Monday Morning Musings

Posted on July 3, 2017 under Monday Morning Musings with 2 comments

Our finest ( Published with permission )

What do you get when you combine the creative talents of three extraordinary people?

Answer: A spectacle.

It was a Canada Day celebration for the ages. I feel reasonably safe in saying that this year’s Canada Day , our nation’s 150th,  will long be remembered as one of the best, if not the best ever. Despite the dreary weather, the town of Antigonish looked terrific with storefronts proudly displaying our country’s flag and the streets adorned with flowers and banners. The pancake breakfast and children’s events were well attended and the fireworks didn’t disappoint. But the centrepiece of the day’s activities was the gathering at the Millennium Centre in the evening.

Volunteers were honored and dignitaries expounded upon the virtues and frailties of this wonderful nation. If there was a central theme to the evening it was acknowledgement of our First Nations people and the desire to try and right some of the wrongs that they have suffered over the centuries.

It was heartwarming to see so many of our new Syrian friends and neighbors in attendance. They seemed so joyous and happy to be a part of something very special.

But this was a night of extraordinary artistic excellence. It is always dangerous singling out people because it takes dozens if not hundreds of volunteers to pull off an event of this magnitude. But I don’t think anyone would disagree that the evening belonged to three individuals whose collective talents turned an event into an extravaganza.

Make no doubt about it. This was Andrew Murray’s brainchild. When we heard that “ Councillor Murray” was heading the Canada Day activities, we knew that we would be in for something that would be memorable.

He didn’t disappoint.

I had the honor of sitting beside Andrew’s father, Bob,  as members  of the community choir. Like many of Andrew’s previous artistic creations, this one just “ sprang from his head” according to Bob. Unless you were there, it would be hard to describe all of the color and creativity that Andrew brought to the fore. While the evening had its moments of sober thought and poignancy, it was mostly joyful and playful… like Andrew himself.  He was the Master of Ceremonies . Most M/C’s stick closely to a script. Andrew writes his in real time which is pure entertainment in itself.

Sally Clarke has been a driving force for creative dance in our community for decades. Her dancers put on an amazing performance that kept the audience spellbound. They performed a dance routine to the strains of Bobby Gimby’s “ Canada” song which was all the rage on Canada’s 100th birthday in 1967. The presentation was colorful and brilliant. Sally herself was one of the dancers. She still carries a youthful mien and was not out of place with children who were significantly younger than she!

I had never met Ryan Billington until I joined ( co-opted by my better half and Andrew! ) the community choir. The group had several rehearsals leading up to the performance. It didn’t take long to realize that he was extremely talented and had the respect of the 50+ members of the entourage. He has a deft touch and has an uncanny ability to get the best out of a group with an even handedness that is admirable. Even when the choir made mistakes ( and there were plenty along the way ), he would correct us in a way that was never insulting. He inspired us to take pride in what we were doing and I think the choir put on a good show when it counted most.

A genius is described as someone who is exceptionally intelligent or creative. I don’t think one would get much of an argument to suggest that ,what we witnessed Saturday evening at the Keating Millenium Centre , was the work of three geniuses. They are part of the rich fabric which makes Antigonish a place that we are proud to call home.

Have a great week.

P.S. For you music lovers, check out this wind ensemble’s performance of ” The Maple Leaf Forever.”

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