‘Check, 1…2’

Ex­cite­ment grow­ing as Twillingate ap­proaches ‘piv­otal mo­ment’ with Mu­sicNL Week

The Central Voice - - Front Page - KYLE GREENHAM

Mu­sicNL Week is ex­pected to bring an ar­ray of pro­vin­cial tal­ent, in­ter­na­tional in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als and mu­sic con­nois­seurs to Twillingate.

With a va­ri­ety of show­cases, con­fer­ences and a highly-an­tic­i­pated awards show, the five-day event will be the largest of its kind to ever greet the small is­land.

Deb­o­rah Bour­den is a lo­cal tourism op­er­a­tor with sev­eral prop­er­ties around Twillingate. She has 38 rooms and her Cap­tain’s Pub venue all booked up for Mu­sic NL Week.

Bour­den was in­volved in talks four years ago, when the idea of bring­ing Mu­sic NL to Twillingate was first be­ing brain­stormed. Now that the idea is on the verge of be­com­ing re­al­ity, Bour­den says it rep­re­sents a piv­otal mo­ment for her home com­mu­nity.

“It’s def­i­nitely a cov­eted event to host, and this is the first time Twillingate will have hosted some­thing of this mag­ni­tude,” Bour­den said. “So, for us, it’s game on. We got to step up to the plate and pull this off.”

Twillingate has grown into one of the es­sen­tial des­ti­na­tions in the prov­ince’s tourism in­dus­try. Now that it’s cho­sen as the set­ting for this year’s Mu­sicNL Week, Bour­den said it brings an­other mile­stone to the com­mu­nity’s growth.

“I’ve be­lieved in bring­ing this to Twillingate from day one,” she said. “It’s been some­thing I’ve been think­ing about and dream­ing about for the past four years, be­liev­ing it was a pos­si­bil­ity.

“Now that it will hap­pen here and it’s build­ing up to this, it’s pretty ex­cit­ing.”

With a pop­u­la­tion of just over 2,000, a va­ri­ety of build­ings and busi­nesses across the area are be­ing uti­lized to meet the de­mand of the mu­sic-filled week. The Or­ange Lodge, Split Rock mi­cro­brew­ery, Ma­sonic Lodge, the Lion’s Club, and the Auk Is­land Win­ery are just a few ex­am­ples of the lo­cal venues in­volved.

Twillingate’s high school, J.M. Olds Col­le­giate, will host the an­nual awards show on Oct. 14. Many tourism op­er­a­tions that have shut down for the sea­son, like Twillingate Ad­ven­ture Tours and Scot Lewis’ pen­cil art stu­dio, plan to re­open dur­ing Mu­sicNL Week.


Mike Sixonate, a lo­cal mu­si­cian nom­i­nated for Mu­sicNL’s Celtic/Tra­di­tional Artist of the Year award, hopes the event will not be a spark of en­cour­age­ment for tal­ent in the area.

“I re­ally hope peo­ple take ad­van­tage of this op­por­tu­nity and that it will grow the ap­pre­ci­a­tion for lo­cal mu­sic,” said Sixonate. “Lo­cal mu­sic in New­found­land is far be­yond the scope of tra­di­tional New­found­land mu­sic. We have some of the best rock-and-roll bands in Canada, and now [Mu­sicNL] has added a rap cat­e­gory and there will be a hip hop show­case.

“And for the lo­cal bud­ding mu­si­cians and clos­eted mu­si­cians, maybe this will be the event that pushes them to say ‘I can do this too’.”

Sixonate also sees this as a good op­por­tu­nity for the venues around Twillingate to dis­play them­selves for the mu­si­cians and the many in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives com­ing from abroad.

“These mu­si­cians are go­ing to see what we have to of­fer, and hope­fully they will see this place as a fu­ture des­ti­na­tion,” he said.

Over 40 vol­un­teers have signed up for the big week, in­clud­ing many stu­dents from J.M. Olds mu­sic and drama pro­gram. Work­ing out of her of­fice in the Or­ange Lodge, events, show­cases and vol­un­teers co­or­di­na­tor Gil­lian Rouleau says she is elated stu­dent vol­un­teers have the chance to get so closely in­volved with the event.

The New­found Tal­ent Con­test is also ex­pected to bring many young up and com­ing area mu­si­cians up to the stage.

Rouleau says the Town of Twillingate has been closely in­volved with help­ing Mu­sicNL make lo­cal con­tacts, and is also spon­sor­ing the Folk/Roots Artist of the Year award.

As the event fast ap­proaches, Twillingate is ex­pected to take a quick turn from its calm au­tumn and re­turn to the traf­fic and ac­tiv­ity of its bustling tourism-heavy sum­mer.

With this in mind, Bour­den said across the aboard, the ex­cite­ment and anx­i­eties are only grow­ing. But in the end, she be­lieves pulling the event off will be a source of pride and achieve­ment for the town.

“I know that once the day comes, we’ll hit the ground run­ning and I think the en­ergy is go­ing to be ex­tra­or­di­nary,” she said. “There’s a lot of peo­ple who don’t un­der­stand what this is re­ally all about and they’ll be wowed; they’ll be im­pressed.

“The en­ergy, the vibe, the amount of peo­ple and the great tal­ent that’s go­ing to be here – it’s some­thing to be proud of.”


Gil­lian Rouleau – Mu­sicNL’s events, show­cases and vol­un­teers co-or­di­na­tor – says ex­cite­ment and sup­port has been steadily grow­ing as the 2018 Mu­sicNL Awards and Con­fer­ence Week ap­proaches Rouleau has been pre­par­ing for the event from her of­fice at the Or­ange Lodge in Twillingate


Lo­cal mu­si­cian Mike Sixonate hopes Mu­sicNL Week will be a spark of en­cour­age­ment for many up-and-com­ing mu­si­cians in Twillingate. Sixonate is cur­rently work­ing to build his own record­ing stu­dio in town. He hopes to uti­lize the stu­dio once the prov­ince’s mu­si­cians make their way to Twilin­gate for the week’s events.

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