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, June 28, 2011

Interview with Laurie Siblock (Part Three)

Laurie Siblock
Special Events & Community Liasion
Lang Pioneer Village Museum

To get THE INSIDE SCOOP, I really wanted to understand why “living history” was important? Laurie tells me that “an important aspect of “living history” is that it helps preserve the knowledge of how objects of the past were used. If an artifact, say a rope-making machine, is only on static display and no one is operating it then it won’t be long before the knowledge of how the artifact was used and the skills to use it are lost. In museum terms, the artifact is tangible heritage and the knowledge of how to use it and its cultural significance is intangible heritage. Living history helps preserve both tangible and intangible heritage for future generations.” I asked Laurie, again, why this was important … I really wanted to understand and get SCOOP! Laurie seemed to be very reflective when she replied … “part of understanding history is to help us not repeat the mistakes of the past. It helps us gain appreciation for what we have today”. Laurie says it is important to get into the mindset and understand the personalities of the people before us! Laurie herself states she is just intrinsically interested in “living history”. Our ancestors paved the way for us and she appreciates what we have. Laurie mentioned the fact that it would have taken three days to journey, of about 55 kilometers (about an hours drive today). The richness in the past can inform you and help you understand the present. An example of the past influencing our future today is the weavers “loom” at Lang Pioneer Village. It is similar to our modern computer, with Laurie saying that it’s amazing that the origin of computer technology (in part) came from the textile industry.
(To be continued)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Interview with Laurie Siblock (Part Two)

Laurie Siblock
Special Events & Community Liasion
Lang Pioneer Village Museum

THE INSIDE SCOOP allows me the opportunity to really obtain insight and get the answers to perhaps question you too have wondered! I got to ask Laurie what helped make Lang Pioneer Village so special and different. Laure says …“I think it’s the “living” aspect of the Village that makes it so engaging for guests when they visit Lang Pioneer Village. Having interpreters in costume demonstrating 19th-century living creates a vibrancy and energy in the Village that you just wouldn’t get with static displays or digital interactive units. We consistently hear from visitors that the interpreters were “so welcoming” and “informative” and “friendly”. It is one of the things that keep’s people coming back”. What Laurie hears from the visitors is that “they get to reflect on simpler times, (not that these times were simple) and they learn to appreciate what they do have themselves today”. Laurie says “people get a sense of peace when they visit the village. It’s a time when families get to connect, stop and reflect!” With visitors coming back to the Village to re-visit from time to time, I wondered what Lang does to keep things fresh for these visitors? Where does Laurie get additional ideas and information from? She tells me “I think the most important thing I do in my job to keep things “fresh” at Lang Pioneer Village is to listen. My coworkers and the volunteers at Lang Pioneer Village have lots of great ideas and when they pass them on I’m grateful. Even if I’m not able to bring an idea to fruition right away, I always write it down in my resources and ideas spreadsheet so it’s there to pick up on later. The other thing I do is to constantly keep my eyes and ears open for performers, demonstrators, collectors, potential partnerships, craft activities - in a sense I’m always on the job as I seek out these things wherever I go. It’s also important to keep in touch with what is happening at other museums and events. To stay in touch with that I surf the web but also attend conferences and workshops to network with other event and museum professionals”.
(To be continued)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Interview with Laurie Siblock (Part One)

Laurie Siblock
Special Events & Community Liason
Lang Pioneer Village Museum

Lang Pioneer Village Museum was established by the County of Peterborough in 1967 to celebrate and preserve the rural history of the area. Each year, thousands of visitors from around the world take a trip back in time to discover how the pioneers lived.
Nestled along the banks of the historic Indian River, Lang Pioneer Village Museum features over twenty-five restored and furnished buildings constructed between 1825 and 1899. Many of the buildings were donated by townships within the County of Peterborough and were moved to their present site when the Museum was founded.

