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Culture Home Recreation Early Spring 2012 | Volume 6 | Issue 1

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Entertaining Elgin with

Robbie Antone EESS's Environmental Leadership Program Savouring Simplicity with Wildflowers Tea The Treble Makers Women's Choir Chef Christie MassĂŠ's Sham-Bock Shenanigans

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Welcome

FROM THE EDITOR We are heading into an often gray season of the year, but also one with an exciting sense of the green ready to burst forth. It is suiting that St. Paddy’s falls in March. As you revel in the precursors of spring (sap running and maple syrup festivals, tundra swans returning in thousands to the Aylmer Wildlife Management Area) you may also be preparing for the greening as you plan your garden, plant seedlings, or visit some of the upcoming local home shows or garden shows and workshops. See the events section for many of these.    In this issue of Relish Elgin, two articles focus on just a couple of many environmental initiatives taking place in Elgin County—the Magris of Wildflowers Tea have received commendation for the stewardship of their property, and the Environmental Leadership Program at EESS has achieved a dozen years of preparing students to become environmental leaders. The potential of harnessing the sun’s power is being recognized by Elgin County as it presents a Power of Solar seminar in March. Dynamic presentations will be aimed at home, business and farm owners (see March 28th event listing).    As residents of Carolinian Canada we live in a vegetative zone that makes up only 1% of Canada’s total land area, but boasts a greater number of both flora and fauna species than any other ecosystem in the country and is often termed its ‘banana belt’. Find out more at www.carolinian.org. There are so many reasons to appreciate our corner of the planet, and the many individuals and organizations engaged in its stewardship.  

Debra RELISH ELGIN EARLY SPRING 2012

INSIDE THIS ISSUE 4 The Season's Events in Elgin 11 EESS's Environmental Leadership Program 16 Map of Elgin Featuring locally in-season produce

19 Entertaining Elgin: Robbie Antone's Blues Machine 22 Savouring Simplicity A look at Wildflowers Tea

25 The Treble Makers Women's Choir 29 Sham-Bock Shenanigans

Chef Christie Massé shares a St. Patrick's Day-inspired recipe for Fighting Irish Chili with Sham-Bock Soda Bread

Our Cover Image

This spring image of magnolia blossoms at Waterworks Park in St. Thomas is by local photographer Mark Girdauskas of Photos by MG (519-641-9034, www.photosbymg.com). Editor • Debra Bagshaw • editor@relishelgin.ca Design • Joanne Bagshaw • jo@relishelgin.ca Advertising Info • ads@relishelgin.ca TO SUBSCRIBE Send a cheque for $10 (to cover mailing) to the following address. Includes 5 issues. Relish Elgin Magazine P.O. Box 20058, St. Thomas, ON, N5P 4H4 519-633-1992

www.relishelgin.ca

Copyright 2012, Relish Marketing & Promotions Inc. All rights reserved. Relish Elgin is published by Relish Marketing & Promotions Inc. Reproduction of any material published in Relish Elgin is strictly prohibited without the written permission of the Publisher.

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Spring Has Sprung EVENTS ACROSS ELGIN • MORE AT WWW.RELISHELGIN.CA

Mon Jan 2 to Mon Dec 31 EXHIBIT: PHOTOGRAPHS THROUGH TIME Canada Southern Railway Station 750 Talbot Street, St. Thomas 519-633-2535 | www.narhf.org Sat Jan 14 to Fri May 4 EXHIBITION: THE NOBLE EXPERIMENT The battle against prohibition. Elgin County Museum 450 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas 519-631-1460 x160 www.elgincounty.ca Sat Jan 14 to Fri May 4 EXHIBITION: WAR ON THE LAKES The Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, featuring the marine art of Peter Rindlisbacher. Elgin County Museum 450 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas 519-631-1460 x160 www.elgincounty.ca Sat & Sun until end of April PUBLIC SKATING Sat 7:15-8:45pm, Sun 1:15-2:45pm $2/child, $2.25/student/senior, $2.50/adult, $8/family Timken Community Centre 2 Third Ave, St. Thomas 519-633-7112 www.city.st-thomas.on.ca

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Tues Feb 28 to Sat Apr 7 2ND ANNUAL MARCH MINIATURE SHOW Tues-Sat 12-5pm | 519-652-5556 Art Gallery of Lambeth 2454 Main St, Lambeth www.artgalleryoflambeth.com Last Sunday of each month THE STANLEY CUP MONTHLY RUNNING RACE 10am | Village Square Coffee House (start/end) | www.psva.ca 284 Bridge St, Port Stanley Month of March TUNDRA SWAN MIGRATION Swan Hotline, 519-773-7926 Aylmer Wildlife Mgmt Area 10594 Hacienda Rd (beside OPC) Weekends Mar 3 TO Apr 1 & March Break SPRINGWATER MAPLE SYRUP FESTIVAL Children's Festival Mar 24 ($5) 10am-3pm | www.catfishcreek.ca $6 Adult, $3/Child | 519-773-9037 Springwater Conservation Area 8079 Springwater Rd, Aylmer Weekends in March PALMER’S MAPLE SYRUP FESTIVAL 9am–3pm | 519-769-2245 Palmer's Maple Syrup 34308 Lake Ln, RR#1 Port Stanley

Tues Mar 6, Wed Apr 11, Thurs May 10 REVIVING THE LOST ARTS Learn to cook from scratch. 6:30-8:30pm | 519-768-9986 $25 | The Arts & Cookery Bank 242 Graham Rd, West Lorne www.theartsandcookerybank.com Thurs Mar 8 WORKSHOP: GET GROWING– MAKING PLANTS FROM SEEDS With Master Gardener Diane Vaughan, presented by St. Thomas Community Gardens and Elgin St. Thomas Public Health. 7-9pm | YWCA St. Thomas 16 Mary St, St. Thomas Contact Brigitte, 519-637-6390 or Shirl 519-631-3159 x246 Sat Mar 10 HYPNOTIST JIMMY G RETURNS $15 show only; $45 with dinner 8-11pm | The Port Stanley Wharf 208 Main St | 519-782-7788 www.portstanleywharf.com Sat Mar 10 SPLASH 'N BOOTS DANCE PARTY Children's Music Group of the Year, as seen on Treehouse TV. $8 advance / $10 at door | 2pm Aylmer Old Town Hall Theatre 38 John St S | 519-773-8220 www.splashnboots.com

RELISH ELGIN EARLY SPRING 2012

©istockphoto.com/cglade

Events

Events Sun Mar 11 THE BOLSHOI BALLET SERIES: LE CORSAIRE Adults $19.95, Children $9.95, Seniors $17.95 | 1pm Galaxy Cinema St. Thomas 417 Wellington St, St. Thomas 519-631-2261 | www.cineplex.com Mon Mar 12 to Fri Mar 16 MARCH BREAK SKATE Thanks to sponsors Mayor Heather Jackson, TD Canada Trust, Talbot Trails and Libro Financial, this event is free. 1:15-2:45 pm | 519-633-7112 Timken Community Centre 2 Third Ave, St. Thomas www.city.st–thomas.on.ca Mon Mar 12 to Fri Mar 16 PSFT MARCH BREAK YOUTH THEATRE CAMP $125/child +HST | 9am-3pm Port Stanley Festival Theatre 302 Bridge St, Port Stanley 519-782-4353 www.portstanleytheatre.ca Mon Mar 12 to Fri Mar 16 SAVOUR THE FLAVOUR: A KID’S CULINARY ADVENTURE BOOT CAMP 1-5pm | The Arts & Cookery Bank 242 Graham Rd, West Lorne 519-768-9986 www.theartsandcookerybank.com

