FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton Season Program (2019-2020)

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FirstOntario Firsts with Meghan Patrick

Welcome Home 2019 - 2020 Season

Arts Programs Why Needlework is “Sew Cool”

The Making of Milton’s Elvis

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Welcome to the FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton’s 2019 - 2020 season. Whether it’s your first visit, or you’re a regular patron, this venue is home to a variety of performances, cultural events, art exhibitions, and studio art programs. Our state-of-the-art Mattamy Theatre has great acoustics, and with only 500 seats, every vantage point is a good one. This makes seeing legendary performers like Burton Cummings an up-close-and-personal experience. In addition to Cummings, this season we have selected a mix of up-and-coming as well as veteran homegrown Canadian talent. Meghan Patrick is a rising star on the country music charts amassing three million streams last year on Spotify led by her hit song “Walls Come Down.” Veteran Canuck rockers Kim Mitchell, 54•40 and The Trews, all known for their distinctive songwriting abilities, will perform in Milton for the first time this season. Sloan and Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre are returning for encore performances at the Centre. Sloan will perform their classic album, Navy Blues, in its entirety, followed by a set of their hit songs. Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre will perform their mixed repertoire of dance, Teasing Gravity, which showcases this top notch dance company’s youthful athleticism set to a mix of original music alongside familiar tunes by Dexys Midnight Runners and The Moldy Peaches. Dust off your 50’s best and dress to impress at our inaugural Fall Ball Fundraising Gala featuring The Dreamboats. This charismatic foursome

blends the nostalgia of the 50’s and 60’s with a modern indie-rock sound. Proceeds from this event will go towards our $2 million fundraising campaign benefitting ArtSparks powered by The Dreamboats FirstOntario. ArtSparks will provide all Milton grade 1 to 8 students with the opportunity to experience performances and hands on art workshops annually, free of charge. This season includes a wide selection of musical performances, tribute acts, concerts, theatre, family shows, films, and festivals presented by the community. Many of this year’s events are listed in the centerfold of this program, but be sure to check our website and follow us on Instagram (@firstontarioartscentre) as we continue to add new shows. The happenings at the Centre are a testament to the year-round work of our dedicated staff, community organizers and volunteers who want to ensure that you have a great experience. We encourage you to reach out to a staff onsite or through our website if there’s anything we can do to make your time here more enjoyable. We recognize the specialness of communing together to experience arts and culture here at home in Milton, and thank you for your support. Enjoy the eighth season!

ABOUT THE CENTRE Where our community experiences the arts. The FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton provides experiences that foster an appreciation of the arts, from our community and beyond, through education, engagement, and exposure. This interdisciplinary arts venue builds and supports cultural vitality in the Town of Milton creating partnerships between the Town and the arts community. The FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton prides itself in providing professional support to community-based arts groups and artists.



Looking to rent space for an event or meeting? The FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton features performance and rehearsal space, an art gallery, studio space and meeting rooms. Contact or 905-875-5399 for further details.

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The FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton offers a variety of options for businesses and organizations interested in promoting their products and services while gaining more visibility in the community. To learn more contact

As a volunteer, you’ll meet new people, learn new skills, help our audience members at events, and maybe take in a few performances. To learn about volunteer opportunities, visit


Ticket Fees: Price includes all fees and taxes.

Online: By phone: 905-878-6000 or toll free 1-866-257-0004


Babes In Arms Policy: Infants and small children are only permitted at family performances and require their own ticket.

At the Chudleigh’s Box Office: 1010 Main Street East, Milton ON, L9T 6H7

GROUP SALES Planning a corporate event, tour, fundraiser, or a night out with friends and family? We are here to help. To learn more about discounts for groups of 20 or more, contact or 905-875-5399 x4902. The FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton is owned and operated by the Town of Milton.


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Milton’s Elvis In 1996, at the age of 25, Steve Michaels (formerly known as Stephen Michael Kabakos), stepped onto the stage for his first-ever performance as Elvis Presley. “Straight out of the shower,” with no previous training or experience, Michaels took second place in the Tribute Artist competition at the Collingwood Elvis Festival – the largest festival of its kind in the world. At that moment, Michaels knew that he had found his calling, and “Milton’s Elvis” was born.

