The summer concert series organized by the Friends of the Meaford Library once again had a very successful season at the Meaford Rotary Harbour Pavilion. It was another great series of concerts held every Sunday evening.
This was the 19th year for the concert series and it is one of the major fund-raisers for the Friends of the Library. As always, the Friends attempted to bring you many of your favourites as well as a smattering of new faces. The concerts started at 7 p.m. and went as long as the performers were willing to entertain - remembering of course that all of them donated their time and talents to put on these concerts. The Friends are very, very grateful for the generosity of all these wonderful people.
This year’s lineup began with the perennial startup concert on the last Sunday in June, featuring, as we have for most years, the ever favourite Waverley Rice and Bayview Country, including a guest appearance by Scott Merrifield. However, afternoon thunderstorms forced a cancellation. Waverley and his band put together a make-up concert later in the summer … with the heartfelt thanks of the Friends and his many devoted followers.
The next weekend, as part of July 1st celebrations, the popular Browns did a wonderful collection of favourite ballads and tunes mostly from the Rock ‘n Roll era. Next year the Browns have agreed to be the wrap-up performers and finish the season with a bit of a sing-along plus entertaining with oldies but goodies.
The Friends were asked if the concert for second weekend in July could be included in the Peaks Festival. This was the normal weekend for Beverly Taft (more about her in a moment) but she couldn’t make it. Fortunately one of our other highly popular groups, Bored of Education, stepped up and really did Meaford proud as part of the Festival.
This year, a fantastic talent from the area returned after a several year hiatus. Jennifer Robertson on guitar and vocals, accompanied by Donna Farrow on keyboards, put on an eclectic mix of '70s, '80s and '90s tunes largely made popular by female performers. It was a great musical evening down memory lane.
The last Sunday in July brings the ever-popular Valley Concert Band… our own friends and neighbours performing for us. For the Band, this is a special commitment and they work hard all year preparing for the concert. It features something for everyone, from marches, to show tunes and popular ballads. Sorry, no rap!! The Valley Concert Band is a delight each and every year. This year, the Friends wish to acknowledge the Band’s loss of one of their long-serving members. Kevin Knight, his playing partner, performed a wonderful tribute in his memory.
Meaford’s Allan Johnson seems to have nailed down the spot on the August holiday Sunday. He entertains with a mix of Caribbean favourites and his own compositions. And of course the anthem of the evening is his award-winning composition, Meet Me in Meaford. This is a real toe-tapping, hand-clapping evening for all ages.
The following Sunday, stepping in at short notice because of a last-minute cancellation was Bill Monahan, entertaining the home crowd with his signature style and an evening featuring mostly his own delightful, home-spun compositions. A great evening! Many thanks, Bill, it was really, really short notice.
And this year in mid-August, back for her 10th appearance, Beverly Taft brought you her stylings of favourites from the 1920s, '30s and '40s Big Band era. She is a featured performer at many quiet, intimate restaurants and clubs in Toronto, Ottawa, and Los Angeles. She has also made bistro appearances on tour in France and Japan. See her web site at www.beverlytaft.com. Her evening is a really special treat for Meaford.
The ever-talented Beaker is now associated with the group River and Rock, and he persuaded them to come and do a concert for the Friends. Another Rock ‘n Roll evening with a smattering of their own compositions provided the audience with a great show and a great follow-up to Beverly. Incidentally, Beaker has been a marvelous help with the organization of these concerts… I mean, he knows everyone!
And this is where we fit Waverley back in. Actually, it was Martin's Sunday originally but during the discussions of where we could organize a date for Waverley, Martin offered up his time. We also managed to get the word out and most of Waverley's fans were there.
The last date was a Dixieland jazz combo called The Regal Jazz Band, and what a treat they were. They focused on the Dixie but managed to put in a few 'swing' numbers. Each number gave the performers a solo shot and none disappointed. WOW!
Now I have to grant a few more accolades, not for performances but for a lot of help putting this series together and advertising it. Bill Murdoch and the CFOS gang provided a lot of publicity and recognition without which we would have far smaller turnouts. This also goes for the Jewel 99.3 FM and 95.1 The Peak FM, who both publicize our concerts as part of their public service announcements. And last, but far from 'least', there is The Independent… a wonderful Library and Friends supporter… thanks, Stephen!
Grateful to all our patrons and all who help! See you next year!
Paul Wehrle, Friends of the Meaford Public Library