Mon Mar 12 to Fri Mar 16 SHUTTERBUG ESCAPADE: KID’S PHOTOGRAPHY BOOT CAMP 9am-12pm | 519-768-9986 The Arts & Cookery Bank 242 Graham Rd, West Lorne www.theartsandcookerybank.com Mon Mar 12 to Fri Mar 16 MARCH BREAK DAY CAMP Ages 3-12 | 8:30am-3:30pm (early/late drop off/pick up avail.) $100/child +HST | 519-633-7112 Timken Community Centre 2 Third Ave, St. Thomas www.city.st-thomas.on.ca Sat Mar 17 ST. PATRICK'S DAY AT SPARTA HOUSE Dublin Coddle Stew and Irish Bailey's Delight dessert. $11.95/person | 11am-Close Sparta House Tea Room Main Street, Sparta | 519-775-2313 www.spartahouse.com Sat Mar 17 SHAMROCK SHUFFLE FOR INN OUT OF THE COLD 2km/5km walk or 5km/10km run for Inn Out of the Cold Shelter. Register by 8:30am Mar 17. 9am-1pm | 519-631-2501 $20/person, $40/family of up to 5 Central United Church (start/end) 135 Wellington St, St. Thomas

Sat Mar 17 CELTIC OPEN HOUSE 9am-4pm | 519-633-5239 Romantic Designs Artist Studio 120 Wellington St, St. Thomas www.romanticdesigns.ca Sat & Sun, Mar 18 to Jun 30, plus Fri Apr 6 & Mon May 21 SCENIC TRAIN RIDES ON PSTR Apr 6-8 are Easter Egg Hunt Trains Reservations not required. Arrive 30 mins prior to departure. Adults $13.50, Kids (2-12) $9 11am, 1pm & 2:30pm departures Port Stanley Terminal Rail 309 Bridge St, Port Stanley 519-782-3730 | www.pstr.on.ca Tues Mar 20 & Tues Apr 17 SENIORS DAY OUT $10, incl lunch | 9:30am–12:30pm East Elgin Community Complex 531 Talbot St W, Aylmer www.eastelgincommunitycomplex.ca | 519-773-5631 Wed Mar 21 to Sat Mar 24 & Thur Mar 29 to Sat Mar 31 WEDS PRESENTS ‘A LITTLE MURDER NEVER HURT ANYBODY’ $15/adult, $10/student/senior ($10/$5 Mar 21) | 8pm WEDS Theatre (accessible) 199 Main St, Dutton 519-762-2862 | www.weds.ca ©istockphoto.com/Dorin_S

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Events

The revitalized St. Thomas Public Library Thurs Mar 22 West Elgin Musical Showcase Choirs and bands from West Elgin Schools | 7–9pm | 519-768-1798 West Elgin Secondary School 139 Graham St, West Lorne Fri Mar 23 to Sun Mar 25 5TH ANNUAL SPRING GARDEN SHOW Charity lunch available. Fri & Sat 9am–6pm, Sun 9am–5pm Canadale Nurseries | 519-631-7264 269 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas www.canadale.com Sat Mar 24 WINEMAKER’S DINNER 6-courses with winemaker Jamie Quai and Chef James Meadows. $85 (incl wine, tax & grat) 32 person limit | 6:30pm Quai du Vin Estate Winery Fruit Ridge Ln, St. Thomas 519-775-2216 www.quaiduvin.com Sat Mar 24 DENI GAUTHIER at STEPAC $10 advance / $12 at door | 8-10pm St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre 301 Talbot St, St. Thomas 519-631-4040 | www.stepac.ca

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Sat Mar 24 & 31 WORKSHOP: PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY FOR BEGINNERS With Rosita Di Trolio | $40 | 1-4pm St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre 301 Talbot St, St. Thomas 519-631-4040 | www.stepac.ca Sun Mar 25 ERIC ATKINSON: GROUP OF SEVEN AND THE ENGLISH CONNECTION St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre 301 Talbot St, St. Thomas | 2-4pm 519-631-4040 | www.stepac.ca Tues Mar 27 WEST ELGIN MASTER GARDENERS ANNUAL SPRING OPEN HOUSE Exploring the foods of the forest. 7pm | West Elgin Secondary School 139 Graham Rd, West Lorne Contact: Suzanne Spence Wilkins, 519-785-1307 Wed Mar 28 ELGIN COUNTY CONFERENCE SERIES: POWER OF SOLAR For home, business & farm. $30 (incl breakfast & lunch) 9am-3pm | New Sarum Diner 46230 New Sarum Ln, St. Thomas 519-631-1460 ext 168 www.progressivebynature.com

Thurs Mar 29 ST. THOMAS PUBLIC LIBRARY GRAND RE-OPENING 1-8pm | 153 Curtis St, St. Thomas www.st-thomas.library.on.ca Fri Mar 30 SHEPPARD ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS TAMARA NILE $22 advance, $25 at door | 8pm Port Stanley Festival Theatre 302 Bridge St, Port Stanley 519-782-4353 or 1-855-782-4353 www.portstanleytheatre.ca Fri Mar 30 ST. THOMAS PERFORMING ARTS PRESENTS NATALIE CHOQUETTE'S "LA DIVA" Tickets sold as a series; call 519-633-1178 for availability 8pm | Central United Church 135 Wellington St, St. Thomas www.stthomasperformingarts.com Fri Mar 30 & Sat Mar 31 ELGIN THEATRE GUILD INTRO TO IMPROV GRAD SHOWS 40 Princess Ave, St. Thomas 519-633-8530 www.elgintheatreguild.ca Fri Mar 30 to Sun Apr 1 ST. THOMAS & ELGIN HOME BUILDERS 2012 HOME SHOW Fri 5-8:30pm, Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 11am-5pm Timken Community Centre 2 Third Ave, St. Thomas www.twentyfivepercentmorelife.com Sat Mar 31 YUK YUKS LIVE AT THE WHARF Funds to Port Stanley PrideFest. $25/person, dinner optional Reservations Req’d | 9pm The Port Stanley Wharf 208 Main St | 519-782-7788 www.portstanleywharf.com

RELISH ELGIN EARLY SPRING 2012

Events Sat Mar 31 ACTIVE ELGIN DAY Get active at venues across Elgin. www.activeelgin.ca Sat Mar 31 EARTH HOUR 2012 Power off from 8:30-9:30pm. www.wwf.ca/earthhour/ Sat Apr 7 2ND ANNUAL VIMY LECTURE With Sgt. Graham Mould of The Elgins and Mr. Brett Potter of CANADIGM. Admission is free. 2pm | Elgin County Museum 450 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas 519-631-1460 x159 www.elgin–county.on.ca Sat Apr 7 EASTER BUNNY IN SPARTA 11am-3pm | Donations to Caring Cupboard greatly appreciated. Sparta House Tea Room Main St, Sparta | 519-775-2312 Sat Apr 7 RODNEY EASTER EGG HUNT 10am | Sponsored by Kiwanis Club Rodney Park | 135 Queen St Sat Apr 7 WEST LORNE EASTER EGG HUNT Sponsored by Optimist Club 1pm | First West Lorne Scout Hall 142 Chestnut St, West Lorne Contact: Karen, 519-768-2220