A photographer's paradise, the Village is complete with lanes and pathways, farm animals, rail and stump fences, vegetable and herb gardens, as well as other authentic details of a 19th century hamlet. Villagers of all ages, dressed in authentic historical costume, go about their daily chores contributing to the authenticity of this living history experience.

The vibrancy that visitors find at Lang Pioneer Village Museum is made possible through the efforts of over 170 volunteers who contribute their skills, time, energy and passion to bringing the Village to life and to preserving the buildings, artifacts and knowledge for future generations.

This is the world that this weeks interviewee, Laurie Siblock, lives and works in!

Laurie Siblock has been with Lang Pioneer Village since August of 2006. She has many responsibilities and varied duties. She tells me “there is never a dull day working at Lang Pioneer Village Museum!” Laurie plans the Special Events for the season, manages the Volunteer Program and develops community partnerships. The Village is closed to the public from January to April and that time is a crucial planning and development time for her! This is when all the bookings of performers, demonstrators and crafts people for all the season are completed. Needless to say, Laurie is extremely busy during this time! I asked Laurie how they kept things fresh and new for visitors who frequented the Village! Laurie tells me that it’s really important to find new and interesting things (that are still in keeping with the representation of 19th-century living)! She says… “We have a terrific team of 170 dedicated volunteers, but as we grow, it is a challenge to find enough volunteers to meet the needs and demands of the Village. Also, there are fewer and fewer people out there who have the traditional skills that are needed for demonstrations such as tinsmithing, blacksmithing, butter making, spinning, weaving, broom making, etc,. It is important to keep these skills alive so training the volunteers becomes more and more important. Finally, in order to engage the community and provide diversity in programming, it is important to develop partnerships with community groups and organizations. The Manager, Joe Corrigan, and I do presentations to community groups, meet with other museums and organizations to partner and reach out to Guilds, trades groups, and specialist organizations to stay connected with the community. I am also one of the Professional Development Directors for the Peterborough Chapter of the Association of Managers of Volunteer Services. In that role, I create learning opportunities for and network with other Volunteer Managers in the area”.
(To be continued)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Interview with Madeleine Marentette (Part One)

Madeleine Marentette
Grail Springs & Grail Lady Faire

When I heard about The Grail Lady Faire, I wondered what it was all about! After exploring their wonderful website (http://www.grailladyfaire.com/), I still was “on the fence” whether I would like to attend. Clearly I had some questions. Fortunately, through THE INSIDE SCOOP, I am able to talk with interesting leaders and organizers of festivals and events across Ontario. So, I thought I would speak to the founder of The Grail Lady Faire, Madeleine Marentette.

Madeleine is the Author and Founder of Grail Springs a retreat that lies in one of the most enchanted regions of Canada. Located in Bancroft Ontario, it is nestled amongst a stunning setting with a spring-fed lake, meditation gardens, horses, wildlife and hundreds of acres of forested trails. Healthy forests, hiking trails, abundant wildlife and breathtaking scenery. The Grail Lady Faire is a wonderful opportunity for women to gather, as Madeleine states, “to be inspired and inspire others”! The photographs on the Grail Springs website were a little intimidating to me. I felt the visitors to the festival had a certain fitness level (as Yoga is a part of the events offered). Madeleine was quick to clear this up this misconception by stating, "you do not require any fitness level nor other previous experience to join in this journey. There is something for everyone to participate in". There is just so much to choose from, I recommend you too check out their website for all they will be offering at this great Grail Lady Faire!