Elvis was about more than just songs, swagger, and shaking a leg to Michaels, who had been a fan “since day one.” Michaels was moved by his music, and mesmerized by his movies, memorizing the words and perfecting the signature moves as he danced to his favourite Elvis records throughout his childhood years. His serendipitous stage performance caused Michaels to connect with the King on another level, leading to a long and successful career walking in the shoes of the biggest singing star the world has ever known. To this day, Michaels is working hard to perfect his Elvis persona – a feat that he says “is an ongoing and neverending process,” as he travels the world and performs sold-out shows.

ON BECOMING ELVIS Michaels was born in Toronto, and then moved to Milton in 1980, where he still lives today with his wife and two children. On that fateful day in 1996, when he headed up to Collingwood to perform on stage for his very first time, Michaels returned to Milton determined to make his mark in music. He marched down to Coulter’s Music – the only place in town that offered music lessons – approached David Coulter, the studio owner, and asked what he needed to do to start his own band. “If you have 25 years son, I’ll tell you all about it,” Coulter replied laughing. A week later, Coulter called Michaels and they put together a band called the Tennessee Valley Band. The band started out performing at local street festivals and events. “It was the support of the Milton community that catapulted my career as it is today,” shared Michaels, who credits his hometown for his success. “Milton gave me an outlet to work my wears,” he explains. The band’s first official gig was at a bar called the Dickens Pub, where they performed on Halloween night. Within one year of becoming a band, they started sharing the stage with many performers from Elvis’ inner circle, including DJ Fontana (the drummer for Elvis), and The Sweet Inspirations (Elvis’ backup group). The band continues to play together today –  23 years later. While members have come and gone over the years, the band was the backbone for Michaels’ career, and the inspiration behind his production company, which is called TVB

Productions – nodding to the Tennessee Valley Band that got Michaels his start in music.

BORN TO PLAY THE KING Unlike other Elvis tribute artists, Michaels got his start by choosing to focus on the King’s earlier years. He wanted to present a new side of Elvis that is rarely seen today  –  beyond the lip-curling, jumpsuit wearing Elvis of the 70’s that is often seen on the stages of Vegas. “At the time, all you saw was guys in jumpsuits, but his legacy was much more than that,” Michaels explains, “I wanted to showcase his earlier work. I thought, let’s explore what it was like in the 50’s instead  –  with the Louisiana Hayride, and the black leather, and early Vegas, and his classic movies.” Over the years, Michaels’ Elvis act evolved, and the jumpsuit era was added to his set. Now, Michaels tries to present all of the eras of Elvis as one man, as opposed to what is normally several different men representing each era. “My love of Elvis got me on stage, brought my band together, helped me to find my wife, and resulted in my ongoing success,” he shares of his accomplishments  –  both on and off stage. When asked what the biggest highlight has been of his career as “Milton’s Elvis,” Michaels responds, “I’ve had two! I’m one of the only guys to ever have been escorted onto the stage by Joe Esposito (Elvis’ best friend and road manager), and last year I flew to the UK where I auditioned and landed the lead role in a west end style musical called This Is Elvis. I was able to act, perform, and breathe life into Elvis. I didn’t just get to sing his music, I got to be him for two hours on stage every day.” Over the show’s six-month run, Michaels estimates that he sang at least 8,465 Elvis songs. Michaels was quick to reply when asked what his biggest challenge has been as a performer.

