Old Ottawa South Community Association

Photo by Jake Morrison.
Photo by Jake Morrison.

Ottawa Grassroots Festival Offers Free Daytime Programming

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There are many interesting daytime workshops programmed to take place Saturday and Sunday as part of the free component of the Ottawa Grassroots Festival happening April 25-28, 2019 at the Southminster United Church in Old Ottawa South.

Interested in gardening? After the winter we have just experienced, who wouldn't have a myriad of questions to ask a master gardener like Mary Reid of Green Thumb Garden Centre. She is a wealth of gardening knowledge and loves sharing and would love nothing more than to inspire more green thumbs.

Have you ever participated in a sing-along song circle? Each participant will have a turn to sing, lead or request a tune, or pass. Unless otherwise instructed by the current song leader, the group sings along, adding in harmonies and instrumental leads. Each person in the song circle will have the opportunity to either sing a song, ask the circle mates to join in for the choruses only, or any other combination that comes to mind. All acoustic instruments and musical styles are welcome at this workshop.

There are several other opportunities where you can lend your voice during the festival. The Open Stage has been part of Grassroots since its inception and so has Sjef Frenken. Whether you have a song to sing, a poem to share or an instrumental piece to play, this is the event that could launch your music career. Participants of all ages and varying levels of expertise sign-up at the beginning of the 2-hour segment to perform to the most supportive audience one can ask for.

If singing solo is too daunting, then perhaps singing in a choir might be the answer. The Terry Penner Weekend Choir is another tradition at Ottawa Grassroots. This community choir, led by Rowena Pearl, welcomes anyone who cares to lend their voice. There are practices scheduled and a final performance taking place at the end of the festival on Sunday. Lots of ways to experience the unique vibe offered at Grassroots, including babies and toddlers. Young families will be thrilled to learn singer-songwriter, Kristine St. Pierre, will lead a workshop for the youngest visitors at this event, with music, song and movement. Without these engaging and fun workshops for the whole family, it would not be grassroots!

The daytime line-up of musical performances offers a variety of genres of experienced and emerging artists. Jazz fans take note. Karen Oxorn and Tim Bedner team up as a duo, delivering beautiful jazz standards and some classic tunes. Grassroots welcomes Canadian Folk Music Award’s 2008 Vocalist of the Year, Tannis Slimmon, who will perform with recording artist, Lewis Melville. Fans of fiddling will be amazed with one of the youngest performers, Jessica Wedden, a rising star and trick fiddler who will be backed by Jon McLurg, Other performers to catch over the weekend at this festival are Jessica Pearson and the East Wind, Kevin Ecker, Pete Woods, Christine Graves and Mark Evenchick - song circle, Nina Peterson, Steve Kennedy, Dave Doron and Howie Hooper, Nona Grandea and Jamie Anderson. Siqiniup Qilauta does Inuit cultural performances that include: throat singing, drum dancing, games and singing traditional songs.

Online tickets and festival passes for Ottawa Grassroots evening performances are available via the festival website. A festival pass is $59 (online); $60 at the door. Ticket prices for individual nights are: $20-Thurs.,$30-Fri. and $35-Sat. They can be purchased online via the festival website and at both Compact Music locations. The daytime programming on both Saturday and Sunday are FREE for everyone! A reminder that children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

This volunteer driven, not for profit festival thrives on bringing communities together. There is so much to experience over four fun-filled days and much music to discover! There is nothing to lose here and so much to gain. Visit the festival website: www.ottawagrassrootsfestival.com for the program schedule of all these great performances and more. Add this event to your calendar, folks!

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