Folk Roots Collective debuts at Kagawong Winterfest

Folk Roots Collective perform at Kagawong Winterfest. The group is, from left, Jenna Carter, Jamie Ward, Matt Maranger, Andre Plante, Don Bainbridge and Marcel Beneteau.

KAGAWONG—An enthusiastic audience showed their support for the Folk Roots Collective ensemble last Friday evening as they kicked off the Winterfest activities at the Park Centre.

Jamie Ward (one half of the Housewives of Kagawong duo) began the evening by thanking everyone for braving the stormy night to be in attendance. The weather did not keep approximately 40 people from venturing out.

Lead vocals were shared among them as they each took turns at the microphone.

The Folk Roots Collective is comprised of Jenna Carter (local artist), Jamie Ward, Matt Maranger (guitar builder and the other half of the Housewives of Kagawong), Andre Plant (musician, recording studio engineer), Don Bainbridge (musician) and Marcel Beneteau (musician).

‘Walking on the Moon’ had some up on their feet as Mr. Bainbridge led in the Tom Russell/Katy Moffat song. Members of the audience were encouraged to sing along and song lists were handed out at the door.

The musicians sat in a half circle facing the audience who were also seated in rows in a semi circle, which gave an intimate feel to the evening.

Mr. Bainbridge took a turn at vocals with ‘Change’ by Don Baker. This is a song about “the long view of things,” he explained. “I discovered this song last summer.”

Ms. Carter, who had limited rehearsal time due to feeling unwell prior to Friday evening, showed no sign of ill health as she harmonized beautifully with Mr. Ward in Leonard Cohen’s ‘Suzanne.’

“This song,” shared Mr. Beneteau, “is about never giving up—like the (Canadian) women’s (Olympic) hockey team.” The applause and cheers from the audience led him into singing ‘The Mary Ellen Carter’ penned by Stan Rogers.

Mr. Ward and Mr. Beneteau each sang a song after a brief break, followed by Mr. Maranger, who accompanied by Mr. Bainbridge on mouth organ, played banjo and sang “one of the best ballads ever written, in my opinion” which was ‘Tecumseh Valley’ by Townes Van Zant.

One of the last songs of the evening, ‘Hard Times’ written by Stephen Foster, was written in the 1860s and “is still relevant,” the audience was told. Mr. Foster wrote such familiar songs as ‘Oh Suzannah’ and ‘Camptown Races.’

The finale, written by the Carter Family, ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken,’ rounded out an evening which was enjoyed by everyone. People of all ages attended and from three up to 83 and every age and generation in between, and tapped their feet in tune, clapped along, danced or sang.

At the end of the performance Mr. Ward thanked the audience for supporting the evening of music and noted that all donations would go toward Kagawong’s outdoor performance stage project (at White Pine Walk).

It is hoped, Mr. Ward told The Expositor following the performance, that the musical evenings become a regular event.