Dateline: Spencerville Mill & Museum, 11 Water St., June 21 to October 11, 2018. Fabulous concerts from June to October showcase musicians of diverse talents and sounds from a broad local area. Sounds include a cappella, new country, soul, retro rock, anthems and more. The venue is equally attractive, allowing audiences to get up close to the music upstairs, in the unique atmosphere of the old grist Mill, where the acoustics ring true, and musicians seem to get new inspiration from the old stone walls and high beams. Outside, the setting on the scenic South Nation River includes the sounds of bird life on sparkling water.
Up first is the sound of many voices. The June 21 Summer Solstice is being celebrated with strawberry desserts, followed by Songs for a Summer Evening. The line-up includes the rich harmonies of Village Voyces Chamber Choir, the inspirational and bold music of Malala Women’s Choir, and Bella Borealis, a trio who skilfully harmonize rootsy classics and contemporary songs. They are joined by The Valley Men, an all-male choir noted for many years of touring in rural communities throughout eastern Canada, with a varied repertoire of traditional songs, hymns, anthems and show tunes.
All these choirs support community caring, sometimes visiting hospitals or retirement homes, or helping in other ways. The Malala Choir supports girls’ education projects in vulnerable communities around the world, and The Valley Men raise funds for local charities and community emergencies, earning them the informal title of Canadian Ambassadors of Music.
The July concert highlights the engaging Fiddlehead Soup, a world folk and fiddle music acoustic trio with a haunting Celtic, medieval groove on 12-string guitar that weaves into gypsy sounds, as twinned fiddles and amazing voices set the pace. River City Junction drives the August concert with a rich blend of old school Chicago Blues, Motown, and classic rock. These accomplished musicians mix up a vibrant cocktail of great sound, laced with a retro vibe that is distinctively their own.
Once again, in September, the Spencerville Mill will be a stop on Ontario’s Festival of Small Halls touring line-up. Preceded by sold out events with The Good Lovelies and Elliott Brood, the name of another popular band will be announced later in the summer. Brought to audiences by the team behind Bluesfest, this special Festival brings exceptional Canadian musicians to small venues across Eastern Ontario, sharing a love of music in a beloved place.
October brings the amazing eastern Ontario Indie-folk band, Riverthieves, who have been playing music together since the turn of the last Millennium. The longevity and honing of talent show in their tight rendering of Canadian and Celtic traditional and original sounds. This concert also features original music from their acclaimed 2018 album, Soldier, celebrating and reflecting on the soldiering life.
Summer Solstice event starts at 5:00 pm with the grand opening of heritage store Barnard’s Emporium, delicious free coffee from Little Sisterz bistro in Spencerville, and desserts costing up to $5 followed by the concert at 7:30 pm.
All concerts start at 7:30 pm. Doors open at 6:30 pm for refreshments and socializing. Tickets range from $12 to $25. Available at the door or via 1000islands.snapd.com/ticketed-events.