Sat Apr 7 MASSENET'S MANON AT THE MET: LIVE IN HD Adults $22.50, Children $16.95, Seniors $20.50 | 12pm Galaxy Cinema St. Thomas 417 Wellington St, St. Thomas 519-631-2261 | www.cineplex.com Thurs Apr 12 to Sat Apr 21 ELGIN THEATRE GUILD PRESENTS ‘STEEL MAGNOLIAS’ Thurs-Sat at 8pm; Sun at 2pm Princess Ave Playhouse, 40 Princess, St. Thomas | 519-633-8530 www.elgintheatreguild.ca Fri Apr 13 to Sun Apr 15 AYLMER HOME & GARDEN SHOW Fri 3-9pm, Sat 12-8pm, Sun 12-5pm $5/person or $20/family of 5 East Elgin Community Complex 531 Talbot St W, Aylmer 519-773-3445 www.aylmerfair.ca Sat Apr 14 ST. THOMAS CRIMESTOPPERS RAIN BARREL SALE Must order ahead | $60 Pick up 10:30am-1:30pm Rear of Sears Canada Store 41 Mondamin St, St. Thomas Contact: Grant, 519-631-0740 or 519-657-5895 | www.rainbarrel.ca

Sat Apr 14 CENTREPIECE MARKETING PRESENTS MURRAY MCLAUCHLAN $32 advance, $35 at door | 8pm Port Stanley Festival Theatre 302 Bridge St, Port Stanley 519-782-4353 www.portstanleytheatre.ca Sat Apr 14 VERDI'S LA TRAVIATA AT THE MET: LIVE IN HD Adults $22.50, Children $16.95, Seniors $20.50 | 1pm Galaxy Cinema St. Thomas 417 Wellington St, St. Thomas 519-631-2261 | www.cineplex.com MON Apr 16 CANADALE NURSERIES' GRAND OPENING EVENT Canadale Nurseries 269 Sunset Dr, St. Thomas 519-631-7264 | www.canadale.com Thurs Apr 19 39TH ANNUAL HONOURS AND AWARDS BANQUET Pay tribute to those who bring pride & distinction to St. Thomas! 6pm | Memorial Arena 80 Wilson Ave, St. Thomas Contact: April Gazda, 519-633-7112 or 519-631-1680 ext 4172 www.city.st-thomas.on.ca

Canadale Spring Garden Show; St. Thomas & Elgin Homebuilders Home Show; Aylmer Home & Garden Show

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Events Sat Apr 28 TROUT FISHING OPENING DAY Springwater Cons. | 519-773-9037 8079 Springwater Rd, Aylmer www.catfishcreek.ca Sat Apr 28 SPARTA HOUSE PRESENTS CORONATION STREET Dinner, quiz and prizes. $25/person | 6:30pm Sparta House Tearoom Restaurant Main St, Sparta | 519-775-2313 www.spartahouse.com Sat Apr 28 WINEMAKER’S DINNER Fri Apr 20 Sun Apr 22 6-courses with winemaker Jamie SHEPPARD ENTERTAINMENT 2012 ST. THOMAS MS WALK Quai and Chef Sandy Douglas. PRESENTS MIKE BEGGS 2/5/10km walk | Check-in 8:30am; $85 (incl wine, tax & grat) $18 advance, $22 at door | 7:30pm walk 10am | Timken Centre 32 person limit | 6:30pm St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre 2 Third Ave, St. Thomas Quai du Vin | 519-775-2216 301 Talbot St, St. Thomas Contact: Sabrina Highgate, Fruit Ridge Ln, St. Thomas 519-631-4040 519-680-7878 ext 3206 www.quaiduvin.com www.sheppardentertainment.com www.mssociety.ca Sat Apr 28 Mon Apr 23 to Fri Apr 27 BEATLES TRIBUTE Fri Apr 20 “I REALLY WANT TO COOK” Featuring The Beagles | 8pm PD DAY PUBLIC SKATE CULINARY BOOT CAMP 519-633-8530 | Princess Ave Play1:45-3:15pm | 519-633-7112 6:30-9:30pm | 519-768-9986 house, 40 Princess, St. Thomas $2/child, $2.25/student/senior, The Arts & Cookery Bank www.elgintheatreguild.ca $2.50/adult, $8/family 242 Graham Rd, West Lorne Timken Community Centre Sun Apr 29 www.theartsandcookerybank.com THE BOLSHOI BALLET SERIES: 2 Third Ave, St. Thomas www.city.st-thomas.on.ca Thu Apr 26 to Sat Apr 28 THE BRIGHT STREAM COMMUNITY BOARD PLAY Adults $19.95, Children $9.95, Sat Apr 21 $22/adult, $14/student Seniors $17.95 | 1pm TINY TOTS SPRING Thurs & Fri 8pm; Sat 2pm & 8pm Galaxy Cinema St. Thomas MOM-2-MOM SALE 417 Wellington St, St. Thomas Port Stanley Festival Theatre 8:30am–12:30pm 519-631-2261 | www.cineplex.com 302 Bridge St | 519-782-4353 519-785-2164 www.portstanleytheatre.ca Sun Apr 29 Rodney Community Centre GREAT RIDE 'N' STRIDE Sat Apr 28 135 Queen St, Rodney WORKSHOP: COOKING WITH ELGIN-MIDDLESEX Walk/run/ride for Cancer Society. HERBS—INT'L CUISINE Sun Apr 22 $25 (registration req’d) | 1:30pm 12:30pm registration; 1pm start Earth Day 2012: Mobilize the Earth Heritage Ln Herbs | 519-866-5577 D/D Community Centre, 1 Erie St, Find out how to get involved at Dutton | www.cancer.ca 53443 Heritage Ln, Aylmer www.earthday.org Contact: Dianne, 519-762-3341 www.heritagelineherbs.com

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RELISH ELGIN EARLY SPRING 2012

Events Tues May 1 FEST-A-MONTH: CULTURAL DINNER CELEBRATIONS 6:30pm | The Arts & Cookery Bank 242 Graham Road, West Lorne 519-768-9986 www.theartsandcookerybank.com Fri May 4 to Sun May 6 ART EMPORIUM PORT STANLEY'S GRAND OPENING Fri 7–10pm, Sat & Sun 11am-5pm 177B Main St, Port Stanley www.artemporium.ca Sat May 5 WORKSHOP: PLANNING & GROWING AN HERB GARDEN Pre-registration req’d | 1:30pm Heritage Line Herbs 53443 Heritage Ln, Aylmer 519-866-5577 www.heritagelineherbs.com Sat May 5 RODNEY HORTICULTURE PLANT SALE 8am | Rodney Town Hall 217 Furnival Rd, Rodney 519-785-0937

Sun May 6 10TH ANNUAL HIKE FOR HOSPICE Pledge sheets at Serenity House Hospice, 750 Talbot St, St. Thomas 10am registration; 10:30am start 519-637-3034 | Waterworks Park 2 South Edgeware Rd, St. Thomas www.serenityhousehospice.ca Thurs May 10 to Sat May 19 AYLMER COMMUNITY THEATRE PRESENTS ‘SEX PLEASE, WE'RE 60’ Thurs-Sat 8pm; Sun 2pm $15/adult, $10/student Aylmer Old Town Hall Theatre 38 John St S | 519-773-3372 www.aylmertheatre.ca Fri May 11 GUY’S NIGHT OUT What happens in the Cookery, stays in the Cookery! 6:30-9:30pm | 519-768-9986 The Arts & Cookery Bank 242 Graham Rd, West Lorne www.theartsandcookerybank.com