“My mom once said to me, ‘The day you think you have Elvis down pat is the day you’ll get out of the business’ and she was so right. He was such a chameleon – to be able to present him authentically made me have to keep going back to learn and improve my craft.” On what’s next for Michaels, he shares, “My wife and I are opening a dance studio in Milton! We share a passion for the arts and decided that we wanted to give back to the arts and give children an opportunity to discover their own passion for dance, music, performing arts, acting, drama, and music lessons. When I was growing up I didn’t have an outlet, I didn’t know where I could create, so now I want to provide programs for kids like me. It’s really changed my life – all because of Elvis, and because Milton gave me this opportunity.” The dance studio is set to open on September 17, 2019. When asked if there is a celebrity who he would love to meet, Michaels shares, “Hugh Jackman – he’s a jack of all trades!” Michaels had a brief meeting with the actor when he performed in Toronto at the Princess of Wales Theatre just over 8 years ago. Jackman was performing a show called Hugh Jackman One Night Only, and Michaels went backstage after the show and met him in person. “He was the kindest gentleman –  he made time for everyone. He gave me 30 seconds of his undivided attention – despite the fact that he was amongst a sea of women,” Michaels remembers of his starstruck encounter. “He’s that all-around star –  he acts, sings, dances – it gave me goose pimples to meet him  – especially on the same stage that I had performed on too.” Michaels has reached international fame, starring in sold-out shows both in town, and around the world, but even Elvis gets starstruck. “Elvis and Wolverine,” he says laughing, “THAT would be amazing.”



An opportunity for every child to explore the arts Pablo Picasso once said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away,” these words may ring true for the many individuals who have made a career out of following their passion, there are some who are unable to discover their natural talents due to socioeconomic limitations. Through ArtSparks powered by FirstOntario, opportunities to engage with and be inspired by culture and the arts have been made available to children in Milton. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to and participate in arts and cultural activities achieve higher intellectual and emotional success. With this in mind, the donors behind the program hope to create richer life experiences for young participants, through free programming. As a result of their efforts, over 14,000 children will be able to participate in diverse arts programming each year, which includes music, dance, theatre, and visual arts programs. In an interview with the FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton, participating students share what the arts programs mean to them. Drew McCoy, a performing arts program participant explains, “I feel like if I didn’t have acting, my life would be very different. I’ve made a lot of friends, and it’s made me a lot more confident in myself.”

Valentina Aristizabal, another performing arts program participant shares, “When I act I feel free in my feelings because I can actually express who I am.” And young visual arts program participant Evan Chiu says enthusiastically, “It’s an awesome place to express your feelings, be creative, and use your imagination!”

TEENS ENCOURAGED TO TAP INTO THEIR DANCE POTENTIAL In spring 2020, the FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton will provide grade 8 students with the opportunity to work with and learn from dancers and choreographers from The Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (CCDT) – a dance company comprised of young professional dancers who tour extensively internationally. This unique opportunity will provide a true reminder that positive and influential youth can empower their peers to achieve their dreams – whatever they might be. A dance performance series will also be made available, where grade 8 students who are new to dance will have the chance to watch Teasing Gravity – Dances for the Young and Fearless, a mixed repertoire of dances on stage, performed by professional dancers from the CCDT. The series will include a professional development workshop for Halton teachers on teaching dance curriculum, a limited number of workshops for grade 8 students, school performances, and an evening public performance.

ANNUAL FALL BALL FUNDRAISER PROVIDES SUPPORT FOR THESE IMPORTANT YOUTH PROGRAMS To support these arts programs for kids, the first annual Fall Ball event will take place on September 21, 2019  –  a fun, community fundraising initiative,

with 100% of proceeds benefiting ArtSparks powered by FirstOntario Credit Union. Throwing it back with a 50’s theme, this year’s Fall Ball will feature a cocktail hour and dance reminiscent of an era when ice cream cost a quarter, milk was delivered to the door, and people danced regularly to live music. The Dreamboats, a nostalgic band that combines the sounds of Chuck Berry and The Wonders to create a truly 50’s-style sound, will deliver a high-energy live performance to get guests shaking a leg and singing along to their favourite classic hits. Tickets to the event include cocktail hour, delectable eats, and live entertainment, with the opportunity to bid on silent auction items throughout the evening. To purchase tickets or contribute to this program visit


