Po­ems, paint­ings and pic­tures

Sec­ond An­nual White­way March Hare Fes­ti­val con­tin­ues to en­ter­tain as it tells prov­ince’s sto­ries

The Compass - - OPINION - STORY AND PHO­TOS BY DEN­NIS FLYNN Spe­cial to The Com­pass

Those for­tu­nate enough to at­tend the sec­ond an­nual March Hare Fes­ti­val in scenic White­way, Trin­ity Bay, March 28 were treated to an en­ter­tain­ing mix of po­ems, paint­ings and pic­tures by artists, writ­ers, and read­ers.

Or­ga­nizer Shirley Ge­orge of White­way says,“We thought we had a pretty good time and we had re­ally good speak­ers. We had a good turnout. There were 110 seats laid out for au­di­ence mem­bers at the White­way Mu­nic­i­pal Cen­tre and most of those were oc­cu­pied all day.

“Of course,” she adds, “you also have a fair num­ber of folks who pre­fer to stand in the rear of build­ing down near the art­work and lis­ten to the pre­sen­ta­tions so it’s hard to get an ex­act num­ber. For some of the spe­cial guests, like Dr. Otto Tucker, it was ba­si­cally stand­ing room only.”

Tucker, a na­tive of Win­ter­ton, is a re­cip­i­ent of the Or­der of Canada and the Or­der of New­found­land and Labrador. He’s widely known from stage plays and as the beloved char­ac­ter Grandpa Wal­cott in the Yarns From Pi­geon In­let CBC TV se­ries based on the writ­ings of au­thor Ted Rus­sell. Dr. Tucker is a co-founder of the Wes­sex So­ci­ety of New­found­land and ac­tive in the pro­mo­tion of his­tor­i­cal ties of New­found­land to the West Coun­try of Eng­land.

The Hare

For those un­fa­mil­iar with the term March Hare a web­site at U R L http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar ch_Hare_(fes­ti­val) notes:

“The March Hare is At­lantic Canada’s largest po­etry fes­ti­val. The March Hare be­gan as an evening of po­etry and en­ter­tain­ment in Cor­ner Brook, New­found­land and Labrador, and has evolved into an an­nual is­land­wide cel­e­bra­tion of words and mu­sic. The Hare is loosely as­so­ci­ated with Sir Wil­fred Gren­fell Col­lege, and takes place in March of each year. As its rep­u­ta­tion has grown, the March Hare has at­tracted in­creas­ingly high-pro­file poets, au­thors, mu­si­cians and sto­ry­tellers, fea­tur­ing in re­cent years Michael On­daatje, Alis­tair MacLeod, Paul Dur­can, Lorna Crozier, Pa­trick Lane, Su­san Mus­grave, Stephen Reid, Eiléan Ní Chuil­leanáin, Wayne Johnston, Stan Dragland, Ron Hynes, Michael Crum­mey, and many oth­ers.

“ Early con­trib­u­tors to the March Hare in­cluded Al Pittman, John St­ef­fler, Ran­dall Maggs, Adrian Fowler, David “Smoky” El­liott, Des Walsh, Clyde Rose, Nick Avis, and Pamela Mor­gan. Many con­tinue to par­tic­i­pate in the fes­ti­val to­day.

The March Hare was ini­ti­ated in the late 1980s (1987 or 1988) by Rex Brown, Al Pittman, and Ge­orge Daniels, as a way to gen­er­ate busi­ness at the Blo­mi­don Golf and Coun­try Club dur­ing the win­ter months (Daniels was the man­ager there). The ex­act year the fes­ti­val be­gan is un­cer­tain, but the 2007 event will be con­sid­ered the twen­ti­eth March Hare. The March Hare takes its name from a char­ac­ter in Lewis Car­roll’s Alice’s Ad­ven­tures in Won­der­land. Ac­cord­ing to Rex Brown, the name is also in­tended as a pun on the words here (cel­e­brat­ing a sense of place) and hear (since its fo­cus is the spo­ken word).”

Abun­dance

There was an abun­dance of en­gag­ing works of art dis­played and won­der­ful sto­ries ex­changed at the White­way 2009 ver­sion of the March Hare, which was made up of two cat­e­gories, vis­ual artists and speak­ing par­tic­i­pants.

The vis­ual artists in­cluded: from White­way, artists Re­nee But­ler-Har­num, Dar­rell Yet­man, Clif­ford Ge­orge, Wayne Ge­orge, Jane Prior, and Mary Ge­orge; Blake­town artist Melissa Strick- land; Andy Wil­liams, Win­ston Wil­liams and Frank La­pointe, New Har­bour; Roberta Burry, West­ern Bay; St. Phillips artist Pamela Wil­liams; Leona Ot­ten­heimer, Jackie Evans, Adolf Crant, and Judy Drover, St. John’s; and pho­tog­ra­phers Al­bert Legge, White­way; Den­nis Flynn, Col­liers; Al­li­son Ge­orge, Wenda Crum­mell and Patsy Pond Gosse, St. John’s and John Wood­man, pho­tog­ra­pher/artist, Dildo.

A num­ber of the artists also spoke. Along with Dr. Tucker, other speak­ing par­tic­i­pants were Thomas Dawe, David Prior, James A. McGrath, Tom Heni­han, Lisa Day Brown, Jim Ro­gin, Ron­ald ( Butch) Strick­land, Katie Whe­lan, William Gil­bert, Sara-Lynn Cumby, Dave White, Dr. Michael MaGuire, Eli Bryant, Doug Col­well, Les­lie Burgess , Stephanie Ban­ton and Ge­orge Lam­bert.

Sh ir ley Ge­orge says the event was a suc­cess both from an arts per­spec­tive and as a so­cial en­deav­our to get peo­ple out to­gether dur­ing the win­ter months.

She notes the com­mit­tee greatly ap­pre­ci­ated “ the con­tri­bu­tions of mon­e­tary gifts, time, ef­fort, food, and sup­plies and to all those who ac­cepted our in­vi­ta­tion to par­tic­i­pate and read.”

The last words go to painter Clif­ford Ge­orge who says, “The March Hare was started here be­cause of Al Pittman. Al was a dear friend of ours and we wanted to hon­our Al and get young peo­ple in­ter­act­ing in the arts.

“Young folks were telling sto­ries and didn’t have an out­let. Al would be happy about this event. Al had a poem 30 for 60 that talks about when a fa­ther was near death he told his son to al­ways go “30 for 60” in a game of growl (card game) and you’d have a bet­ter life be­cause you were al­ways tak­ing chances.

“That’s what we did here,” Ge­orge con­cludes, “took a lit­tle chance and I think it worked out.”

THE EDGE — Dr. Otto Tucker, age 85, reads a se­lec­tion from David “Smoky” El­liot’s book The Edge of Beu­lah at the sec­ond an­nual March Hare event held in White­way, Trin­ity Bay March 28.

CABOT TOWER — Leona Ot­ten­heimer, a na­tive of Long Har­bour, Pla­cen­tia Bay, stands be­side some of her paint­ings.

ROSE BLANCHE - Ge­orge Lam­bert read sev­eral of his po­ems and a new work, A Speck in the Sky, a trib­ute to the 17 vic­tims of Cougar He­li­copter Flight 491 crash, which in­cluded two of his rel­a­tives. The St. Lawrence na­tive holds a replica of the ves­sel North­ern Ranger, which he con­structed. The paint­ing of Rose Blanche is also his work.

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