Sat May 12 PORT STANLEY SPRING SIDEWALK SALE & COMMUNITYWIDE YARD SALE 9am–4pm | www.portstanley.net Sat May 12 TIM HORTON ’S TROUT DERBY Springwater Cons. | 519-773-9037 8079 Springwater Rd, Aylmer www.catfishcreek.ca Sat May 12 GT'S PORT STANLEY SEASON OPENING Celebrate the return of summer! 350 Edith Cavell Blvd, Pt Stanley 519-782-4555 www.gtsportstanley.ca Sat May 12 SILVERTHORN LANDSCAPE SUPPLY SEMINARS Pond Building, 10am–12pm; Inukshuk Building, 1–3pm; Water Features, 1–2pm 46400 Talbot Ln, St. Thomas 519-765-2379 www.silverthornlandscape.com

The Battle of Longwoods at Longwoods Heritage Days

Sat May 5 & Sun May 6 LONGWOODS HERITAGE DAYS 23rd Annual Battle of Longwoods 10am–4pm | 519-264-2420 Longwoods Rd Conservation Area 8348 Longwoods Rd (10 km E of Melbourne) | www.royal-scots.com Sun May 6 EAST COAST MUSIC SHOW WITH DAVE GUNNING $15, dinner optional 6:30-10:30pm | 519-782-7788 The Port Stanley Wharf 208 Main St, Port Stanley www.portstanleywharf.com

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Events Sat May 12 & Sun May 13 ST. THOMAS STUDIO TOUR 11am-5pm each day Maps available at St. ThomasElgin Public Art Centre 301 Talbot Street, St. Thomas 519-631-4040 | www.stepac.ca Sat May 12 & Sun May 13 HERITAGE LINE HERBS’ MOTHER’S DAY OPEN HOUSE First 5 moms/day receive a gift. Sun High Tea (reservations req'd) Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 11am-4pm Heritage Line Herbs 53443 Heritage Line, Aylmer 519-866-5577 www.heritagelineherbs.com

Saturdays May 12 to Oct 27 HORTON FARMERS' MARKET 8am-12pm | Manitoba St, 1 block north of Talbot, St. Thomas www.hortonfarmersmarket.ca Sun May 13 MOTHER'S DAY COUNTRYSIDE WINERY TOUR 1 & 3pm tours (registration req'd) $10 | Rush Creek Wines 48995 Jamestown Ln, RR2 Aylmer 519-773-5432 www.rushcreekwines.com

Sun May 13 LAVENDER SENSE SEASON OPENING 12-5pm | 519-762-2188 28011 Ash Ln, Wallacetown www.lavendersense.com Sun May 13 STEED & CO. LAVENDER SEASON OPENING Mothers indulge in a lavender gift. 12–4pm | 519-494-5525 47589 Sparta Ln, Sparta www.steedandcompany.com

WE STRIVE FOR ACCURACY IN THESE LISTINGS, BUT DETAILS SOMETIMES CHANGE SO PLEASE CALL AHEAD OR CHECK ONLINE BEFORE YOU GO.

FIND MORE AT WWW.RELISHELGIN.CA More events, details and past event photos can be found on our website. Central to Everything, Second to None

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS: JANUARY 14 - MAY 4

THE NOBLE EXPERIMENT

1812: WAR ON THE LAKES

Today’s LCBO is one result of the passionate fight for and against temperance and prohibition in 19th century Ontario. The battle’s colourful characters along with a cast of bootleggers, brewers and bailiffs fill out this topical show.

Marine art by Peter Rindlisbacher, reproduced and circulated by Canadian Art Cards The British defeat at the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813 allowed southwestern Ontario to be raided by American forces.

Elgin County Administration Building, 4th Floor, 450 Sunset Drive (Hwy 4), St. Thomas, Ontario Open year round - Call for seasonal hours 519.631.1460 ext. 160

www.elgincounty.ca

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West Elgin

West Elgin Musical Showcase Thurs March 22nd • West Elgin Secondary School Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt Sat April 7th • Rodney Optimist Easter Egg Hunt Sat April 7th • West Lorne Watch for upcoming summer events, including: Kids Fishing Derby • Jul 8th Cactus, Cattle & Cowboys Western Festival • Jul 21st Ribs & Rubies Dinner on the Ridge • Aug 11th

We’re just down the road and off the beaten path. WEST LORNE • RODNEY • PORT GLASGOW

www.westelgin.net 519-785-0560

RELISH ELGIN EARLY SPRING 2012

Recreation

A DIRTY DOZEN (YEARS) FOR THE

Environmental Leadership Program AT EAST ELGIN SECONDARY SCHOOL

Students in the Environmental Leadership Program participating in Canoe Certification, Northern Resource Management and Forest Management programs. (Photos courtesy of Duncan Sinclair) For the past twelve years, students of East Elgin Secondary School’s Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) have gotten dirty (not to mention, wet, cold and tired) in an up-close, personal and interactive engagement with the environment. They have also given their experiences high marks for being fun, rewarding and even life-changing.

biking, rock climbing and hands-on conservation teaching. Co-Operative Education involves work placements that are of an environmental nature.

Students in the ELP complete four credits in three areas. Interdisciplinary Studies integrate senior level subjects and disciplines with an emphasis on Biology and Environmental Geography. Outdoor Education incorporates instruction in First Aid/ CPR, trip planning, wilderness survival, orienteering and other related topics, which students then put to use during canoe trips, winter camping, mountain

Teacher and course founder, Duncan Sinclair, says “The program was designed to provide a window on opportunities in resource management, conservation and outdoor education.” Many students have been directly influenced by the program to seize upon those opportunities in choosing their careers. However, the program offers invaluable lessons for students heading off in any life-direction.

Along the way, students also earn an impressive set of certifications, including ones in chain saw operation, canoeing, boating and Red Cross First Aid.

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Recreation One notable positive of the ELP is that participants experience first-hand the importance of building partnerships and community support. Duncan receives high commendation for having had the vision to create the program. He is quick to point out, however, that its success is a direct result of the keen interest, participation and support from primary partnerships with Lauren Selby from the Jaffa Outdoor Education Centre, Elgin County Stewardship Council and the Catfish Creek Conservation Authority, plus a host of other supporters and sponsors. In turn, field experiences are designed to meet the needs of local agencies and municipalities wherever possible. In designing the program, Duncan was also passionate about sharing his love of the outdoors and encouraging students to experience the positive impacts of outdoor activity on physical and mental health. As they work, play and teach in the outdoors, students develop not only a respect for the environment, but also an appreciation for the part the outdoors can play in a healthy lifestyle.

Attitudes about environment and health are ones ELP students are perhaps more likely to pass on to future generations, including their own children. Students a few years ago demonstrated just how clearly they understood the importance of providing hands-on environmental education to children at an early age. They came up with the idea of taking their primary school teaching sessions about wetlands out of the classroom and into a nearby wetland. The students’ suggestion took shape in the Marsh Quest program. Each year, more than 500 grade 4 pupils over eight days come to the Herb Kebbel Wetland at Yarmouth Natural Heritage Area to learn more about wetlands habitat. With environmental educator Lauren Selby of the Jaffa Outdoor Education Centre and staff from Catfish Creek Conservation Authority, ELP students incorporate activities designed to be hands-on and linked directly to the Science and Technology curriculum. Their enthusiasm and fun teaching methods receive high praise from the younger students and their teachers.