Literacy in the language of music involves more than simply playing an instrument. Music for Young Children® provides students with a strong foundation in music by integrating keyboard, creative movement, rhythm, singing, ear training, sight reading, music theory and composition. MYC® is the only early childhood method that integrates and actively uses conservatory repertoire and theory to prepare our graduates for their first practical and theory exams. * Also offering individual piano lessons and an option to follow the Royal Conservatory of music piano syllabus and theory classes as well as preparation for the RCM theory exams for levels 1 through 8. For more information, please contact:

Cordelia Sequeira - (905) 636-0765 - Website: Find us on: 1.800.561.1MYC

The Fine Arts Society of Milton Bringing a community of visual artists together, to bring art to the community. FASM invites you to attend our other events including: • Celebrate the Seasons Art Show and Sale • Youth Visual Arts Mentoring Program • From Heart to Hand Members’ Show


Visit us at our FASM at the Mall Gallery (Milton Mall, 55 Ontario Street) For more information, including details about membership, email: We are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with swinging renditions of seasonal, as well as, all-time favourites from the "Golden Age of Swing"

December 15, 2019  FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton 1010 Main St. E.  Milton  2 PM  905-878-6000

FirstOntario Firsts with Meghan Patrick Born and raised in Bowmanville, Ontario, Meghan Patrick has dedicated her entire life to music, wanting it to be more than just a passion. “I was drawn to playing guitar so I could start writing music to go along with the words I was writing. I wanted to be self-sufficient as a creative artist.” It wasn’t long until Patrick had mastered both electric and acoustic guitar as well as the banjo. The singer-songwriter released her solo debut album, 2016’s Grace & Grit, and subsequently won two CCMA Awards. In 2018, she released her follow-up album, Country Music Made Me Do It, and scored her first number one on the Canadian Country charts for the album’s second single, “Walls Come Down.” Prior to setting out as a solo artist, Patrick was the lead singer of the popular roots act The Stone Sparrows. In concert, she’s shared the stage with superstars like Lady Antebellum, Dwight Yoakam, Kip Moore and Martina McBride, as well as performing a duet with Keith Urban at the Timmins Stars & Thunder Festival. In anticipation of her performance at the Centre on February 6, 2020, we asked Patrick to share some FirstOntario Firsts with us. What was the first concert you went to? The first ever concert was with my mom and I think it was the Gin Blossoms. The first concert I ever bought tickets for and went to without a parent, was to see The Used. I got a mild concussion in the mosh pit, and it was totally worth it.

What was the first record you bought? The first record I bought with my own money was Nirvana, Nevermind. What was the first song you learned how to play? “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor. What’s the first thing you do when writing a song? Usually I start with lyrics, but lately I’ve been changing it up and starting with a guitar riff or progression. Starting with more of a musical vibe/feel or melody instead of the lyrics. I think it’s good to always push outside your comfort zone with the way you do things so you can keep evolving creatively. Who’s the first person you think of as a great Canadian musician? Bryan Adams. What’s the first thing you would say to a young musician? Have a tough skin, you are owed nothing. Work harder than everyone else, be a good person, and don’t lose perspective of why you do this in the first place.

2019 - 2020


October 25

November 29

September 21

Motown Gold Bill Culp Productions

St. Andrew’s Day Celebration of Scottish Music

Fall Ball: Fall Back to the 50’s featuring The Dreamboats

October 27

September 27 - 29

Youth & The Arts Showcase

November 30

Community Foundation Halton North

Handel’s MESSIAH

Milton Culture Days


Arts Milton


November 8 - 16

October 4 Lunch at Allen’s Shantero Productions

December 6 Barra MacNeils

November 9

Shantero Productions

November 15

Sloan FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton

October 19 American Icons TVB Productions

October 20 Festival of Music Milton Philharmonic Orchestra


The Milton Players Theatre Group

Shantero Productions

October 5

Milton Choristers

The Dixie Swim Club

Derek Edwards So Here’s the Thing


Milton Philharmonic Orchestra

December 6 - 8 The Ice Princess A British Pantomime Brightside Players

Song Sung Blue: The Neil Diamond Story

December 7

Bill Culp Productions

Milton Concert Band

November 16

December 8

Men II Boys

The Wonderful World of Christmas - Comeback

November 23 - 24 The Nutcracker Holiday Spectacular The Dance Class

November 26 Burton Cummings: Up Close and Alone FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton

