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November 1, 2017




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MC Bruce Demitroff helps launch the celebration of Athens’ new mural. Photo: Sally Smid


Newest mural unveiled in Athens


By Sally Smid

It could be that at the end of the recent Joshua Bates mural event in Athens there were audience members thinking that this man, considered by many to be a “founding father”, should never have left for Smiths Falls.

The event began at the base of the new photo mural on west wall of the Fresh Market store.  MC Bruce Demitroff welcomed the crowd and explained that the mural which was researched and designed by local artist Tony Endhoven and painted by students of the Athens Christian School in 2001 in what is now Cooks’ storage was digitized and placed onto durable and replaceable panels.  The Township paid for the project through a mural fund which did not include designing, painting or digitizing. The event was part of the community’s Canada 150 celebrations and depicts the life of Bates, early developer of Farmersville which later became Athens.  Mayor Herb Scott and Councillor Rhonda Ferguson brought greetings and commended the efforts which brought the project to pass, relating that the Township Council welcomes opinions about the possibilities of future murals.

The Bates mural was appropriately placed as it is on property that Bates once owned and across from the Joshua Bates Centre and just north of his home on Elgin St., named for his political hero Lord Elgin.

Continued on page 14 (Click here)




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Whiskey Jack took the stage of the Joshua Bates Centre. Photo: Sally Smid


Joshua Bates season kicks off with
Whiskey Jack


By Sally Smid

Canada 150 was celebrated in a special way as the Joshua Bates Performing Arts Committee kicked off its 23rd season with the program Whiskey Jack, Stories and Songs of Stompin’ Tom.  The Toronto based band of eight members surprised the audience with a song that featured the provinces of Canada.  Audience members that successfully recalled provincial capitals received free T-shirt prizes. The group formed in 1977 and became the “most televised bluegrass/acoustic country band in Canada”.  They appeared for five years on the Tommy Hunter Show and in 1993 they began playing with Stompin Tom Connors, teaming with him to produce a comeback album and then going on the road with him in 2004.  Organizer Mary-Rae Knapp introduced them as “veterans of the Canadian country music scene” and it was clear that many in the group were seasoned, award winning musicians. The program was a true celebration of Canadian music, from many of the iconic songs of Stompin’ Tom to an impersonation of Leonard Cohen and more, demonstrating amazing musicianship and true versatility.  The stories and anecdotes about Tom were poignant, entertaining and humorous. 

The almost capacity audience often clapped and sang along to many of the familiar ballads.  Their harmonious rendition of “Bud the Spud” reflected their own unique style while paying special tribute to the iconic singer/songwriter. The band in fact has a “birthday party” for Stompin’ Tom each year in Toronto and proceeds go to charities, perhaps in the spirit of the legendary performer’s generosity who was known to have his many “stompin’ boards” auctioned off for charity causes, one even being sold for $5000!  In that same respect, the 50/50 draw for the evening also raised money towards a bursary for a deserving local high school student.  The delighted audience expressed their appreciation with a standing ovation at the end of the performance. Knapp commented that it was “a wonderful start of the JBC season” with the next event being Brea Lawrenson on January 27th.



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