LITTLE CURRENT—The joyous strains of music rose to the ceiling of the Little Current United Church on Sunday, as the Little Current Choir, under the leadership of Barbara Cranston on piano, presented ‘ Melodies and Memories ,” a tribute to the late Irene (Tann) Wood-Cadieux.
The choral/sing-along raised funds for a Manitoulin Secondary School memorial bursary in the name of Ms. Wood-Cadieux, a stalwart founding member of the church’s outreach program and a long-time contributor to the pages of The Expositor with her column Little Current News, Notes and Nonsense.
Ms. Wood-Cadieux’s sense of humour, love of music and deep faith were recalled in the presentations by organizer Gail Gjos and former Little Current Pastoral Charge Reverend Faye Stevens.
Ms. Gjos, sporting a sling on one arm, put most of the credit for the event onto her fellow outreach committee members. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of my long suffering committee,” she quipped. Ms. Gjos noted that Ms. Wood-Cadieux had left a generous donation to the outreach committee from her estate, but the terms of the committee do not allow for retention of any funds, so the decision was made to create the bursary. The bursary, explained Ms. Gjos, “will continue her legacy by providing a bursary fund in Irene’s name to be given to those Manitoulin Secondary School students who will be furthering their education in agriculture/animal husbandry. In those years where there is no student to receive the bursary the fund will go to the MSS music program.”
Reverend Stevens illustrated Ms. Wood-Cadieux’s compassion and spirit by recalling her efforts in the wake of the mad cow scare when the nation’s cattle farmers were unable to export their beef. The indomitable woman organized a dinner “to let the farmers of the community know that the United Church knew that they were suffering and that the community cared,” she said. “From that day forward her bumper sported a sticker that read ‘Eat today? Thank a farmer.”
When asked how, at her advanced years (she lived to 93) she was able to bring the hospital auxiliary tuck cart around to patients at the Manitoulin Health Centre, Ms. Wood-Cadieux replied “when I get up in the morning my feet hit the floor and I just get going.”
A number of risqué jokes that illustrated Ms. Wood-Cadieux’s sense of humour were relayed by Reverend Stevens. The only quite suitable for print being a letter to Santa. “Dear Santa, I have been good all year…well most of it…oh forget it, I will buy my own stuff!”
The program began with the old standards ‘Heart of My Heart,’ ‘Bouquet of Roses’ and ‘What a Friend (we have in Jesus),’ performed by the Little Current Choir, followed by a sing-along that included ‘You are My Sunshine,’ ‘Cruising Down the River’ and ‘I’ve Got a Luverly Bunch of Coconuts,’ in which the audience enthusiastically joined in.
In the mid-point of the concert, Stu Harris sang a solo ‘On the Street Where You Live,’ while wandering through the aisle of the pews and gesturing like a seasoned cabaret singer.
The evening ended with a well-deserved standing ovation and a social featuring coffee, tea and desserts prepared by the outreach committee.