David Lindley was the guest of honour last Friday at the Fairmont where he was given an Artistic Achievement Award by the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
The award honours performers who have made great contributions in the way of their artistic talents.
Other recipients of the award since 2004 have been Loreena McKennitt, Bruce Cockburn, Odetta, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Richard Thompson, Billy Bragg, Leon Redbone, Oscar Brand, Sarah Harmer and Ani DiFranco.
Folk Fest in the City was started three years ago with the goal of providing artistic mentoring, development opportunities and musical experiences throughout the year.
One of the very successful programs has been the Young Performers Program, which allows youth the opportunity to work with Folk Festival musicians.
The Guest For a Day program helps community groups take part in the festival.
The Musical Mentors program has brought professional local roots and folk musicians together with junior and high school music programs, where the students are given the training and guidance to help them in their musical endeavours.
“We are always striving to find new and creative ways to bring music into the lives of everyone in our city,” says Executive Director Lynne Skromeda. “Folk Fest in the City gives us a chance to reconnect with our community of supporters and friends to recapture that Folk Fest feeling, while raising funds for programs that bring music to kids and families throughout the year.”
Adam Hanney (20), who has been part of the Young Performers Program since 2010, played a few songs at the Gala event. His solo performance was brilliant and had more than a few toes tapping.
Sheena Grobb was the musical mentor this year who worked with students from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute. She went into the studio with the students and guided them through the process of recording their own song from start to finish.
I spoke with two of the students, Hera Nalam and Mitzi Genzola, who told me what a rewarding and memorable experience it was for them. The song they recorded was performed live that night with fellow students JC Cruz on guitar and Meldrick Agravante on piano, along with Jessie Lee helping Mitzi and Hera on vocals. Their performance was wonderful which got the audience to their feet for a standing ovation.
As the guests filed into the elegant ballroom, they were greeted in the lobby to the grooves of Cuban /Latin four-piece band Meta-Clave. Guests were also encouraged to get their photo taken in the photo booth which replicated a folk festival camp site complete with tent and fire.
Ace Burpee was the host of the evening, providing his wit and humour as he welcomed the guests to the fundraising dinner which attracted 340 people.
After the dinner, Ace played auctioneer, taking bids on such prizes as a stay in a luxury suite at the Fairmont, a VIP Winnipeg Folk Festival package, box seats at an MTS hockey game for 20 people, and a trip to Churchill to watch the Beluga Whale migration. Also auctioned off were 34 WFF Guest for a Day packages at $100 a pop.
After the auction, WFF Artistic Director Chris Frayer awarded the very talented David Lindley with the Artistic Achievement Award.
Mr. Lindley, who has played the festival six times between 1986 and 2013, related how it was his dream to play the WFF in much the same way as other musicians dream of playing Carnegie Hall.
After accepting his award, he served up a 40-minute set of music and stories. As always, very entertaining and amusing. Watching him play is such a treat as he is such a talented and gifted musician. Some people are born with a silver spoon but I think Mr. Lindley was born with a silver-stringed instrument of some sort.
Throughout the evening guests added their names to the 77 items in the silent auction which included some amazing prizes. As well, 185 Gala Grab bags were sold at one bag for $20 or three for $50. The grab bags ranged in value from $20- $500. All of the prizes were kindly donated by the many sponsors.
The money raised at Folk Fest in the City through ticket sales and silent and live auctions funds the festival’s year-round community programs including its Musical Mentors and Guest for a Day programs.
The evening ended with former members of Finjan in their new incarnation as The Black Sea Station. They had the guests dancing up a storm with their very upbeat tunes. David Lindley joined them for one song where he played his bouzouki. Ace Burpee also played tambourine.
All photos by Doug Kretchmer