An Old-Fashioned Christmas

TVB Productions

December 14 Winterlude VI: A Ho-Ho-Holiday Celebration Milton Philharmonic Orchestra


December 15 A Swingin’ Christmas with Toronto All-Star Big Band

May 1 - 9 The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby

December 28 - 29 Elf the Musical

The Milton Players Theatre Group

Milton Youth Theatre Productions

May 2


Verdi: Requiem Milton Philharmonic Orchestra

January 11 54•40

Kim Mitchell

FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton

January 18 Take It Easy: The Story of The Eagles Bill Culp Productions

January 24 - 26

February 27 Kim Mitchell FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton

MARCH Teasing Gravity

Milton Film Festival

May 8

January 31 - February 8 Perfect Wedding

Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre: Teasing Gravity

The Milton Players Theatre Group

FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton


May 21 - 24 Madagascar - A Musical Adventure JR. Milton Youth Theatre Productions

The Trews

Meghan Patrick

February 6 Meghan Patrick FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton

February 12 - 16 Disney’s Frozen JR.

March 6

Milton Film Forum

The Trews

Sponsored by Hearing for Life

FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton

March 15 Best of Broadway Milton Philharmonic Orchestra


Milton Youth Theatre Productions

April 25

February 15

The Big Screen meets the Big Stage

Valentine’s Cabaret Milton Concert Band


Milton Concert Band

September 4, October 2, November 6, December 4, January 8, March 4, April 1 Laurier Lecture Series

ctober 9, November 13, O December 11, January 15, February 12, March 11, April 1

... The boys are back in town... twice in the coming months:

Saturday, November 16th 2019

& another brand new show Friday, May 15th 2020 Men II Boys... A self-described bunch of graying, decaying wannabes promise to be humorously entertaining at an upcoming concert. They perform Doo-Wop and other music selections from the 1930s to the 70s, with an abundance of laughter in between. Born and - as they say - “grown in Milton,” Men II Boys has been performing together for some 20 years. “Proudly, we’re a bunch of graying, decaying, ‘wannabes’ who are seeking to relive our youth,” stated John Carroll, one of the members. Despite “maturing (sic) in calendar years, we’re really just a crew of teenage guys

trapped in aging bodies;” therein is found the basis of the group’s name, he said. Their motto: “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood!” “Humour, with the joke usually on ourselves, is a foundation of our group,” he said. “Our motivation is fun and our goal is laughter — both for our audience, and for ourselves...”And contrary to what one might think, we actually sound better than we look,” he joked, adding that some ribald humour is fundamental to the show, so parental guidance is advised. The Milton Canadian Champion Julie Slack, April 2, 2019

A portion of the proceeds from the November 16th show will go to support Wounded Warriors Canada initiatives.

It’s Never too late to have a Happy Childhood

FirstOntario Arts -Centre Milton - Box Office 905-878-6000


How much do you  theatre? (and other esoteric questions I never thought would need a real answer) By Morna Scott-Dunne

Out of nowhere the owner of Brightside Players, a children’s theatre group, was retiring. Well, she had dropped hints. It was her retirement project. After five years of putting on punny pantomimes, it was time to retire from her retirement project and put her feet up on a beach in Greece. She deserved it. I was faced with two options. One was to say goodbye to my beloved theatre group. The other was to step up and take the reins.

“What now?” his eyes asked. What now indeed! Rather than mow the lawn, my husband hucked treasure chests, set flats and a pair of golden thrones to the garage. One benefit of storing set pieces is that if I’m ever feeling down, I can sneak out to the garage and feel like royalty – crown, throne and all. The first year was bumpy. The weather turned before we painted the set pieces, so the volunteer in charge of costumes was now painting sets in his garage and mums in Milton everywhere were furiously fashioning playing card costumes for Alice in Wonderland.