Bottom left: Duncan Sinclair (second from left) accepts the RAMSAR Award; Students participate in several programs and trips as part of the ELP, including (clockwise from middle left): Northern Wilderness Resource Management, Marsh Quest, Northern Wilderness Resource Management, Canoe Certification, Catfish Creek Rehab, Algonquin Canoe Trip, Haliburton Forest Trip (3 images). (Photos courtesy of Duncan Sinclair)

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RELISH ELGIN EARLY SPRING 2012

Recreation

Students in the ELP helped lead the Carolinian Forest Festival this past October, hosted by the Catfish Creek Conservation Authority and the Thames Valley District School Board. (Photos courtesy of Duncan Sinclair) In February 2011, Marsh Quest received an international award and $1,200 cash from RAMSAR—an organization promoting conservation and wise use of wetlands. It was just the most recent in a long list of awards, grants and recognition for the highly regarded program.

up co-op placements, training kids on different bioengineering methods, forestry practices, and proper use and handling of chain saws—it’s twelve years later, in the same school house at Springwater where I once sat as a year one ELP student—except now I’m the teacher.”

Though impressive, the recognition is probably most significant in that it reflects the impact the ELP program has had on the attitudes, lifestyles and career directions of its graduates. We got in touch recently with two students who completed the first ELP program twelve years ago. Following post-secondary studies, both went on to gain experience in environment related jobs and are currently employed doing work they find to be enjoyable and rewarding. They reflect on the part the ELP played in their career paths.

What is your favourite memory of the ELP? My favourite memory from ELP would have to be the friendships made and all of the amazing field trips we went on—to see a perspective on education and life like never before as we canoed through the canyons of the French River or cut holes in the ice to swim in frozen lakes. The winter trip to the southern tip of Algonquin Park to “Old Bill’s” sticks out in my mind to this day as it was Bill Swift Sr. who fathered Environmental Education in the school system—it was inspirational.

Dusty Underhill Dusty Underhill is presently a Resource Technician at the Catfish Creek Conservation Authority. He says, “I do an array of things from maple syrup production, park operations, and tree planting, to a lot of different fish and wildlife stream related improvement projects and education programs for both Thames Valley and Catholic school boards. One of the highlights of my current position at Catfish is the involvement and the partnership with the ELP program each year. I am now setting

What was the biggest benefit for you? ELP is an educational opportunity unlike that of any other secondary school program and can definitely open windows and broaden horizons. My favourite part of the program overall would be the wake up call I had, that there is a lot more out there than pounding nails or sitting in a cubicle. I learned that I had an opportunity to make the environment not only a passion but a career and I took it and ran! The biggest benefit I received from ELP would definitely be the educational experiences—without them I would never have pursued a career in the environment.

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Recreation How did it influence your studies following high school? In high school, I had not really participated with anything school related until ELP. I was all about the shop classes, only taking the minimal academics as required for an OSSD. Before ELP my main career aspiration was to become a contractor—nothing to do with the environment at all. ELP shaped me into the person I am today. It gave me a keen perspective on the environment while preparing me both physically and academically for a post secondary education in the environment field. I built amazing teamwork and leadership skills thanks to Mr. Sinclair and his program and it helped tremendously in college. What did you study following high school? After ELP I had bigger and better dreams. I enrolled in the Parks and Recreation Program at Sault College of Applied Arts and Technologies in Sault Ste Marie. It was a two year diploma program, with the option of a specialized third year. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted another challenge so I enrolled in General Arts and Studies, took some French and Political classes to broaden my horizons in the field, and obtained my Fish and Wildlife Diploma at the same time. When I finished college, I was also the Student Council President and had earned 6 years of post secondary education in only 4 years. My college convocation opened with a ten minute speech on accomplishments both politically and educationally and I was the man who got to stand up at the end of that speech—so thank you ELP for helping me along my voyage. Duncan Sinclair, along with Thames Valley School Board and many counterparts put a lot of time and effort into this program. I have gotten to know Duncan over the course of time—he puts everything he’s got into this, working not only the school day but well into the night. Mr. Sinclair has started a magnificent program at EESS and I would definitely commend him for all of his hard work and efforts for the last twelve years.

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ELP Alumnus Jennifer Wilson at work for the Long Point Region Conservation Authority. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Wilson)

Jennifer Wilson Jennifer works currently as a Healthy Watershed Specialist for Long Point Region Conservation Authority in Tillsonburg. What did you study following high school? I graduated from Sir Sandford Fleming College in 2004 after completing both Ecosystem Management Technician (2 years) and Ecosystem Management Technology (1 year). What was your favourite memory of the ELP? Looking back, my favourite thought about the program is how ELP was able to morph a group of many quiet, shy, perhaps even insecure students (this includes me) into confident leaders who have great enthusiasm and keen interest in the future of our environment and the valuable resources it offers. I enjoyed all of the many trips and outdoor experiences, but am especially thankful for the memories created through social interactions and great friendships that were formed in the class. A favourite memory was paddling down the French River with Duncan as my paddling partner, leading the pack of canoes in a race to our first camp site of the trip—a good foreshadowing of the leader that I was about to emerge from the course as.

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Recreation What was the biggest benefit for you? The many certifications that were obtained through the ELP class were very beneficial for me both in post-secondary education and throughout my career. After completing the ELP class, I was awarded the Elgin Stewardship Council Environmental Leadership Bursary as well. How did it influence your studies following high school? Prior to taking the Environmental Leadership Program at East Elgin, I had worked as an Ontario Stewardship Ranger for the Ministry of Natural Resources in Aylmer, and actually was enrolled and attended several weeks of schooling at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario in September of 2000. Not long into my studies at Fleming (a few weeks), I realized that I was not quite ready to be attending college—I was only 17 and the majority

of my friends had stayed back to complete another year of high school. I had heard that Duncan Sinclair was teaching the first year of the Environmental Leadership Program at EESS and immediately called to see if I was eligible and was fortunate enough to be able to join the class. In the class of 23 students, we quickly developed close and lasting friendships amongst the team, which boosted confidence, problem solving skills, leadership, critical thinking, and of course we all acquired great hands-on experience and learned a great deal with regard to natural ecosystems, resource management and outdoor recreation at the same time. For more information about the Environmental Leadership Program, visit www.eastelginelp.ca. LifeMiracle USA ®

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Entertainment

Robbie Antone & RED ROAD BLUES

Robbie Antone performs in Memphis at The Kooky Canuck with Blues Machine members Rick Joyce, Hayden Vialva and Rick Bardawill. (Photo courtesy of Tom Carther)

The last six months has been an exciting time for Robbie Antone’s Blues Machine. Their win at the Great Lakes Blues Society “Road to Memphis” competition in the fall of 2011, acclaim for their recently released CD, Red Road Blues, and the buzz around their trip to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge this past February has them focused on maintaining the positive momentum. Robbie Antone has been part of the London blues scene for quite some time, but my first experience seeing him perform was at his pre-Memphis bon-voyage show at the London Music Club in early January. Backed by Juno-award winning drummer Hayden Vialva, guitarist Rick Joyce and bassist Rick (Catfish) Bardawill, Robbie was clearly hyped and ready to take the show to Memphis. Robbie’s killer harmonica playing, vocals, stage presence and energy made for a memorable experience. He played

and sang like someone who was born to make music, a natural at connecting with his audience. It was an evening that invited further investigation of the Robbie Antone’s Blues Machine sound. Red Road Blues was not available at the show, but a sampling of the songs to be found online made it easy to see why Free Press columnist James Reaney had selected it best CD release in London for 2011, “A supremely relaxed and poised album, Red Road

