Watch for scalpers

21 Nov

Tickets for the final year of the Music & MayhemChristmas revue went on sale last week. And they’re already flying off the shelves… often in ‘blocks’ to folks buying ten, twelve and even fourteen tickets at a time. While it’s too early to declare that M&M 2018 will be a sell-out, the fundraiser is off to a great start.

I dropped by rehearsals last week to see how things are going, and I’m pleased to report that you are in for a real treat. It’s true there’s nothing new on the program; this year’s show is comprised of the most popular skits and songs from the three past years. However, the talented troupe of volunteers is finessing your all-time favourites. A perfect example is Gerry Schmidt’s rendition of the Elvis classic: Blue Christmas. This time, Gerry has a trio of doo-wop girls for back up. Goodness gracious, great balls o’fire.

Were you aware that Gerry, together with fellow cast members Rosemary Chatterson, Allan MacDonald, Jim McRae, Audrey Nixon and Shashtin and Jim Winchester, have been rehearsing this year’s revue since July? It’s a fact. This is partly because the superannuated troupe keeps forgetting their lines. But the main reason is they’re committed to generating as much cash as they can for the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank in Alexandria. Founded in 1991, the charitable organization helps over 200 registered families a month across all of Glengarry and provides emergency relief for many more. The reason Dunvegan’s Recreation chose the cash ticket route (as opposed to food donations at the door) is that, for every dollar you donate, the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank can purchase three dollars worth of nutritious groceries.

If you’d like to contribute to a good cause — and enjoy a memorable night out — I’d advise purchasing your tickets now, before scalpers get their hands on them. They’re on sale (for a “Best Of” price of $15 each) at the Caisse Populaire Desjardins in Alexandria (our keystone sponsor), Home Hardware in Maxville, The Quirky Carrot in Alexandria and The Review in Vankleek Hill. Or if you’d prefer, you can call Rosemary Chatterson at 613-525-1336. Evening performances are planned for Friday, December 7th, Friday, December 14thand Wednesday, December 12th. And there will be Sunday matinee performances on December 9thand 16th.

Artsy-fartsy it’s not

If you missed last Saturday’s flick at the Dunvegan hall— and chances are you did since there were only eight of us there — you have my permission to kick yourself. It was a great film. Not “great” in the cinephile sense where you’re enraptured by watching a six-hour art film of falling snow and are able to convince yourself you’ve witnessed a cultural masterpiece. But rather as light-hearted entertainment that would appeal to virtually one and all.

I admit I was prepared not to like Don McKellar’s The Grand Seduction but, in the tradition of Kinky Bootsand Waking Ned Devine, the film engaged me almost right from the start. I thought veteran Irish actor Brendan Gleeson was the walk-away star as the pressed-into-service mayor of the small harbour fighting for its life. Others were more enamoured of the heart-throb doc-from-away played by Canadian Taylor Kitsch, known best for his portrayal of troubled high school football star on Friday Night Lights. Bottom line, if you ever get a chance to catch The Grand Seductionon Netflix or the like, do so.

There were two new moviegoers this past Saturday: Lisa Chapman from Dunvegan West andNancy McKinnon from the 6thof Kenyon. When chatting to Nancy after the screening, I learned she was Clare Van Putten’s daughter. Claire and her late husband Winston were strong supporters of the Dunvegan’s monthly Euchre Luncheon. I had wondered why we hadn’t seen her mother for a few months and was saddened to learn that Claire is struggling with a health issue. If you get to read this Claire, your Dunvegan euchre friends and I wish you all the best. I have your special chair waiting for you when you return.

Dunvegan’s “Saturday Night at the Movies” will take off the month of December, as the hall is packed with other goings on. Nevertheless, it will return in January, just in time to help fight the post-Yuletide doldrums.

“One-of-a-Kind” in Dunvegan

If you’re in the market for one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts, the annual “Dunvegan Historical Crafter’s Fair & Christmas Marketplace” is right up your alley. It affords the opportunity to pick up unique, pioneer-inspired gifts… and help raise money for the Dunvegan Recreation Association. Organized by Jim and Shelly Mullin, co-owners of The Chocolate Box in Vankleek Hill, the two-day event is their way of thanking the DRA for its contributions to museum events such as the Fall Festival and War of 1812 Re-enactment.

I’m a little short on information as to who the vendors will be at this year’s market, but if the past is any indication, I imagine it will showcase everything from custom silhouette portraits and hand-forged iron goods to fresh Christmas wreaths and other natural greenery.

The Historical Crafters Fair will throw open its doors Saturday, December 1stfrom 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Sunday, December 2ndfrom 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. There is no admission fee, but donations to the Dunvegan Recreation Association’s Children’s Park Fund would be greatly appreciated. The DRA Hall is located at 19053 County Road 24, just west of the Dunvegan crossroads.

It’s a small, small world

Last week, I concluded with the tale of an exhibition featuring the works of renowned 19thcentury Alexandria photographer, Duncan Donovan. At the time of writing, I was under the impression that the retrospective held in 2000 in the building that’s presently home to the Quirky Carrot) featured only works from the collection of 8” x 10” glass plate negatives donated to the museum in Dunvegan by Donat and Jeanne Boisvenue. I was wrong.

Since then, I have spoken at length with Dane Lankin who co-curated the show. Dane was president of the Glengarry Historical Society at the time. He told me that while the exhibit did feature the Boisvenue images, it also contained many Donovan prints from the negatives Archives Ontario purchased in the early 1970s.

In preparation for the show, Dane and his wife Anna McGarrigle travelled to the porovincial archives in Toronto to select from among the 709 Donovan glass plate negatives and have exhibition prints made. Before they entered the Archive’s reading room, the couple had to sign in and provide their names and address.

Shortly after they settled in to search the rolls of microfilm, a loud voice boomed out: “Is someone here from Glengarry?” Dane stood up and by so doing met Allan J. MacDonald. Back then, Allan was a key member of Archives Ontario. Apparently, he had skimmed the registration log, spotted the reference to his home county and wanted to say hello to a fellow Glengarrian.

The two men had an amicable chat, never realizing that eight years later, Allan would be living back on the family farm on the 4thof Kenyon, would be responsible, as Glengarry County archivist, for assembling the largest repository of historical records in eastern Ontario and would be one of the stars of a musical smash-hit Music & Mayhem. Small world.