It happened on a quiet Saturday. The physical contents of Brightside Players were dropped off on my front porch. My house suddenly looked like a dilapidated amusement park. The bow of a pirate ship was listing off my front porch. My dog That’s a great example of my biggest discovery in looked up at me with a plastic sword in his mouth. theatre. Before taking the reins, I pretty much enjoyed

I remember the first pantomime I ever saw as a child. The wicked step-mother came on stage and ate Cinderella’s pet goldfish. “Simmer down,” the step mum jeered at the audience through a chorus of boos. “It’s just a carrot. There’s something off with that Cinderella if you ask me.”

a naive life of ease playing a clown on stage. Behind the scenes seemed easy! Don’t people just wear black and bring on set pieces? In fact, getting the show to the stage is a huge endeavor. There are committee meetings, forms, promotions, props and those last minute things nobody realizes until dress rehearsal. Like, “Do we have a cauldron for the witch?” “No!!?!” At one point I considered placing a Kijiji Ad: “ISO your cauldron for the weekend,” until our stage manager came to the rescue with a basket, black construction paper, tape and talent. Who knew you had to go through all this for a good chicken joke? Is it worth it? Undoubtedly! Brightside Players puts on a Christmas Pantomime every year. The first thing people say when they hear that I do panto is, “You mean you’re one of those street mimes that locks themselves in an imaginary box?” No! Pantomime is British. We always prefer seven words when one would probably do. Pantomime definitely, totally, completely, certainly, absolutely, undoubtedly, conclusively is NOT mime. It’s a delightful genre of interactive theatre where you get to boo the bad guy and cheer the good guy. It’s a real family affair.

Panto has jokes for parents and kids. If you can’t tell from the contents I listed in my garage, it’s a very magical form of theatre that can make a child’s first interaction with the stage grand. Pantomime is also excellent for the actors on stage as well. I’ve seen really shy chorus kids grow into some very funny characters over the years. Auditions are held annually, and you can follow Brightside Players Inc. on Facebook and Instagram. This year is going to be The Ice Princess. It’s already becoming a frozen good time. The script calls for an army of unfinished snowmen. I have no idea how I’m going to costume this, but I think it’ll be feather pillow-riffic. Looking forward to seeing you at the show!

Catch a performance of Brightside’s family-friendly production, The Ice Princess, which runs December 6 – 8, 2019

Morna has been a member of Brightside Players for 6 years. In her spare time she also manages to raise a small child, occasionally convince her husband to wear a chicken costume for promotions and works as an editor for CBC News.

FirstOntario Firsts with Kim Mitchell Kim Mitchell is a gifted guitar player as well as an acclaimed songwriter, having penned (in partnership with Pye Dubois) and recorded numerous classic hits including “Go For Soda,” “Rock N Roll Duty,” “Patio Lanterns,” “I am a Wild Party,” “Easy To Tame,” and “All We Are,” all songs that have become part of the Canadian musical genome. Mitchell is performing at the Centre on February 27, 2020, so we asked him to share some firsts he’s experienced as one of Canada’s most prolific songwriters.

on anything within my reach. I probably have 50 little ideas and bits on my phone right now, anything from singing little melodies to guitar riffs and changes.

When did you first know you wanted to be a musician? Sitting on my father’s lap watching Elvis perform on TV. The sound and attitude of the guitar solo in “Hound Dog” dug deep within and I would never want to play “Red Rover, Red Rover come over” again. I was fixated on the guitar.

What was the first concert you went to? Mandala at Grand Bend Pavilion. They changed my life. As a young kid I saw what “meaning it” was and what groove was all about. Drummer Pentti Glan and Domenic Troiano (both now gone) were scary monsters that night.

