Lebanese-American writer, poet and visual artist Kahill Gibran once said, “Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life, bringing peace, and abolishing strife.” Although Thompson is a long way from Western Asia, Gibran’swords held true on Jan. 23, as 20 people gathered to celebrate music night – a monthly event – at the Heritage North Museum. Multi-coloured lights bathed in the museum’s log walls in a glow that made it a perfect setting to sit, watch and listen to some of Thompson’’s best musicians, who performed in support of the museum.
Organizer Amy Caldwell, who also works at the Thompson Citizen said that she always comes away from the event feeling satisfied and proud to be part of the evening, even if attendance is variable.
“Our audience turnout was a little lower than I had hoped for, which isn’t all that surprising given the time of year, but those who did come seemed to really enjoy the performances,” she explained. “This event is important to the museum because we’re hoping it will become a major fundraiser for us. Heritage North Museum is a non-profit organization, so we are always looking for ways to raise funds to keep the museum going. We ask for a minimum $5 donation at the door.”
Caldwell’s aim is not only to support the museum, but also to bring local musicians together and give them a space and opportunity to perform.
“The room where we host the event is the Hazel Hopkins Gallery,” said Caldwell, who is also an accomplished musician. “Hopkins was a Thompson resident who was very active in the museum and preserving Thompson’s history, but more than that, she believed in giving local artists a place to display their work, and a way for this community to support the arts and that’s why the room is named after her.”
Caldwell and CHTM radio host Robyn Thomson teamed up to play the first set, delivering a beautiful series of covers, ranging from Adam Lambert to The Tragically Hip to ’80s pop. Thomson’s harmonizations fused with Caldwell’s crisp guitar playing and singing were a great combination. Elder Bruce McDonald followed Caldwell and Thomson. He delivered stunning renditions of Elvis Presley hits, as well as a thoughtfully delivered gospel piece that seemed to echo the peaceful stillness of the night-time boreal forest. Al and Art Starling were the final performers, wowing the audience with a surprising level of emotion that fortified their music. Their version of The Cars hit “Who’s Gonna Drive you Home” was eerie and melodious, a great send-off for those who attended.
For information on attending or performing at the next music night, contact the Heritage North Museum on Facebook, by calling 204-677-2216 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.