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Entertainment Blues proves the truly savvy pros take the extra effort to make it seem so simple….with Juno-winning drummer Hayden Vialva keeping the beat and prodding the proceedings, Antone allows the charisma he’s always had in reserve to take hold without losing his soulful touch.” Red Road Blues lets Robbie’s smooth, soulful, and supremely listenable voice shine. With his down-to-each charm on stage and positive press around the CD, one can’t help but feel that recognition will spread way beyond the London area, that a lot of people should be lucky enough to experience the talents of Robbie Antone’s Blues Machine. I was interested to hear about the group’s trip to Memphis and future plans and chatted in mid February with Robbie, drummerproducer Hayden Vialva, and Robbie’s long-time friend and photographer Tom Carther. My first question was about the source of Robbie’s engaging stage presence. Tom laughs, “He has come a long way in the past few months.” Robbie acknowledges that his friends have noted a change. He gives a large measure of the credit to his manager, Rachel Snake from the Munsee Delaware Nation (who incidentally is also his girlfriend). Robbie’s musical roots run deep. He says “I started playing at an early age and jammed with my grandma—she played the harmonica and I picked it up from her.” His childhood best friend, Lawrence Summers introduced him to the blues, and Robbie played to his own extensive Sun Records collection (Johnny Cash, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis). He has also discovered more recently that many of his family members were musicians earlier on, something he hadn’t realized. It seems that his deeply rooted talents and musical instincts plus some well-deserved recognition have come together to help him realize a new-found confidence on stage. Those musical instincts played strongly in selecting the songs for the Red Road Blues CD. He and Hayden chose songs which would showcase the band’s talents. Says Robbie, “It’s musical; we picked some good songs. We wanted to show our versatility.” Robbie wrote five of the songs. The CD, in particular the title song, is somewhat representative of his own Oneida First Nation background, and of a philosophy which guides his path of late. “Natives who are on a spiritual path are known to be on the red road. It might be for one of a lot of reasons—to change your lifestyle, to become healthier. It’s a philosophy, a way of life. We are learning as

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Entertainment much as possible about our way of life, our ceremonies, our language.” While Red Road Blues is a story, Truth is more of a personal song. “It was pieced together,” he says, “from thoughts I had jotted down at a time when I was working with young people. I had a lot of responsibility and I wanted to improve my well-being—Truth evolved from that. It was my imagination going wild; it was like unplugging my spiritual energy. I left it short because sometimes the best things are simple and to the point.” Love is a Loaded Gun was written in 2003. Robbie notes, “Every song has a way of evolving over playing it a lot of times. It was one of those songs we reworked.” Free is a popular rock song written seven or eight years ago, one that “always fills the dance floor when we play it.” Of the Memphis Blues Challenge, “It is the Super Bowl of blues bands” says Robbie. “It was a great learning experience to get together with other Canadian musicians and blues societies, to network and learn about the industry.” The group is pleased with having made it to the semi-finals, a notable achievement for first-time competitors. They are also appreciative of the help they received with expenses from the Great Lakes Blues Society, attendees at their pre-trip bon-voyage show and from First Nations. The trip has also created further buzz about their music. Smiles Hayden, “My son’s teacher mentioned

the trip, and I was surprised that she had heard about it. But we were interviewed in Memphis for CBC radio’s Morning Show and she had heard about us on there.” He shows his picture of the group in front of Sun Records in Memphis, commenting, “You can actually record there—they were booked up, but we need to go back to do that.” What are the future plans for Robbie and Blues Machine? Says Robbie, “Lots of touring, hopefully lots of gigs. You have to keep working away at it—promoting, doing as much as possible with iTunes and Amazon, distributing to as many places as possible. Then we will tour to support it. Hayden is curious, “Do you think they would play us on myFM—I think their listeners would like our music? Do you think there are places we could play in St. Thomas?” I certainly hope so. Robbie concludes that their goal is “to do what we love and be happy. It’s not a very extensive goal.” It is though, I note. Robbie nods, “Ya, it is.” Find out more at www.reverbnation.com/ robbieantonesbluesmachine. Robbie Antone will make a guest appearance on March 18 at The Wortley Road House. Other dates are in the works—find them at www.facebook.com/bluesmachine. Photos courtesy of Tom Carther.

Jeff Yurek, MPP Elgin-Middlesex-London

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Home & Garden

WILDFLOWERS TEA

Savouring Simplicity

Barb Weir Photography

Photos by MG

Jane Magri’s outlook has been shaped by living and travelling around the world. Though her experiences have been far-ranging, her personal perspectives have led her to seek a place where she could build a home and business focused on local and natural. Jane and husband Chuck Magri found that place in 2009 on a 10-acre parcel of land on Fruit Ridge Line south of St. Thomas. It has already proved itself to be a source of bounty that the Magris hope to share with others in the years to come. Jane and Chuck met by chance when they were both visiting Malta. They parted and Jane returned to her then-home in Brighton England. She smiles, “Chuck came to visit, got a job and never left.” They continued to travel extensively until their first child was born. Contemplating what would be a good place to raise a family, they sought a less urban environment and decided upon St. Thomas, where Chuck had grown up.

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Raising children had gotten Jane thinking deeply about living and raising her family in a healthy, natural way. She pursued her curiosity about the benefits of plants by taking a course in herbalism with a local master herbalist. That course sparked in her a passion to understand more. Says Jane, “I was in awe of these plants and the healing properties they hold. They all grew locally—it was back to basics with a sigh of relief and warmth in my heart.” She has continued to take many courses, completing her Visionary Herbal Educator Diploma, and ongoing courses towards her Clinical Herbalism Diploma. Jane began to custom-blend teas based on requests from friends and family. Her study had given her a solid knowledge-base, plus she discovered she had an instinct and flair for coming up with mixtures which pleased, soothed, satisfied and tasted good. As the number of requests increased,

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Home & Garden the research and work of custom-blending began to be very time-consuming. She decided to commit the next two years to creating and formulating five “original” blends. In the mean-time, Jane and Chuck looked for a place where they and their children could live within a naturalized environment. In 2009 they found a property with huge potential and set out to become environmental stewards of their little piece of Carolinian Canada. In 2011 the Magris were proud to receive a Central Elgin Award for Environmentally Responsible Practice. They were commended for re-naturalizing their ten acre property by encouraging the growth of ‘tall-grass prairie’ ecosystems through permaculture and carbon neutral practices, and for their educational initiatives which have included herb walks and invitations to Scouts Canada to participate in their re-naturalization project. So far 1,400 Carolinian species of trees have been added to their property. The Magris began wildcrafting some of their plants for Jane’s tea blends. Chuck has his own painting business, but Jane notes, “He has found he is also really at home planting and harvesting.” The twoyear process of developing Jane’s original tea blends included extensive taste-testing of each by family and friends over a couple of months. Although Jane relied on her courses as a starting point for the formulations, she was surprised at how much the process was a creative one, facilitated by being “open to the magic of the plants”. In 2011 the Magris’ business, Wildflowers Tea was launched, just in time for the start of the Horton Farmers’ Market season in May. The gifts of nature are presented in lovely packages with eye-catching labels (purple with pops of green and orange) and enticing names like Simplicity, Calm & Balance. Jane’s philosophy is very much included inside each of those packages. The ingredients are simple, natural, local, and accessible. She notes, “Drinking

Top: Jane at the Horton Farmers' Market Second, Bottom: Wildflowers Tea's beautiful packaging Third: The Wildflowers Tea gardens (Second, third, bottom photos courtesy of Jane Magri)

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Home & Garden tea is not only beneficial, it also sets the tone. When you mindfully make a cup of tea, you are allowing yourself to take a moment, treat yourself, and enjoy nature’s gifts! Now that is medicine for the soul!”

As I sip a cup of Wildflowers tea with Jane, I can sense a little tea-time mantra of “Find your place, nurture it, it has many gifts to share”—simple, elegant and to be revealed all in their own time.