What’s the first thing you do when writing a song? I wait. Song ideas come to the artist, the artist doesn’t go to a song. When it hits no matter how much or how little the idea is I get it down

What was your first tour like? Like all the ones that would follow... euphoria onstage for somewhere between thirty to forty minutes mixed with a surreal experience where a few things go right and a lot of things go wrong. What was the first record you bought? Reach Out by The Four Tops [which is] still one of the best intros today in pop music. The gallop and head melody into that classic Motown drum intro into the vocal... man!!! Sooo good! Background vocals so kool. What was the first song you learned how to play? “On Top of Old Smokey” which did not rock. First song I learned that excited me was “Walk Don’t Run” by The Ventures.

What was your first experience with a heckler or rowdy fan? Detroit. A guy [was] throwing bullets at me after each song when the lights would go out... can you imagine? “Dave have you got the tickets? Bring a box of bullets too for the opening act.”

What was it like when you first heard one of your songs on the radio? Had to pull over. A station in Toronto played “Here Among The Cats” off Max Webster’s debut album. Think I had a smoke after that. What’s your favourite first song on your records? Off my album Itch, “Wonder Where & Why,” “Well hello morning Guess I didn’t die I hope I got all my dreaming in I know I gave it one good try.” Loved that opening lyric! How important is the first song of show? How do you pick it? Pick something they know and won’t be bothered by the sound not being totally together yet... that takes a few songs.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to a show? Talk and laugh with the crew, eat a sandwich, keep things light, discuss the day, address technical stuff, challenges, etc., wash hands then check my guitars. What’s the first thing you would say to a young musician? Take the words “making it” out of your vocabulary. Get your music to where you love it… good luck!

Mandala was a Canadian R&B and soul band from the 1960s. The band was formed in 1965 in Toronto, Ontario as The Rogues and changed their name prior to their first Canadian Top 40 hit “Opportunity”

Who’s the first person you think of as a great Canadian musician? Joni.


Celebrating Our 15th Season! Fall Classes: Boy’s Only Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Acro, Lyrical/Contemporary Adult Jazz Funk/Hip Hop Fusion Adult Ballet Barre Parent & Tot classes available 12 week session programs available Saturdays




BRONTE ROAD 330 Bronte Street S. Unit 213/214/215, Milton


Boys 1/2 price



Needlework IS“Sew Cool”FOR TEENS WHY

Arts instructor shares the benefits behind sewing programs for kids When Sherry Morse was six years old, she spent her summer sitting at the sewing machine, learning the basics of straight stitching from her grandmother. She can still remember picking out her first folds of fabric - one with a black background and little pink roses stood out as her favourite selection. That summer sparked in her a passion for sewing that would continue on throughout her life. Inspired by Molly Ringwald in the movie Pretty In Pink, Sherry began designing, sewing, and redesigning clothes for herself during her high school years. At the time, Home Economics was still a part of the regular school curriculum, so she was able to create and extend her learning in the classroom - all with the guided help of her Home Ec. teacher, Miss Mackie, who taught Sherry how to dye her first piece of fabric and design and sew her own outfit. Little did Sherry know, those lessons would become an integral part of her creative journey. In college, her passion for needlepoint led her to the Craft and Design Textiles Program at Sheridan College in Oakville. Through her studies, Sherry broadened her expertise, learning how to design

for home decor, fashion, and theatre. As she studied, Sherry took on a job for a wallpaper design studio where she worked as a colourist, and when she graduated from college, she took on a full time role with the company. Throughout high school and college, Sherry was also involved in children’s programs and camps, sharing her craft with children as her grandmother had shared with her when she was a child. Her dream of combining her love for sewing with her love for working with children became a reality when she began working for the FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton in 2015. There, she began as the artist/instructor for sewing, and started running the “Sew Much Fun” March Break sewing camps in the spring of 2018. Today, sewing seems to have become an arcane artform. Rarely offered as a course in high school, fewer teens tend to take on the trade. But there seems to be a renewed interest in making things by hand. As we become more reliant on machine-made fashions and imported products, the value of something made locally and created by hand seems to have

