Cof­fee, tea and song

En­ter­tain­ment for fam­i­lies com­ing to Fresh­wa­ter


With apolo­gies to hard bread, there might be noth­ing New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans love more than a cup of tea and a bit of good mu­sic to help stir the soul. A group of Fresh­wa­ter res­i­dents are hop­ing that for­mula will help build sup­port for a new monthly mu­si­cal event in the com­mu­nity.

The Fresh­wa­ter Cafe will be held the third Fri­day of each month at the Fresh­wa­ter United Church Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, lo­cated in the cen­tre of the com­mu­nity, from 7-10 p.m. The free event will fea­ture a va­ri­ety of lo­cal en­ter­tain­ers per­form­ing in front of au­di­ence mem­bers who can sa­ti­ate them­selves with muffins, juice, and fair trade or­ganic tea and cof­fee of­fered for sale.

The first night for the fam­ily-themed event is sched­uled for Jan. 21.

The event was the brain­child of Wayne Cole, An­drew Pea­cock, Gerry Strong, and Jim Van Evans, who were all in­volved in set­ting up a show at the com­mu­nity cen­tre for ac­claimed Scot­tish acous­tic gui­tarist Tony McManus last fall. Strong calls him “the Eric Clap­ton of acous­tic gui­tarists.”

That con­cert at­tracted close to 100 show­go­ers, a larger one than that for his per­for­mance the night be­fore in St. John’s at the Ship Pub. “ The idea was born out of that ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Cole. For now, the Fresh­wa­ter Cafe will be a monthly event, though Cole says he hopes it may be­come a bi-weekly hap­pen­ing if suc­cess­ful.

“It de­pends on par­tic­i­pa­tion from mu­si­cians and the com­mu­nity,” he says.

The mu­sic will not be abra­sive, keep­ing in step with acous­tic sounds cov­er­ing folk, blue­grass, and the softer side of rock.

Though not billed as an open-mike night, Strong says mu­si­cians who at­tend will be wel­come to drop in and play a tune or two.

“The idea is to have some­body for sure who’s go­ing to be here, but any­body who also comes in will have the op­por­tu­nity to play,” says Strong, a well-known folk mu­si­cian in the prov­ince whose tin whis­tle work has graced many record­ings.

Strong will serve as an MC to start things off, and will or­ga­nize the evening’s lineup of en­ter­tain­ers, which will wel­come both pro­fes­sion­als and am­a­teur mu­si­cians.

“For some­thing that’s billed as a fam­ily event, we want to make sure it’s a com­fort­able at­mos­phere for peo­ple to bring chil­dren and spouses and so on. We don’t want any­one to go up to the mi­cro­phone to tell dirty jokes,” laughs Cole.

While there are no names shored up as far as en­ter­tain­ers go, Strong says he hopes to at­tract mu­si­cians good enough that the group may look into of­fer­ing work­shops out of the com­mu­nity cen­tre.

“ We want this event to also have an ed­u­ca­tional com­po­nent to it,” says Cole. “ We will be invit­ing pro­fes­sion­als to come and do work­shops and share with lo­cal amateurs their gifts and skills.”

Hold­ing a suc­cess­ful monthly event might also prove a coup for the com­mu­nity, which has seen its pop­u­la­tion be­come more sea­sonal with each pass­ing year.

“Peo­ple just come here to drive through and look at the place and take some pic­tures,” says Cole. “But the com­mu­nity does not have a Tim Hor­tons or Star­bucks or any­where where folks can gather. So, we’re hop­ing as we build on this pro­gram, this will prob­a­bly be open week­days in the sum­mer­time, and peo­ple can come in and have a cof­fee.”

The com­mu­nity cen­tre came into ex­is­tence as a school in 1958. The Fresh­wa­ter High School housed 112 stu­dents taught by three teach­ers, ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle pub­lished in the Evening Tele­gram at the time of its open­ing. That school closed in the early 1980s.

The Fresh­wa­ter United Church Men’s Fel­low­ship Club is of­fer­ing ac­cess to the com­mu­nity cen­tre and will also help with set­ting up the can­teen, says Cole.

“Good for the com­mu­nity is good for the church.”

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