Future plans for her business all tie in to that philosophy and to sipping Wildflowers tea. “We continue to re-naturalize our farm with wildflowers meadows, as well as building a tea house on the property. As education is a huge part in this process, we plan to have lots of exciting workshops out on the farm, herb walks and herbal making classes.” She begins, “I have so many ideas…” but stops abruptly and laughs about the importance of doing one thing at a time. Her global outlook combined with a passion for local and natural work together to provide a rich source for inspiration and ideas, but her business success to date has been based upon pursuing them in a focused manner.

Wildflowers Tea products presently include eight hand-crafted herbal teas, two refreshing iced teas and healing sitz baths. Products are packaged with biodegradable, compostable and recycled material. Selected products are available in St. Thomas at St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre, Farmgate Markets, and the Vesta Shop. Construction well underway, The Magris hope to open the tearoom by summer of 2012. Jane is also a regular at the St. Thomas Horton Farmers’ Market (May to October). Find out more on the Wildflowers Tea page on Facebook.

Elgin County has an abundance of great culinary destinations, and we’re ready to show them off. From fine dining to fresh produce, farmers’ markets, wineries and breweries, Elgin County will satisfy every taste.

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Arts & Recreation

The Treble Makers WOMEN’S CHOIR

The Treble Makers Women’s Choir is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2012 with the performance of a new piece of music commissioned by them from Canadian composer, Sarah Quartel. CREATING TREBLE The Treble Makers Choir started in 2007, when a press release appeared in The Chronicle, announcing the formation of a community choir for women aged 14 and up who wanted to sing in an encouraging and supportive atmosphere. Twelve women answered Choir Director Sharon Little’s invitation. There are currently 18 Treble Makers; eight of the charter members are still with the choir. It is both a teaching and performing group. Reading music is taught as they go, for those who don’t know how already. Their repertoire includes “Bach to Boogie and Beyond”. They practice Wednesday evenings at WESES in West Lorne from late September to late May and present November and May concerts each year and at least one or two outreach concerts in senior’s homes. Members come from all walks of life, from high school students to 80 years old, from St. Thomas, Glencoe, Dutton, Rodney, West Lorne and Bothwell. Some had years of church choir; few ‘read’ music, though they understood the movement of notes;

few had choral training. One member, Jane Anton, is a retired primary music teacher with a piano degree—she’s the manager and assistant director when Sharon isn’t there. Some had been told to mouth the words as children and had never sung, much less in a choir. Several had been told by someone (often family) that they couldn’t sing.

The Chief Treble Maker Choir Director Sharon Little has an infectious enthusiasm for the enriching possibilities of both music and community involvement. A multiinstrumentalist, she was heavily involved in her high school’s music programs, both choral and band. After obtaining a B.A. in Intellectual History and a B.Ed. she went on to build an extensive background in education and music. She taught until 1996 and had moved to West Elgin in 1994. She continues to teach private music lessons (in just about everything) and provide private tutoring and mentoring for students in elementary school through university. She carried on the Horton Farmers’ Market renewal as market manager in 2007

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Arts & Recreation and 2008, and could be found there each Saturday morning sharing her passion for local food—with the exception of the weeks when she was off to camp (music camp, of course). She is still Staff Coordinator and Social Media Coordinator for the National Music Camp of Canada. She has been the Director of the West Elgin Community Band since 1997, volunteers with The Arts & Cookery Bank in West Lorne, is married to cash crop farmer Rick, and is an avid gardener, farmers’ market and local food advocate, and freelance writer.

Women’s Choir Needed

If leading a musical group in the local community was on Sharon’s ‘Bucket List’, she had fulfilled that wish as director of the West Elgin Community Band from 1997 to present, so one might wonder why she chose to initiate the start-up of a women’s choir. However, as a firm believer in the joys of singing, she has found there are obstacles, “Many people just never do it, they make excuses… I just sing in the shower… My family tells me not to sing; they make fun of me… I was told to mouth the words when I was a kid… Oh, no, you don’t want to hear me sing; I can’t sing. I have heard them all.” Sharon notes, “The truth is that no one is tone-deaf. If they were, they wouldn’t be able to distinguish

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Arts & Recreation one person’s voice from another. I sing two notes and have the person determine which one is higher—everyone can do that. Singing is a matter of experience and success with small steps. Those who don’t sing in tune, barring an auditory problem, simply haven’t had the experience of hearing themselves sing in tune. I can show them they have the ability to do that in about 15 seconds. Then, it’s just a matter of learning the skills.”

As a concert attendee, it has been inspiring to see the confidence, skill and repertoire of the group grow with each passing year. Choir members have seized opportunities to stretch their comfort zone and meet the challenges provided by their leader.

Growing Together

Throughout her career, Sharon has developed relationships with an ever-widening circle of musical friends. Many of them have participated as guests at the twice-yearly concerts—though the choir is community-based, both members and audiences have been given opportunity to broaden their musical horizons. Special guests have included vocalists Sonja Gustafson, Stacey Zegers, Amy Kozma and Nicole Dubinsky, and accompanists Sue Noorloos, Gillian Laidlaw and Laurie van’t Voort.

“What I love about small communities,” says Sharon, “is that you can start something at the grass roots and watch it grow.” The community is aware of the Treble Makers and concerts have been well attended and close to sold out since the second year. They have sung in Italian, German, French and Swahili—they couldn’t do that at the beginning. They have performed music from the 13th century to 21st century pop, music from the '60s, folk and classical. Each concert features at least one Canadian piece.

As the choir approached their 5th anniversary, Sharon looked for a way to make contributions to both the local and wider musical communities. It isn’t always easy to find music that is intelligent, interesting for women who may not have been brought up in choirs other than church, and with a singing range that fits their voices. “I want to contribute to the repertoire of interesting music for women that is accessible and not just ‘pop’ music. I want to feature Canadian composers (men and women) and to support them financially.”

There wasn’t a women’s community choir in the area and Sharon had mentioned the idea of starting one so many times to husband Rick that one day he said, “You really should just do it.” So she did.

The Treble Makers at a recent practice, with Choir Director Sharon Little at far right. (Photos by MG)

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Arts & Recreation With this in mind, she contacted Canadian composer, Sarah Quartel to create a piece for the choir’s anniversary. The two had crossed musical paths in the past; Sarah had taught at Southwold for a couple of years, and her husband’s family was from West Elgin. She had recently moved to Victoria. Sharon smiles, “We met over a pot of tea at Murchie’s Tea Shop in Victoria this past October and talked about the choir, the commission, and the choir’s thoughts on it. In mid-February the piece, I Remember, arrived along with a note from Sarah. “Last summer when my fiancé, Eric (now husband) and I were back in Ontario for a visit we spent a day showing each other places where we grew up… He took me to Rodney to see his Grandmother's [Mary Galambos] old house and then to the cemetery to visit her grave. We drove past his aunt's farm just outside of West Lorne and toured the Talbot Trail making stops at the marina and other significant places. As I wrote this piece for you, I tried to include text that would remind your singers of their home—the marina, the lake nearby, the fields of the county. All these places are where my husband spent his childhood! How wonderful to be able to write about them! I also took many of the phrases and ideas your choristers sent me and

tried to fit them into the song. I hope that many of them can see where their memories inspired the text… This song is also a way of me thanking my husband’s grandmother for raising such a happy boy who turned into a wonderful man.” On a Wednesday this past February, choir members practised with a mixture of intensity, fun and ready laughter. Their commissioned piece was introduced and Sharon read the note from Sarah. Many smiled upon mention of the grandmother’s name, one that was familiar to them, and as they began to recognize their own thoughts contained in the song. From ‘Bach to Boogie and Back Home’, the musical connections have a satisfying reverberation. I Remember will be performed in public for the first time at the Treble Maker’s spring concert on May 26th. New members are always welcome. Find out more on the Treble Makers Women’s Choir Facebook Page. Watch for features on other Elgin County musical groups in future editions of Relish Elgin. Photos courtesy of Mark Girdauskas, Photos by MG.

