Dawson Trail Dispatch February 2015

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La Broquerie Man Fiddles with the Past By Marianne Curtis We all know someone who has inherited a violin from their fiddler grandfather, yet it is not known if the instrument is valuable or if it should just be left at the curb. It is also difficult to know if vintage instruments are worth the effort to find someone to appraise or restore, especially if unable to gauge its overall condition. That is where Gary Brown, a musician and former tri-athlete from La Broquerie comes in. For the past decade, he has bought and restored numerous guitars and violins ranging in value and condition. He believes vintage guitars and violins should be given an opportunity to sing again. “I do not understand why people do not put old instruments back into service,” Brown said. “With string instruments, the more they are played the better they sound. They are made of real, high quality wood, but most people just put them aside Gary Brown shows off a vintage violin and guitar that he lovingly refurbished to play. and buy new.” Photo by Marianne Curtis Brown is a master at bringing old Along with refurbishing, buying and revintage violins back to life. From unknown value. Many antique violins homing vintage instruments, Brown simply replacing the strings, re- found in southern Manitoba came from restores instruments for MCC, which are stringing tattered bows, to a Europe in the late 1800’s when families sold either in thrift stores or in their silent complete restoration, he is up for immigrated. There are also a large number that were bought locally through Eaton’s auctions. He would like to expand services the challenge. to include local schools and musicians who “To me, every instrument is a and Sears’ Catalogues. A basic violin use string instruments as part of their diamond in the rough. I have not could be ordered for $3.40. A high quality programming. seen an instrument that I cannot violin with case could be purchased for Brown can also provide a layman’s fix,” he added. “The problem with $20. Today, those violins are worth up appraisal and help people identify the age, older string instruments is that to $2,000. “The joy comes from resurrecting the materials and general origins of an owners do not care for them dead; I am putting something back into instrument. properly.” “Every instrument has a life and a story; “Humidity can destroy an service that may otherwise be heading I just help them speak again,” Brown instrument,” said Brown. “Most to the junk,” Brown continued. “There concluded. violins are cracked because they is tremendous beauty in the old For a free estimate or further information dry out; they have to be stored instruments; they are meant to be played and enjoyed, not stuffed in a closet or email Gary at cgarybrown2@gmail.com or properly.” call 424-5544. Then there is the issue of basement.”

Ritchot Offers Funding for Community Programs By Marianne Curtis The RM of Ritchot is now accepting funding applications for grassroots community initiatives after the Manitoba Hydro’s Community Development Initiative released $131,000 in funding for grants. According to Ryan Graves, Ritchot’s new Community Economic Development Officer, the RM of Ritchot is pleased to announce the availability of funding within the Municipality for community based projects.

“We are looking forward to seeing what grassroots community initiatives are being developed...” The funding comes as part of the Manitoba Hydro Bipole III Community Initiatives Funding program. A total amount of $131,000 annually will be allocated to projects taking place within the Municipality of Ritchot boundaries, Graves explained. “We are looking forward to seeing what grassroots community initiatives are being developed, as well as partnering with all community groups to build capacity in the region and ultimately improve residents’ quality of life in the Municipality,” stated Graves. Funding through Manitoba Hydro’s Community Development Initiative Funding program began in 2013, and will continue for 10 years. The first year of funding was allocated to provide greenspace enhancement, and the second promoted active transportation. Moving into the third year, the RM of Ritchot has established a funding strategy that each community has access to after an application is submitted. To be approved for funding under the Community Initiatives Program projects must be able to promote environmental sustainability, promote resource rehabilitation and development or promote cultural or social development. Initiatives can also provide community infrastructure, training, employment and economic development. Applications are now available in electronic format on the municipal website, as well as in paper copy at the Municipal Office. Deadline for applications is April 15.