Why an Interview,,,
Over the years we have been able to meet and talk with some very interesting people. They have shared with us their knowledge and have provided us with a great deal of insight as to how and why festivals and events work and why they are so important to our communities and to the Province of Ontario. With this in mind, we decided that we wanted you to meet and hear from some of the wonderful people who work so hard to provide us all with such wonderful Ontario Festivals and Events! We are pleased and proud to present "THE INSIDE SCOOP"!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Donna Bennett & Brian Finley
Westben Arts Festival Theatre
I will continue with THE INSIDE SCOOP, with Scoop from the Westben Arts Festival Theatre. Here I have the privilege of interviewing Donna Bennett Marketing Director, soprano, pianist/composer.
A little history about Westben … “Westben’s primary venue, The Barn is located three kilometres north-west of Campbellford, on gently rolling farmland previously owned by three generations of the West family. West School and West Cemetery lie just to the north, while the area’s principal brick-making machine sits in retirement in the front field. Purchased by the Bennett family in the 1960’s, the area was dubbed “Westben,” Westben’s co-founders, Donna Bennett & Brian Finley built The Barn in 2000 with the help of the community. The Westben Board of Directors formed in 1999 and received charitable status in the year 2000. Conceived to compliment its naturally beautiful setting, the timber-frame structure was designed and built by Didier Schvartz of Lakefield’s Sun Wood Company. With its massive fir and hemlock beams and locally-milled pine ceiling, The Barn has excellent acoustics. Walls and doors roll back to allow music to waft over the surrounding meadow. The stage is elevated by 4 feet. 300 cushioned theatre seats are located directly in front of the stage in 20 rows of 15 seats, all with an unobstructed view. Each of the two wings can accommodate an additional 50 chairs which offer good proximity to the stage and generally good sight-lines. These seats are offered at a discounted rate.” This year, Westben "is trilled to present the world premiere of a brand new Canadian Folk Opera, The Auction".
I was wondering how Donna chose the direction of the thyme for the season and what the process entails. Ms. Bennett shares with us … “We wanted to open the Concerts at The Barn Season with the premiere of this new opera.”
For many festivals and events, it is critical to have volunteers! ... I asked Donna how many volunteers Westben required for the season and do you have any systems in place to “keep them happy”. I wasn’t surprised to learn ... “Westben has an amazing volunteer coordinator – Marilyn Keene who had 2 assistants that organized 250 volunteers. It takes 10-20 volunteers on site per concert.”
(To Be Continued)
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Donna Bennett & Brian Finley
Westben Arts Festival Theatre
For this edition of THE INSIDE SCOOP, I bring to you Scoop from the Westben Arts Festival Theatre. Here I have the privilege of interviewing Donna Bennett Marketing Director, soprano, pianist/composer. “Bringing culture and nature together in perfect harmony, the magnificent 400–seat timber-frame barn opens onto a lush meadow, surrounded by the gently rolling hills of Northumberland County. The stage hosts an incredible array of renowned Canadian and international artists, from full symphony orchestras & choruses to chamber music and soloists. The best in class in a relaxed country setting!”
I begin with asking Ms. Bennett …. “It was noted that you were enjoying your international career as a soprano, when in 1990 you returned to your hometown, Campbellford. We were interested to learn about your background what led you to this career?” Donna replied … “I grew up in Campbellford and came from a musical family. Have a Bachelor of Music in voice from U of T (where I met Brian) and a Masters of Music in voice performance from Munich. Studied at opera schools in London, England, Banff and Victoria. Sang professionally in England, Scotland, Germany, Italy, US and Canada – see bio.”
As mentioned above, in 1990, soprano Donna Bennett and pianist /composer Brian Finley were enjoying the early stages of international careers. Having lived and worked for several years in Europe, they returned to Donna’s hometown of Campbellford, Ontario to start a family. Inspired by the talented and energetic community, the couple shared their love of music making by performing and hosting events at local venues. They also began teaching advanced level music students and leading the music program at St. John’s United Church in Campbellford. I asked Donna if she still taught advanced level music students and was she still leading the music program at St. John’s United Church in Campbellford? Donna tells us … “I teach privately and at Trinity College School in Port Hope - no longer at St John’s. I lead the Westben Youth and Teen Chorus (40 children)”.
I was wondering if Donna got to enjoy watching the performances. She said … “My first opera was when I was 15 and my mom took me to Toronto to see Die Walkure by Wagner by the Canadian Opera Company. I later sang professionally in the chorus and then leading roles. I see all the performances at Westben and it gives me great joy.” In fairness to all, Donna tells us that she enjoys “the variety of performers that come to Westben”. If you ever get to attend Westben, you can enjoy its’ magical blend of world class music, wonderful people and a magnificent setting.
