Thanksgiving 2011

In this newsletter:
– Thank you Dean! October 22 “Hats ‘n Spats Gala”
– Giving Thanks For My Village
– Change to March events

Thank you Dean! October 22 “Hats ‘n Spats Gala”

What: “Hats ‘n Spats Gala”
When: 8-10pm, Saturday, October 22
Where: Westboro Masonic Hall, 430 Churchill at Byron
Who: Sheesham & Lotus

In all cultural endeavours there are inevitably a few standout contributors. The folk music community in Ottawa over the past 35 years is no exception. We have our stars. I’m not referring to performers who have risen from the open stage to the main stage, although we have many of those. I am referring to the enablers, the entrepreneurs…those who build the structures, the organizations, the ethics, the business models upon which folk artists stand.

There are many patrons of folk music who understand that this is not a commercially rich vein but one that must be nurtured in order to flower. Without a folk oriented music store and school there are fewer resources for learning and sharing. So thank you Arthur McGregor for the Ottawa Folklore Centre. Without a folk festival there are fewer opportunities to celebrate our finest achievements. Thank you Chris for launching the Ottawa Folkfest. Without a folk club there is no sympathetic venue for new folk performers to hone their craft. Thank you Dean Verger for Rasputin’s Folk Cafe and for being a mentor to us all. On October 22 we will honour Dean for creating the legacy that began as a modest cafe with a clear set of values, to a community organization working to carry those values forward.

Oct 22 2011

Hats'n Spats with Sheesham & Lotus

What is that legacy? Dean established more than a folk nightclub. He established an ethic at the Cafe that remains unique in Ottawa and is at the core of what Spirit of Rasputin’s works to preserve. Quite simply, it involves respect. Respect for the performer. Respect for the audience. Respect for the venue and its staff. Respect for the environment. Respect for our folk traditions. Respect for those who create new songs and stories. Respect for those who keep the old songs and stories alive.

On October 22, Dean Verger will be inducted by Spirit of Rasputin’s as its first honourary Lifetime Member. The celebration will be interspersed with short anecdotes, or “tales told out of school” from many Cafe alumni…all told with great respect of course! Sheesham & Lotus are driving up from Kingston to provide the musical entertainment. Both musicians are veterans of the contra dance band circuit and offer a highly entertaining brand of old-time fiddle and banjo music. They are as much fun to watch as to listen to.

So what’s with hats and spats? It’s just too close to Halloween to pass up. The old-time music brought this to mind. So if you have a great old hat or some especially fancy or odd footware, why not join in a little fun? If you don’t have such accoutrements, that’s fine too. Just come to show your respect -:) The press release I sent out about this event called “Folk Music Still Hot Three Years After Fire” is on the website in a slightly altered form.

Tickets are available at The Ottawa Folklore Centre 1111 Bank St., Collected Works Bookstore 1242 Wellington West, and online securely here. (https://www NULL.paypal

Giving Thanks For My Village

Villages are personal by nature. For humans, the village is our most natural cluster, an organic outgrowth of the extended family. Villagers rely on one another, support each other as friends, neighbours, and relatives. Humanity has lived in villages for tens of thousands of years. We are well adapted to it’s size and form. Villagers can identify each other, usually by name, or at least by occupation, or by dwelling. Villagers know each other either intimately or casually. Villages provide a carefully evolved level of comfort, security. guidance and structure.

Cities are anonymous. Neighbours often don’t know a great deal about each other. Support systems are institutional. Cities are a newer phenomenon and we are less adapted to them. The scale of the city provides more amenities, increased variety, and greater opportunity. But at a cost. The city no longer fits neatly within our capacity to comprehend our social network. So how do we cope?

We who thrive in cities find our own villages within the metropolis: a place of worship, a workplace, a neighbourhood pub. Each provides a milieu to recreate the village. A walled garden where we trust each other. Where we can ask a favour, celebrate a triumph, share a grief, or offer a helping hand. And if we cannot find a suitable village, we create one, drawing together those of like persuasion in a common purpose.

On this day, I want to thank The Spirit of Rasputin’s Arts Society members, volunteers and supporters…my village in the city…for providing the friendship, creativity, inspiration, solidarity and vision we have enjoyed together for the past few years. As Rick Hayes penned so well, “Songs and companions mean a lot to me.”

Change to March Concerts

Sadly, The Creaking Tree String Quartet has just disbanded and our planned concert with them on March 10th is cancelled. This cloud, however, has Song-along as its silver lining. On March 9th and 10th, Spirit of Rasputin’s will host the 20th Anniversary Great Canadian Song-along at the Westboro Masonic Hall. Host Tony Turner is organizing the topics and plans the usual open-style “register in advance and play your song” for Friday March 9th. Saturday March 10th will be a celebration concert with participants selected by Tony from those who have had the greatest impact over the event’s 20 year span. Did you know Chris White has performed at every Song-along since its inception? Tony will release more details over the next few months.

Due to popular demand, Carol Noel has also scheduled an extra Rasputin’s Beard for March 24th. Three per year just wasn’t enough. “Winter, spring, summer and fall. All you gotta do is call.” Call Carol that is, at 613-729-7973 or email her at if you have a band that wants a spot in The Beard.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Hollis Morgan
President, Spirit of Rasputin’s Arts Society

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