Quebec singer’s wwoofing tour ends in Stanstead East
singer-songwriter, Matthew McCullly, known for his performances which highlight the fabric of Canadian rural communities, has been on an 11,000 kilometre music/video tour which began from his home in Sherbrooke, Quebec, on July 20th. After travelling across the country to promote sustainability, visiting and performing at about twenty family and organic farms which are part of the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farmers (WWOOF) organization, Mr. McCully will finish this tour with a performance at the George Weller organic farm, in Stanstead East, on August 30th, beginning at 7:00 pm.
“Wwoof supports this project,” commented Becky Young, coordinator of Wwoof Canada, “because it brings together musicians, writing of music and songs showcasing alternative and traditional ways of living, and captures the stories of dynamic Canadians on video to share.”
A multi-talented musician, Mr. McCully’s trademark has become his performances in non-traditional venues which draw attention to important aspects of Canadian life. A recent Heritage Tour took place in historic buildings in rural Quebec, libraries, schools and homes and he recently completed the Sugar Shack Sessions which featured five musicians at five traditional sugar shacks in the Eastern Townships. During each performance he incorporates local musicians and other aspects of local life. The sessions are recorded for later use by participants.
“I wanted to do a series on organic farming, because it’s a value I share, and I wanted to create a greater awareness and appreciation for the people who work hard to feed our country. Response from Wwoofers to the music tour has been overwhelming. What’s really amazing is the wide range of farms I’ll be visiting, from small family farms that grow their own food to lavender farms and vineyards to full scale ranches where bison or alpacas are ranched,” said Mr. McCully before the tour.
Quebec luthier Marc Saumier was inspired when he heard about the tour promoting sustainability, and has sponsored McCully with a beautiful handmade guitar. The one of a kind fanned-fret instrument was constructed from local wood that Mr. Saumier harvested himself or saved from the pulp mill, and water based non-toxic lacquers and varnishes were used to create a pristine finish. “It has a beautiful, full sound, and a unique look. It will make me a better player,” Mr. McCully added.
Wwoofers have also added their own dimension to the tour. A Wwoofer in Ontario wanted to highlight the Plant a Row program which is gaining momentum across the country as a means of feeding the community’s less fortunate. Another in Calgary suggested hosting the performance in the local community centre to raise funds for recent flood victims. In Alberta, a Wwoofer suggested inviting hosts who are billeting French-speaking children to hear their native language spoken by a Quebecer. “It would be a truly Canadian experience,” she said. “A bilingual, English-Quebec singer speaking French on a farm owned by English westerners, to French-speaking children.”
And venue suggestions were equally diverse, from performances on a yoga platform under the stars, to a picturesque vineyard, a teepee and, the piece de resistance, found in McCully’s own neighbourhood of Stanstead where he will end the tour Aug. 30th: an airplane hangar on an expansive organic farm.
Anyone who would like to attend this free concert is welcome. Before the evening concert, people are welcome to pick their own apples, pears, potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos and broccoli at the Weller organic farm, from 3:00 to 6:00 pm, then attend the potluck supper at 6:00 pm.
Singer Mathew McCully is performing a free concert in an airplane hanger on the George Weller organic farm, in Stanstead East, this Friday evening.