(To Be Continued)
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
"Will you remember this advice"
Dawn Tack, Owner, Gardens Plus
Part 2 …
More fun INSIDE SCOOP with Gardens Plus owner Dawn Tack, sharing some of Dawn’s “tips” so you might avoid some of the “challenges” that I did while planting…..
Full Sun (Southern or West exposure)
Coreopsis 'Sternaler' another long bloomer with 2 1/2” daisy shaped bloom with dark centers and serrated edges.
Daylilies and I am not talking about the roadside wild ones. The hybrids grow in controllable clumps and often re-bloom Check out these for starters; 'Going Banana's', 'Huckleberry Candy' and the crème of the crop as well as best bloomer of all in a watermelon pink 'Endless Heart'. You can create a rainbow of colours and have bloom from June to later October .
Cone flowers are always an awesome choice. Some highly desirable new choices include; Raspberry Truffle and Solar Flare. These are not only attractive in the garden, they make great bouquets of blooms to bring indoors.
The following take full sun or part shade so even more versatile.
Columbine -Some of the more resent introductions are way more easy care. Check out 'Dorothy Rose' it has a double bonnet of pink. Very unique.
Geranium yes, but hardy geranium also known as Crainsbill. Try 'Rozanne' blooms from later in June right through to October. Purple blooms and foliage that will meander around and between your other plants.
Can not leave out Salvia's. Check out the brand new 'Sweet 16' , 'Plumosa' and old time favorite with purple stems 'Caradonna'. These are known for long blooming specially if you cut off spent blooms.
With just a bit more consideration in your choices this season and looking beyond the blooms you can be the envy of your neighborhood this season with way less effort.
To find out more “tips” from Dawn, you can contact her by visiting her website at http://www.gardensplus.ca/ , or calling her at 705-742-5918 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
"Take Notes .... You will need them"
Dawn Tack, Gardens Plus
at Peterborough Garden Show
This past Spring the Festival Nomad and myself had the privilege of enjoying the Peterborough Garden Show put on by The
Peterborough Horticultural Society,
and Area Master Gardeners, and the Northumberland Master Gardeners. We
considered this show to be one of the best organized, well attended and
informative events we have been to. Our friend Dawn Tack, owner of Gardens Plus located in Peterborough was there
that day giving a demonstration on “planting, splitting and much more about Hosta’s”.
I DO NOT have a “green thumb”. It
turns out that EVERYTHING I did last
year with my Hosta plants was completely incorrect! Dawn tried to comfort me in saying that they should come back this
year, alas, they did not. For a fun INSIDE SCOOP,
I thought I would share some of Dawn’s “tips”
so you might avoid some of the “challenges” that I did while planting….. Peterborough
Easy care Perennial top picks for 2012
Not all perennials are created equal. Before you consider adding anything to your gardens consider their requirements in lighting and overall needs. So what does easy care mean? What qualifies them to earn a place on our list?
· they should thrive year after year
· not needing to be divided very often
· tolerant to drought conditions or surviving by a once a week watering or rain.
· resistance to disease and insects
· do not need to be supported by stakes
· hardy and not needing winter protection
· long blooming at least 6-8 weeks and maybe even re-bloom
Gardening should be a pleasure not a strain.
Part Shade (Northern or East exposure)
Perennial of the year for 2012 is Brunnera 'Jack Frost' chosen by PPA and one of our long time favorites. It emerges in the early spring even before the Hosta and blooms tiny blue clusters. The blooms resemble forget-me-nots. The silver veined heart shaped leaves glow and just keep growing as the season goes on.
Some new and exciting Hosta picks are 'Empress Wu' (the new giant) , 'Sparkler'(smaller long leaves with streaks), 'Little Miss Sunshine'(bright gold long leaves), 'Fireworks'(mini thick leaved green and white), Hosta of the year for 2012 '
(very wide edge of cream and green centered). 8,000 different varieties to
choose from these days. Liberty
Most Coral Bells have the best of both worlds great colourful foliage and blooms. The colours available are endless from gold tones to deep burgundy's. Like ' Midnight Rose' (dark purple with splashes of pink dots), 'Electra' (bright yellow with red veins), 'Melting Fire' (curly burgundy with lighter undersides) and a close relative 'Solar Eclipse' (burgundy cut leaves with edges of lime green). Just one tip during spring is the time to push your coral bells back down into the soil if they heave up with the frost.
To find out more “tips” from Dawn, you can contact her by visiting her website at http://www.gardensplus.ca/ , or calling her at 705-742-5918 or e-mail at email@example.com. Or Stay tuned for Part 2 of this Blog ….
(To Be Continued)