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My Take on Snow Lake - Nov. 20, 2015

Leaf Rapids comes to Snow Lake
Pat O'Connor Devin Latimer Keri Latimer Grant Davidson
From left to right, Snow Lake’s Pat O’Connor, Devin Latimer, Keri Latimer, and Grant Davidson.

Leaf Rapids is the small town to the northwest of us, which, like Snow Lake, was built on the strong backs and stronger work ethic of mining folk. It is also the community where a fair number of Snow Lake’s current residents hail from. However, more than this, it is the name of a musical group featuring a fellow, Devin Latimer, who once lived in “Leaf.”

Leaf Rapids (the group) performed at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 in the Lawrie Marsh Community Hall. Sadly, very few people were on hand to take in what was reported to be an excellent show.

Described as a “powerhouse duo who frame their music on a continuum that stretches from the Manitoba grasslands to Nashville’s modern streets,” Leaf Rapids consists of the husband and wife team of Keri and Devin Latimer. The duo evolved from the indie folk band, Nathan, which won two Canadian Folk Music titles and the 2008 Juno award (Canadian Grammy) for Roots Traditional Album of the Year.

The couple’s website ( states that they were named for the small Manitoba town, Leaf Rapids, and the group and their music is primarily a reflection of landscape – miles and miles of grass or snow in any direction, and the northern lights dancing above. “Their sound resembles the Canadian grasslands, as beautiful as they are harsh, taking notes from Canada’s soft tones and tough seasons,” read a review on performers.

Their album, Lucky Stars is said to show a “far-ranging vision of country and western music that stretches from Manitoba to Memphis and a soundtrack for the modern cowboy – part Canadian trucker, part Manitoba Motown. From Keri Latimer’s sweet, Dolly Parton-esque vocal styling, to Devin Latimer’s slow-and-steady bass lines, Lucky Stars brings the deep roots of North America’s Great Plains into the new millennium.”

Asked how the local show was received, the Aurora Borealis Council’s Phyllis Verbeek couldn’t hide her discouragement. “Numbers were disappointing; only 50 persons attended,” she said. “These were local Northern Manitoba performers and Snow Lake let them down. Having said that, it was great to see a number of our former Leaf Rapids citizens in attendance and they enjoyed a time to converse with an old acquaintance.”

Verbeek says the couple’s tunes are written and sung from the heart and depict ordinary life events. “They portray music through everyday things like driving around and seeing the view, as one is attempting to put the baby to sleep; or old relationships long gone, leaving bittersweet memories,” she said. “The most popular part of the performance was when the band invited their ‘surprise’ guest to join them. Pat O’Connor was called to the stage and played drums during the last four songs of the evening. This was enjoyed by all. Pat and Devin are long-time friends, having grown up together at Lynn Lake and Leaf Rapids.”

Verbeek also said that the Aurora Borealis Council was thrilled to have Hudbay help sponsor this event.

In other news, Snow Lake’s Remembrance Day ceremony was once again a moving and much appreciated gift from those noble few who staff the executive and membership rolls of the Snow Lake Legion. This was a day to remember…

From our newest veteran David Bishop, proudly carrying the flag of our country in the parade (wearing his regimental beret and the Afghan General Campaign Star on his chest), to our oldest and much cherished Second World War veteran, Ben Foord, who received a spontaneous round of applause as he left the Lawrie Marsh Hall after the ceremony… this day was one for the ages.

From the stirring spectacle of two Mounties dressed in red serge marching in the colour party; to the numerous parents who made the effort and brought their children… this day was special.

From Cheryl Turnbull’s inspiring message of Remembrance; to the ‘Poppy Poem’ that Legion president Sharon Stubbs so poignantly put forth… this day was emotional.

From the Remembrance Day mural fashioned by Gail and Tawny Eastman to the moving messages from the clergy of several local churches… this day was inclusive.

From Judy Bishop laying the Silver Cross Mother’s Wreath; to Tony Butt placing a wreath in remembrance of Second World War pilot officer/navigator Fintan Howard Lalor… this day was heartwarming.

From the cold wind on the parade square to the warm hearts and welcome nourishment at the close of events in the Legion… this was a day of remembrance!

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