I still had a few questions for Madeleine that I found helpful when making up my mind to attend. I have never tried Yoga before, nor experienced a lot of what will be offered at this event. I did not want to be naive, but asked a simple question to Madeleine, "What is the “Grail” and what was her goal for this event?" As I understand it, from speaking with Madeleine, "The Grail concept is basic, if you ask, you will know! It goes back to ancient times, with discussions in King Arthur’s time and the Nights of the Round Table. Esoteric spiritual schools were based in finding the truth, seek and she will find! Madeleine explains that our experience is the human journey". She said "that is not until we ask the questions, do we begin to follow on a path." What Madeleine is excited about with The Grail Lady Faire, is that a “whole bunch of individuals can get together, a networking opportunity as it where”. Madeleine went on to say, "It is an opportunity to meet potential future business partners, investors in your own projects and goals, women sharing visions and finding answers to make changes in their lives, to grown and prosper. This festival attracts women looking for change and support in their lives. The Faire is looking for women are ready to roll up their sleeves and answer the call to action. Women, who are looking for support and to co-create, invest and collaborate to be the change." I asked Madeleine if she herself had some “answers” and had been able to “make changes”. She shares that "she has had challenges in the past, but, when she decided to stop trying to fix her body, and focused on fixing her way of life did her body heal. She said she had resolved her challenges and feels that everything has a solution, in body, mind, spirit and relationships." For Madeleine, she tells me "she has reached a sense of peace and there in nothing she wants for." Here is the INSIDE SCOOP; Madeleine said “life is a journey. We need to learn to love the mystery of life and enjoy the feeling of discovery." I felt right then that I connected with Madeleine. I feel sometimes, people spend a lot of time focusing on the “whys” in life. It is not until we embrace all we have, good and bad, and all the challenges that we can move forward. I feel most people stay stuck in the past. I know I have, but, with love and support, I am learning to do exactly what Madeleine is trying to do. She says “I live to be inspired and to inspire others”. So I say, enjoy the journey, learn to love the mystery. At The Grail Lady Faire, Madeleine hopes to inspire participants/attendees to help them reflect upon their own personal passions and drive in health and well being. Madeleine is just there to “drive the bus” … I recommend going along for the ride!
(To be continued)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Interview with Ian Farthing (Part Four)

Ian Farthing
Artistic Director
St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival

Focusing on THE INSIDE SCOOP, I wanted to help other organizers get a feel for some of the challenges the audience/visitors to a festival/event do not see. Mr. Farthing’s comical side started his reply and went on with “Now that would be giving away some of the secrets that make up the magic of theatre! Joking aside, probably the largest challenge is raising enough money each year to ensure our survival. Ticket sales only make up 24% of what it costs to put the festival on in the summer, and it is important to us that we keep our ticket prices affordable. So that means we have to do a lot of additional fundraising – applying for grants from differing levels of government, foundations, and our very generous individual and corporate donors – people who believe that we are making a difference in our community and want to support our vision.” As Artistic Director, Ian Farthing perhaps was the best person to get THE INSIDE SCOOP from regarding how many people audition for the season’s performances and what the process entailed. I had heard rumors that the competition is fierce! Ian tells me, “We get in the region of 600+ submissions from actors who want to audition. Because we like to have a mix of returning actors and new faces, that means that we are usually looking to cast about six new faces each year. So there’s a one in a hundred chance to start off with!” Oh my goodness, from all the reality competition shows we see on television these days, we see how tens of thousands apply and it gets down to the final 20 elimination. The odds at the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival seem good in comparison, but the stakes are so high and the competition of professionals fierce! Mr. Farthing goes on to explain the audition process, “We hold auditions in Toronto and Ottawa and we can usually see about 60 actors over three days. They are asked to prepare one or two Shakespeare monologues and a short song”. Yes my friends, these people/actors at the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival are among some of the most talented singers I have ever heard! Ian says, “If we think they might be a good fit for us, they will be asked to read from scenes from the two plays. It’s a tricky process because we perform our shows in repertory, so we need to make sure the actors are right for both plays. And that they’re right for Prescott. Not every actor is suited to living in a small town for 10 weeks in the summer!” I will have to ask Ian another time if the outdoor amphitheatre creates any bearing on choosing an actor as their voices would have to have great projection to be heard over the sounds of nature!
(To be continued)