Locals Bring Songs for the Snowy Season to Guelph

Beginning the Christmas season with live music is a good way to get yourself in the holiday spirit. On December 7th, residents of Guelph, ON had a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of such an event when Folkway Music hosted their 7th Annual Christmas Concert at Dublin Street United Church.

Folkway, a vintage and fine fretted instrument store and repair facility established in 1999, has been hosting concerts in their Guelph store for years. Concert organizer Claire Bégin says they decided to make this event even more special.

“In past years, we held a Saturday evening show as well as a Sunday matinee, both of which always sold out,” she relays. “This year we decided to go big and held one Saturday night showing in a church just up the road. It was a beautiful setting. My favorite moment was when they finished the evening off with a quiet and stirring rendition of Silent Night. At the end, there were no instruments, just more than 200 people singing.”

Attendees enjoyed music from three local artists who always grace the annual concert with their talents. Katherine Wheatley, Tannis Slimmon and Jude Vadala are all singer-songwriters with long, well-known histories in the area. The trio performed old and new songs written with the season in mind.

Wheatley got her first guitar at the age of 14 and began writing songs as a young adult while traveling alone through Africa. Exclaim Magazine wrote that her songs are “chock full of literate, thoughtful and frequently piercing lyrics,” and many of them have appeared in television series and films. Wheatley also teaches music in schools, folk clubs, and music stores across Canada.

Slimmon began her professional music career in 1980. Since then the “breathtaking vocalist with a bright, angelic disposition” has appeared on over 80 albums, been named the Canadian Folk Music Awards 2008 Contemporary Vocalist of the Year and performed with several groups. Vadala, along with Slimmon and a third vocalist, formed folk trio The Bird Sisters in 1985, remaining active as a group through the late 1990s.

Bégin says they were able to fill the church, minus the balcony, by using many different methods of advertising. They put posters around town, used event listings in many newspapers and online, had the trio do an interview on local television, used word of mouth, sent email flyers, and posted the concert all over social media.

To make your event a rousing success, Bégin notes that, “advertising is key. I think you have to remember that different people are reached by different mediums. With the abundance of digital advertising thrown at us from all directions online, it’s important to realize how valuable a well-placed poster or newspaper article can be.”