Author Archives: Hollis Morgan

An Extraordinary Evening of Song, Participation, Hope and Protest

For those who have never attended a Gil’s Hootenanny, the following review of Gil’s Hootenanny 2019 by Hollis Morgan is worth the read….

Read review: “An Outstanding 10th Anniversary Gil’s Hootenanny

Hollis Morgan, May 3rd, 2019

Gil’s Hootenanny 2020 will feature Canadian singer-songwriter James Keelaghan.

Join us on May Day, Friday, May 1st, at 7:30pm in Clark Hall at the RA Centre, 2451 Riverside Drive. Staffed by UNIFOR members, the RA Centre is accessible, has loads of parking and is well serviced by OC Transpo.

Tickets are $10, kids are free.

Stay tuned for further information.

Photo of James Keelaghan

James Keelaghan to Headline Gil’s Hootenanny 2020

Ottawa’s Gil’s Hootenanny will begin its second decade featuring musical legend James Keelaghan. One of Canada’s finest singer-songwriters, Keelaghan will bring his distinctive voice and masterful storytelling to this 11th annual community sing-along celebrating the stories, struggles and victories of working people.

First presented in 2010, Gil’s Hootenanny is inspired by the legacy of Gil Levine, who spent his life working for social justice and was the founding Director of Research at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). A great lover of folk music and an enthusiastic supporter of folk musicians, Gil believed in the collective power of song to bring people together to speak up and sing out for change.

Over the years, Gil’s Hootenanny has seen increasingly larger audiences who join the headliner, other featured artists and the Hootenanny Band in singing along with new and traditional songs of hope and protest.

Gil’s Hootenanny will take place on May Day, Friday, May 1st, at 7:30pm in Clark Hall at the RA Centre, 2451 Riverside Drive. Staffed by UNIFOR members, the RA Centre is accessible, has loads of parking and is well serviced by OC Transpo.

Tickets are $10, kids are free.

Stay tuned for further information.

Evemarie Brunelle and the Joy of Voices Rising Together

Dynamic… magnificent… joyful” are some of the superlatives used to describe the experience of singing together in harmony led by Evemarie Brunelle. After a knock-out, sold-out event last fall that left Ottawa participants clamouring for more, the Montreal-based singer, choir leader, and performer will return on October 27th with BIG SING OTTAWA!

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Feature Article in “Our Times” Magazine

The Power of Song

Gil’s Hootenanny

By Kathy Kennedy   April 10, 2019

PHOTOGRAPH: JAKE MORRISON, WITH FLARE PHOTOGRAPHY

The finale at Gil’s Hootenanny is always the highlight of a joyous evening. On May 1, 2018, the rafters of Ottawa’s Clark Hall rang with the sounds of over 300 voices singing “We Shall Not Be Moved,” the African-American spiritual turned labour anthem. The hootenanny brings people together to sing songs of protest and hope, belting out their belief in the power of collective singing for change. Buzzing with optimism, the audience left for home that night singing and carrying a message of inspiration to the streets and neighbourhoods of the city.

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BIG SING OTTAWA!


with EVEMARIE BRUNELLE
Sunday, October 27 from 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Westboro Masonic Hall, 430 Churchill Ave. N.
$20 online by PayPal or credit card

(via Spirit of Rasputins Arts Society PayPal account)
or at Octopus Books, 118 Third Ave.
Spaces are limited.

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!

Sing together in harmony to experience a powerful source of energy, connection and joy! We will learn simple songs from around the world in unison and in harmony.

All ages welcome. No experience necessary. All voices welcome!

Led by Evemarie Brunelle, graduate of the Community Choir Leadership training. Founder of Allez Chante! in Montréal, non-auditioned choirs, since 2009.

Evemarie is known for her dynamic song leading, the quality of her presence, clarity of her instruction and her magnificent voice.
allezchante.ca


An Outstanding 10th Anniversary Gil’s Hootenanny

A capacity audience sang from start to finish at arguably the best organized and best attended 10th Anniversary Gil’s Hootenanny held May 1st, 2019 at the RA Centre. As people arrived, the Hootenanny Choir (a.k.a. Just Voices Activist Choir) was singing in the foyer. This set the stage for participation in a wide variety of “songs of protest, songs of hope”. While some of the songs were new, most were quite old and had survived many iterations through the “folk process” over decades or even hundreds of years. This review will include some of that musicology. The organizers of Gil’s Hootenanny deserve praise for the breadth and depth of song selection at this anniversary event.

In the hall, while they were finding their seats, a video of past Hoots played on the big screen over the stage with concert clips and interviews of past participants. The choir and video were both very welcoming touches.

Parade of performers

The real Hootenanny began with a parade of performers marching down both aisles to the stage singing Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around, a civil rights song adapted from a spiritual first recorded by the Dixie Jubilee Singers in 1924. Resurrected by the Reverend Ralph Abernathy during the summer of 1962 when mass arrests and demonstrations erupted for the second time, he taught it one night to a mass meeting at Mount Zion Baptist Church.

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“The Marias” To Headline Gil’s Hootenanny’s 10th Anniversary Line-up

Maria Dunn and Maria Hawkins will be the 2019 headliners for the 10th Annual Gil’s Hootenanny, Wednesday, May 1st at 7:30pm at the RA Centre (Clark Hall), 2451 Riverside Drive. Affectionately dubbed “the Marias” by Hootenanny organizers, Dunn and Hawkins will share the stage, alternating songs in a musical conversation that will be intimate & fun with the added element of audience participation – a tradition for this annual sing-along event.

Poster design by Kate Morgan

Inspired by the legacy of Gil Levine (1924-2009), the founding Director of Research at the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Gil’s Hootenannywas first presented in 2010. Gil and his wife Helen, who died in October 2018, hosted hootenannies at their home for decades.

Passionate about preserving the spirit of folk music, twice Juno-nominated Maria Dunnis often compared to Woody Guthrie for her keen social awareness and her melodic, unvarnished songs about the lives of working men and women. Her stint as a volunteer DJ in community radio encouraged Dunn to listen widely to master songwriters, singers and instrumentalists of folk and roots music. Becoming an avid fan of live music, Dunn began writing her own music in the mid-90s, drawing deeply on the folk tradition of storytelling through song to honour the resilience and grace of “ordinary” people, past and present.

Ottawa’s Blues Lady Maria Hawkins is a much-beloved performer in Ottawa, and is well known as the co-creator of “Blues in the Schools”, which garnered the W.C. Handy Blues Award. Hawkins has also earned a United Way Community Builder Award for her work with local charities, the NAC Award for Artistic Excellence, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for 25 years of inspiration to Canadian youth. Hawkins’ music is influenced by a deep respect for indigenous peoples and passion for peace and justice, and is informed by many facets of her background, including her black, Mi’kmaq and Acadian ancestry.

Pete Seeger was among Gil and Helen’s favourite troubadours. As 2019 marks the 100th Anniversary of his birth, the Hootenanny will celebrate Pete with a special presentation of his legacy by Steve Richer, folk singer and banjo-playing Professor Emeritus at Carleton University. The Hootenanny Band will open the evening with a selection of new and traditional sing-along music. The Band comprises members of the Elizabeth Riley Band – Carmel Whittle, Jen Gilbert & Patricia Reynolds – with Debbie Rubin and Mark Evenchick.

Helen and Gil’s vision of a better world included bringing people together to celebrate, share and sing about the stories, struggles and victories of working women and men. Gil’s Hootenanny continues that legacy.

Tickets ($10, kids free) are now available online and can be purchased (cash only) at Octopus Books, 116 Third Avenue. For additional information visit Facebook.