become more intriguing. People are starting to recognize the benefits of making things for themselves, and through the sewing programs at FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton, Sherry is hoping to teach her students those valuable hands-on skills, while making the lessons fun and applicable to everyday life. “In learning how to sew, children enjoy important benefits, such as hand-eye coordination, counting, cutting, measuring, planning, estimating, and problem solving skills,” Sherry shares of the benefits of sewing for kids. They also learn how to conserve materials, and how to reuse and repurpose materials. Not only do participating sewing students get to enjoy wearing something that they’ve made themselves by hand, but they benefit from a tremendous sense of accomplishment, boosting their self esteem and sparking creativity, determination, and even generosity, as excited students tend to want to make something for others using their newly-learned craft. Learning to sew, mend, and repair helps our environment, saves money, and discovers new talents. A student may begin sewing out of

“In learning how to sew, children enjoy important benefits, such as hand-eye coordination, counting, cutting, measuring, planning, estimating, and problem solving skills”

curiosity for the craft, but could likely turn their creative gift into a thriving career - just as Sherry has done. Consider registering your teen in a sewing program, especially if they’ve ever shown an interest in art, fashion, or getting creative with their hands. Programs offered include the Sew Cool Camp, offered during March break, where students learn everything from hand stitching, to updating old clothing items, and create pencil cases and device covers. They’ll also learn how to print fabric, make totes, and learn how to work with all types of fabric. Participants will finish off the week with a showcase of their work. Throughout the fall, winter, and spring months, a more general sewing program is also available, where kids can participate in an ongoing course where they can learn the basics of sewing as they design, cut, sew and embellish their own original accessories. For more information about sewing and other arts programs, visit

FirstOntario Firsts with 54•40’s Brad Merritt The quintessentially Canadian rock band 54•40 was formed in Tsawassen, British Columbia in 1979 by former high school classmates Neil Osborne (vocals, guitar) and Brad Merritt (bass). 54•40 have since amassed an extraordinary catalogue of hits including “Baby Ran,” “She La,” “ One Gun,” “Ocean Pearl,” “Love You All,” “Music Man,” and “I Go Blind,” and in 2016 the band released a greatest hits album titled La Difference: A History Unplugged. They are performing at the Centre on January 11, 2020. We asked Merritt to recount some of his firsts experienced as a musician and band member. When did you first know you wanted to be a musician? Four or five years after I was already in the band. What was your first rehearsal as a band like? A lot of up-tempo sounds without much listening... it was very exciting!

What was the first song you recorded as a band? We did four songs for a Mo=Da=Mu compilation entitled “Things are Still Coming Ashore” in late 1981. Probably “One of Us”. (Mo=Da=Mu was a Canadian independent record label founded in 1980 in Vancouver, British Columbia.)

What was the first band name you considered? The Safeway Rebels or The Bridgeview Dogs.

What’s the first thing you do when writing a song? Listen to others in every sense.

What was your first gig like? We did three sets of the same eight original songs at The Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret [in Vancouver] on New Year’s Eve to a dozen people and made $113.

What was your first tour like? Dates down the west coast to Los Angeles in the spring of 1984 in support of Set the Fire. It was exhilarating... being in a band, travelling

with a common sense of purpose, playing our music to a new audience every night! What was the first record you bought? Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. What was the first song you learned how to play? “I’ve Just Seen a Face” [by The Beatles]. What was the first concert you went to? Elton John on October 3, 1975. What did it feel like the first time you saw a fan sing along to one of your songs? Astounded... I think I stopped playing for second.

What was it like when you first heard one of your songs on the radio? A proud moment... gratifying. What was it like the first time you headlined your hometown? A lot of work... as we did everything! What’s your favourite first song on a record? “Wait for the Blackout” by The Damned. How important is the first song of show? 1/10th as important as the last song.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to a show? Consume part of a “vodka surprise” made by Dave [Genn]. What’s the first thing you would say to a young musician? If you have an option to do something else... do that! If you’re absolutely compelled to make music... do it! What’s the first thing you think of when you think of Milton? Greystone Golf Club.

Who’s the first person you think of as a great Canadian musician? Joni Mitchell.

The quintessentially Canadian rock band 54•40 was formed in Tsawassen, British Columbia in 1979

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