes during an  online library story time held Fridays at 10 am.

The first Storytime gained 1,000 views and the second one saw an increase to 1,100 views. 

“It’s been a success, really. We are happy to see the numbers continue to grow,” Ugboma said.

Another online program is the STEAM Club, which takes place Thursdays at 1 pm via Facebook live and sees staff complete science, technology, engineering, art and math experiments that can be followed at home.

Community Reads (#hintonreads) is a collaborative video project where Hintonites come together to read a story aloud. This is done via YouTube and Facebook and is uploaded every last Wednesday of the month at 9 am.

A Novel Idea Book Club holds a zoom meeting every third Wednesday of the month at 1 pm.

The library is also hosting a mid-week family movie with Netflix Viewing Party programming every other Wednesday at 12 pm. That same program is used to host an Anime Club every Tuesday at 1 pm to watch anime episodes and chat in real time.

And while the library ups its virtual game, it has also created partnerships to get some of its tangible resources out in the community.

Feed The Need To Read sees free library books available for pickup at community partner locations including Walmart, Freson Bros. Hill and Freson Bros. Valley.

“There are spaces there that we drop off baskets of books and you take it and it’s yours to keep,” said Ugboma, stating that the books that are distributed are ones that were donated for fundraising, but that have been repurposed to keep the community reading. 

“The books aren’t part of the our formal collection.”

Library hours where staff are available to answer calls and monitor emails and social media are Monday to Friday from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm. 

Overdue fines will not accumulate during the COVID closure, and any items on hold will remain at the library and patrons will have the opportunity to pick up their holds once the library is once again open to the public.

Library electronic resources are available with a full list of e-resources at Contact the library for more program info at (780) 865-2363.

Food blogger getting community cooking

Christina Oliver Photo
Zaryn Oliver shows off the results after her family participated in the pizza pretzel cooking class offered for free online through Cooking With Jax. Next class is April 19 at 1 pm.

Tyler Waugh

COVID-19 has prompted a lot of people to spend more time in the kitchen, expanding their culinary horizons … and their waistlines.

Jacqueline Delisle, a food blogger based out of Hinton, says that humans have food memories – a food nostalgia – and she’s hoping to help feed that nostalgia with a series of free virtual cooking classes.

“This is an idea I have had for a long time, actually. I’ve wanted to do a cooking show and it’s just been sitting on the back burner for a while,” she said.

“With so many people finding comfort in their kitchen right now, I thought these classes would be a great way to bring the community together. I wanted it to be free and to be accessible.”

Delisle was involved in setting up a virtual wine tasting for The Wild Orchid Liquor Co. last month, and was also a guest mixologist.

She saw the opportunity to translate that technology into an online cooking experience as well. She started a couple of weeks ago with a make your own pasta class that drew 25 participants through Zoom. 

“Pasta is such a comforting food and it’s really quick so I thought it would be a great place to start,” Delisle said.

Her next class featured local businessman Devlin Griffiths, who walked participants through making his pizza pretzels. It was a class that drew 108 registrations from around 70 families.

“I thought that local businesses needed some support and I wanted to incorporate them into the classes. I know that Devlin is a really great cook and so I started with him,” Delisle said.

“He’s been making pretzels for a wile now and every time he makes pizza pretzels he saves me one, and that’s not easy!”

Delisle started soliciting feedback from participants about what types of food they would like to see featured and there were a lot of suggestions – from gluten-free ideas, to paleo or just healthy food in general.

So next up she convinced Tracy Sheppard and Brian LaBerge to teach people to make Buddha Bowls and also the perfect steak on April 19. She has about eight guest cooks lined up for coming weeks.

The virtual cooking classes take place Sunday, which has always been synonymous with cooking or baking with Delisle, going back to her food blogging origins around a decade ago.

“I’ve gotten away from the blogging, but when I was it was always on Sunday,” she said.

“It’s a day where the world always slows down for me.”

Anybody looking to register for the free class can visit and click on the classes tab near the top of the page. Classes start at 1 pm. Contact (780) 865-0962 or for more information.

Caputo nominated for public service legacy award

Tyler Waugh

An almost-20 year veteran of local school boards has been nominated for a legacy award that honours integrity, compasion, mentoring and leadership over the course of a career in public education.

Shirley Caputo has served more than 19 years on the Grande Yellowhead Public School Division (GYPSD), and her nomination  for the Dick Baker Legacy Award outlines the positive characteristics she’s brought to that position and to her many volunteer roles over the past 30 years living in Hinton.

