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A RACKET at the Stockey

 

There will be a racket at the Stockey on Friday 4 March – don’t miss it!

In Newfoundland a racket is defined as a celebration, an uproarious social gathering, a great ruckus, a fine time. And that is what you will experience when the March Hare returns to the Stockey Centre stage next week.

What began as a late-winter gathering in Corner Brook, Newfoundland 30 years ago has expanded year after year to become an extensive tour of storytellers, writers and musicians coming together to share their stories and songs with audiences in Newfoundland, Toronto and Parry Sound.

Once again this year we have an all-star group of performers.

Anita Best returns! The highlight of last year’s event Anita performs Newfoundland’s traditional songs and stories, enchanting the audience with her rich voice and warm personality. Anita grew up in a home where singing, dancing and storytelling were the main forms of recreation. This was a time “When the nights grew longer and colder and the fishing season was over, people would gather in each others homes and keep heart in one another with tunes, songs and stories”.

Lisa Moore has read from her novels February and Caught from the Stockey Centre stage on earlier visits to Parry Sound. Those who have met her know this vibrant and intelligent woman lights up any room with her presence. Currently teaching creative writing at Memorial University, Lisa Moore contends, “Everyone has a story. And those who choose to study creative writing have a powerful desire to tell their own stories. So powerful, in fact, that desire creates its own energy.” Lisa has recently edited Racket, New Writing, Made in Newfoundland, a collection of the work of exciting writers from her home province. Her young adult novel, Flannery, will be released this spring. We will be among the very few lucky people who will have the opportunity to purchase early copies in Parry Sound next week.

When Daniel Payne steps on to the stage you will recognize him as the mischievous and irresistible Ned Andrews from the 2004 television miniseries Random Passage

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Daniel is a multi-talented musician who comes from a long line of traditional accordion and fiddle players from Cow Head on the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. Playing fiddle, mandolin, guitar, flute, tin whistle, drums and accordion, Daniel has performed both as a musician and actor throughout North America, Australia and Europe.

Paul Dean has been a regular performer at the annual March Hare literary festival for the past fifteen years, and we are very excited that he will be with us in Parry Sound this year.

 

“When I couldn’t see her,” says Paul Dean of his mother, who has placed him, as an infant, in a berry patch near the outport of North Harbour, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, “I could always hear her as she chatted to Aunt Ann or Aunt Elsie as they picked their way through another summer of berries. When she wasn’t talking, she sang; songs, hymns, ditties. It didn’t matter to me. I knew she was there and she knew I was safe and content. This was the whole world.”

 

Paul Dean’s stories have recently been published as Come On With the Punt. Some are poignant, some are hilarious, and some are both by turns. Warmly nostalgic but never sentimental, Paul Dean brings us a sophisticated performance in an utterly distinctive, plainly Newfoundland voice. Paul is a geologist by training and a storyteller by avocation, and an advocate for the traditional music and dance of Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

Rex Brown, one of the founders of The March Hare, is our genial host. He is also the author of Out from the Harbour, gathering together the history and the stories of his childhood in a memoir that captures a time that has all but disappeared – along with the houses that once stood in the outport of King’s Island before resettlement.

This year each of the performers will read a poem by the late Al Pittman, another founder of the March Hare and one of the most respected and admired poets in Newfoundland, and all of Canada, to celebrate the publication of his collected poems.

As always there is a local performer, and this year we are joined by the musical group The Third Change. This popular square-dance band excels in lively traditional reels, jigs, two-steps and waltzes, with vocalists harmonizing classic folk and country songs, they are sure to liven up the proceedings.

So, get out of the house and join us at the Stockey Centre for a spirited evening of storytelling and music. Let’s make a racket!

 

 

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