“I love to hear a choir. I love the humanity to see the faces of real people devoting themselves to a piece of music. I like the teamwork. It makes me feel optimistic about the human race when I see them cooperating like that.” -Paul McCartney

Joe Preston M.P. Elgin - Middlesex - London Ready and available to help with your Federal concerns. Constituency Office: 2-24 First Avenue, St. Thomas, ON N5R 4M5 Tel: (519) 637-2255 • Fax: (519) 637-3358 Toll Free: 1-866-404-0406 www.joeprestonmp.ca

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RELISH ELGIN EARLY SPRING 2012

©istockphoto.com/RNphotos

Food & Dining

Sham-Bock Shenanigans ON ST. PADDY’S DAY BY CHRISTIE MASSÉ

Everybody, every beer, every bowl, and every bread is Irish on St. Paddy’s Day! In true St. Patrick’s Day style, we all want to instill a little Irish culture into our day. As this holiday tints the world green, let’s see what foodie shenanigans we get up to when we co-mingle cultures. The brewers at Railway City are already 10 steps ahead by developing a Germanstyle beer suited to St. Paddy’s Day. The Sham-Bock is an annual feature and the inspiration for both recipes to follow. The first is a twist on traditional Irish soda bread, substituting Sham-Bock brew for the buttermilk. The acid in buttermilk helps activate the baking soda, making substitutions with other liquids somewhat tricky. Luckily there is enough acid in this microbrew to serve the same purpose while switching up the flavour profile, aroma, crumb, and colour of this Irish standard. If you’re a traditionalist or just not-so-fond of beer, feel free to maintain your loyalties and stick with buttermilk. The main to which this bread plays accompaniment is a spicy culture combo of Irish stew and Cowboy-style chili, made with locally grown Ferguson’s Fancy Beans, which can be purchased on the farm or at other retail locations including Farmgate Markets. This meal in its simplicity can be made in advance or even attempted on St. Paddy’s Day following your first pint! So crack a beer, do a jig, and start stewing! Recipe time:

FIGHTING IRISH CHILI WITH SHAM-BOCK SODA BREAD Sham-Bock Soda Bread (yields 1 loaf)

Ingredients: 3 ½ cups natural hard flour, plus extra for dusting (can sub with all purpose) 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking soda 1 cup Railway City Sham-Bock, plus extra for adjusting hydration Method: 1. Preheat oven to max (usually 500˚F) and place an ovenproof deep lidded Dutch oven style casserole in the oven to preheat (can also be baked on baking sheet or other ovenproof vessel). 2. Sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl at least twice and make a well in the centre. Add the beer and mix by hand until dough is formed. Adjust hydration using beer and flour accordingly. Turn out onto floured surface and knead just until combined. Lightly shape dough into a ball without over-kneading. 3. Carefully remove the preheated casserole from the oven. Spray with non-stick agent if necessary and place dough in dish, seam side down. Using a sharp serrated knife, score a large deep ‘x’ on top, cover, and return to the oven. (continued)

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Food & Dining

4. Bake for 10 minutes in a still oven or 7 in a convection. Reduce heat to 375˚F (350˚F for convection) and bake for additional 10 minutes. Remove lid and bake for 20 more minutes. 5. Remove from oven and let sit for about 4 minutes. Carefully turn out the bread and let cool completely on rack.

Fighting Irish Chili

(yields approximately 3 to 4 L) Ingredients: 2 cups Ferguson’s Fancy Beans of choice, soaked overnight and drained 1 tbsp olive oil 1 med onion, diced 1 lrg carrot, washed and diced 1 lrg clove garlic, minced or rasped 1 lb Ontario lamb, trimmed and cut into bite sized chunks ½ tsp chili flakes (or to taste) 1 tsp chili powder ½ tsp cumin 2 lrg potatoes, washed and diced 1 can diced tomato 1 pint Sham-Bock (available at Railway City Brewing Co. retail store March 1st) salt & pepper, to taste sour cream (garnish) smoked cheddar cheese, grated (garnish)

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Method: 1. Boil soaked beans in water for 60 minutes or until desired doneness. Strain and reserve. 2. In large stock pot, heat olive oil over mid-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. 3. Add lamb and sauté until browned. Deglaze with a splash of Sham-Bock. Add chili flakes, chili powder, and cumin. Stir to coat. Sauté for 2 minutes. 4. Add potatoes, beans, and remaining beer. Bring to a simmer. Add canned tomato and bring back up to a simmer. Reduce heat and stew for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Adjust liquid if needed by adding more beer or water. Test and adjust seasoning. 5. Garnish with dollop of sour cream and freshly grated smoked cheddar. Serve with Sham-Bock Soda Bread. Enjoy! Beer Pairing: Predictably, I will recommend pairing the beer used in the recipe with the final product. If you’d like to introduce an additional dimension to this dish, any of the Railway City selections would serve a beneficial purpose to this dinner. A drop of green food colouring and you’re ready to Toora Loora Loora your way through the holiday! Slainte!

RELISH ELGIN EARLY SPRING 2012

Food & Dining Christie Massé is a regular contributor to Relish Elgin. She and fiancé Will Gaynor are both graduates of Stratford Chefs School and own Crust Catering & Bakery in St. Thomas. We met Christie and Will in August 2010 when they took part in the FreshFest event at the CASO Station. We loved their creative energy and enthusiasm for the local foods of what was then their new home in Elgin County.

Photos by MG

Soon after, they opened their business Crust Catering & Bakery. They specialize in small-scale catering with flair, attention to detail and a focus on creating a satisfying culinary experience. They also make preservative-free handmade breads and buns (available at Farmgate Markets in St. Thomas), a variety of sweet baked treats and one-ofa-kind fondant cakes for any occasion. For more information about Crust Catering & Bakery, call 519-494-1061 or visit www.crustcatering.ca.

Huge fans of St. Patrick’s Day, Will & Christie have chosen March 17th for their wedding date. Happy Day Will & Christie!

May God grant you always... A sunbeam to warm you, A moonbeam to charm you, A sheltering angel, So nothing can harm you.

(Irish Blessing, Author unknown)

Wind n Willow

HOME DÉCOR . GIFT WARE KITCHEN . GOURMET GOODS INTERIOR DECORATING

435 Talbot Street, St. Thomas • 519.637.3904 • www.windnwillow.ca • windnwillow@bellnet.ca

BAMBOO!

MÜkitchen Cleaning Solutions Serveware • Kitchen Linens Gourmet Goods from The Garlic Box, Wind & Willow Rootham’s Gourmet & More

Plus Teas & Accessories, Lampe Berger, Wall Art and Much More!

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From original paintings to pottery, you’ll find unique gifts for everyone on your list at the twelve studios, galleries and crafters along the Elgin Arts Trail.

Experience Elgin’s Finest Visual Arts Attractions at: Portside Gallery • Peter Robson Studios • Minerva Art Gallery Pinecroft Ceramic Art Studio • The Arts & Cookery Bank St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre • Jennifer M. Designs Village Crier Gallery • Shelley McVittie’s Gallery Sparta Country Candles • Clayworks Studio • Little Red Mitten

www.elginartstrail.ca


Relish Elgin Early Spring 2012 Edition