“She values strong relationships in her advocacy of public education. She intentionally develops positive relationships with students, staff, board colleagues and community members.  She is very reliable and a very dependable individual,” reads the nomination.

 Caputo is touted as investing significant time in her schools as a volunteer and as an attendee and participant in school events. She always seeks the best in students — she has conversations with them and encourages them — “try hard and be the best you can be”.  

As part of her volunteering, she responds to teacher and school requests. For example, during the cold weather when recess was moved indoors she provided games for the students to play in the classrooms.  She also works with staff to identify students who need resources.   

The nomination outlines Caputo’s role as a volunteer at the Hinton Food Bank and The Share Shop, and helping low-income families complete their income tax. She also supports high school students getting their income tax completed so that they can get their refunds. 

As a volunteer at Hinton’s Rotary Club, Trustee Caputo supports The Dolly Parton Foundation where the funds raised cover the costs of postage.  These books are mailed monthly to children from the ages of 0 – 5 years old — encouraging early literacy.  

Caputo involves herself with the local Friendship Centre, where she is learning culture of the Indigenous people, was previously the survivor coordinator for the Relay for Life fundraiser for cancer research, and is currently the chair of the Hinton Adult Learning Society where classes for parents cover topics on positive parenting, single father parenting, and other courses to address the learning needs of Hinton’s parents. 

As a Trustee, she has served as vice-chair, and has sat on numerous committees including: CUPE negotiations, board policy, ATA appeals, and bus driver negotiations. 

Caputo received a ‘Volunteer of the Year’ 2019 award from the Rotary Club of Hinton. 

Dick Baker was a dedicated advocate for public education in Alberta, with an unwavering commitment to placing children first and modelling respect for the stewardship of public trust.

Couch Sessions delivers open mic magic

Tyler Waugh

The first Friday night of the month has become synonymous with open mic nights at The Old Grind over the past number of years.

And they’re not going to let a pesky global pandemic get in the way of offering live local music, shifting the show online for April 3 in what they are calling Live From The Old Grind – The Couch Sessions.

“We are looking for ways to connect with our community.  It’s been a tough few weeks for everyone, we just want to help people find new ways to find a little joy in their day, have a little fun, listen to some home grown music.  The beautiful thing is now anyone can play from anywhere,” said Melanie Widenmaier, owner of The Old Grind.

Former Hintonite Bob Roach, who worked with the venue on live shows in the past, has collaborated to host this event as well. Jacqueline Delisle will be managing the technology that will bring artists’ music from their living rooms to the audience in their own homes through a live feed on Facebook.

“It’s been a blast planning it,” said Widenmaier.

Ten artists with Hinton roots are already signed on for entertainment, including Mark Guebert, who will be performing live from his home in Victoria, BC. 

“The beautiful thing is now anyone can play from anywhere,” said Widenmaier. “The sky is the limit!  If it is as much of a hit as we are pretty sure it will be, we will continue hosting them in the coming weeks.”

The show starts at 7 pm and is available for viewing through

The Couch Sessions is one of a growing list of entertainment options that are being offered online in the age of social distancing for COVID-19.

The PATH is posting recorded performances on its Facebook page as part of the Social Distancing Talent Show. The Home Routes Concert Series, which traditionally sees groups of around 20 -30 people enjoy intimate concerts in local living rooms, also moved its performances online in March, with concerts scheduled through until April 6 for now. Check out for the most up to date information available.

Other online offerings include  The Northern Rockies Museum and their “Quarantrain” at home learning series for children. Get more details by visiting

And if your kids are getting tired of just hearing your voice, the library has been offering book readings. For more please visit

Local teacher among residents uploading videos for The PATH’s Social Distancing Talent Show

Tyler Waugh

On any given weekday Iain Langley would ordinarily be teaching Grade 3 at St. Gregory Catholic Elementary School.

But in this COVID-19 era, he found a little time to enter the Social Distancing Talent Show being organized online by The PATH.

Langley, who moved to Hinton from Edmonton a little less than three years ago, has been jamming alone at home and virtually with friends during the break.

“I figured I would put myself out there in the community a bit. I know Wendy (organizer Wendy Laurila) and she’s one of the people I jam with, and I thought it sounded like a fun idea,” said Langley via Facetime.

Laurila said she got the idea for the talent show while watching videos of celebrities performing mini-concerts on Facebook. She thought that Hinton has such amazing talent that it could work on a local level.

“Who wouldn’t want to see a neighbour, friend, co-worker perform on Facebook?” she said.

“The thing I am hoping to achieve through this … community, unity, spreading joy and happiness in a time of fear, connecting while we socially distance ourselves. If our Social Distancing Talent Show could brighten just one person’s day it is completely worth it ”

 Langley plays the ukulele and the guitar and has sung in church choirs since he was a boy growing up in Halifax. He’s also a member of HUG – the Hinton Ukulele Group – that met regularly at BRIDGES prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

He is a fan of folk-rock icons like Simon & Garfunkel and Bob Dylan – the classics – but also has some appreciation for more contemporary artists. With that said, he chose to perform (Something Inside) So Strong, a late 1980s recording by British songwriter Labi Siffre.

“It just seemed appropriate to our situation,” Langley said. 

“There’s a lot of stress going around right now.”

Laurila said she has a few submissions that will be posted to The PATH page. She is hoping to post submissions two or three times a week, depending on the number of entries.

She said the performances have received the most likes of any of the posts The PATH have made on its page. Anybody looking to enter the show can email when their video is set to go and Laurila will them an upload link and a waiver form they need to complete.

“I am hoping to continue doing this until we  open our doors again,” Laurila said.

“We have such an amazing town! Knowing Hinton we will come out of this so much closer, all while we were far apart.”

For Langley, he’s going to continue to jam during the days, along with taking some time outdoors on the Beaver Boardwalk and nearby trails.

He’s also keeping in touch with some students and looking forward to finishing off the school year in one way or another.

“In some capacity, anyway. It was tough the way the school  year ended. Tough to not even be able to say goodbye to the students,” he said, adding that he hopes they are doing well  and making the most of this time at home.

“Just hang tough, it’ll all be over at some point. Remember to have fun with your family right now.”

Home Routes brings music to the people

Carly Dow is next up as concert series shifts to online performances

Tyler Waugh

The people can’t come to the music, so the music is coming to them over the next little while.

COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of upcoming live performances, including the Home Routes presentation of Sherry Ryan on April 6 at Pine Valley Lodge.

But Home Routes is keeping the music alive by presenting the Season 13 concerts online, via Facebook live and YouTube, in place of the previously scheduled tours.

“Who would have ever thought of online concerts?” said Lois Carnell, Home Routes coordinator in Hinton.

“Home Routes will keep us posted of the upcoming shows and we will network this information to everyone. With support now these musicians will be around when this crisis is over.”

Having to cancel the balance of Season 13 left artists, hosts and patrons wondering what could be done to continue to support and entertain, so Home Routes decided to bring the artists digitally to patrons and to an even larger audience.

“To support artists and bring fresh entertainment to folks during this time was an obvious win/win, and doing live streaming concerts has been something we have been talking about for a while, so we decided that this was the perfect time to launch it,” says artistic director Tim Osmond.

The online shows kicked off March 21 with Rick Fines, followed by Casati on March 22, Sherry Ryan on March 23 and Sherman Downey on March 24.

Next up is Manitoba performer Carly Dow on March 26, James Gordon on March 27, Willi Carlisle on March 28, Ganspil on March 29, The Schotts on March 31 and Annie Avery of Two Piano Tornado and Sarah Hamilton on April 1.

Additional programming is being confirmed to continue these shows beyond the Apr 1 date, and will be announced as schedules are finalized.

Carnell said that the online concerts are an important way to support these artists.

“The touring musicians that I know have no other income. No RRSP’s to draw upon, No collateral for loans. Without support they are in dire straights. Touring musicians need our support more than ever right now,” Carnell said.

“However, realizing that most people are in the same situation of insecure incomes, they are asking only for what you can afford – $5, $10, what ever will be gratefully accepted.”

For financial support in these difficult times, our performers will be sharing a ‘tip jar” during their live concert, so viewers can “pay what they want.” By adding this virtual tip jar it will be easy for anyone to support.

All shows are at 7 pm Alberta time.

“So gather your family, your pizza, your storm chips and get ready to enjoy an evening of Canadian Folk music and stories, from our home, to yours,” said Osmond.

For more information about on how you can support or on any Home Routes performer, including live performance videos, please visit

Stream Season 13 Home Routes performers via this Spotify playlist:

Home Routes has been pairing artists with rural and urban hosts in Canada for more than a decade, presenting more than 7,000 performances at nearly 1,500 locations before 207,000 fans to date, generating more than $4 million in artist revenue and royalties since beginning in 2007.