The Pictou County Christmas Fund Telethon will be held this Sunday at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre raising money to help those who might not otherwise be able to afford a Christmas dinner.
The show, as in previous years, runs 1-7 p.m. and is broadcast live on East Coast FM radio station as well as on Eastlink TV. The deCoste is open to anyone who wants to come and see the performances live, and viewers are also able to make a pledge at the same time.
Performers will include local schools and choirs as well as individual performers including well-known performers like Dave Gunning to lesser known local talents.
Here’s a look at some of the performers people can expect to hear from throughout the day:
Dion Durdle is a songwriter from Pictou County, who has just released his second album titled "Praise Loud." His first album “The Real Rock ’n’ Roll” was released in 2009.
Durdle writes with intensity and passion that he feels comes from being a Soldier for Christ in the Salvation Army, and is inspired by its history and tradition.
"When The Salvation Army began, it was a radical and innovative movement, because it took 'worldly music' and turned it into 'Godly music,'" says Durdle. Formally a member of the Halifax Christian Rock band Grounded (2002-2007), Durdle has played with other local Christian artists in the Halifax area, and has been involved in various Christian events in the Maritimes.
“I have been involved in music since learning to sing, play brass, and piano as a young boy, eventually learning guitar as a teenager.”
The Keltic Chords Ladies Barbershop Chorus has been in existence since 1992. Under their current director, Michael Martin, the Keltic Chords have shared their love of harmony at many functions and nursing homes.
There are currently 25 members in the chorus who meet weekly to practise and celebrate friendship, creating a spirit of unity, enthusiasm and fun, personal growth and development through music and education.
Bailey Spaulding started playing guitar at the age of 15 after becoming inspired by many blues rock artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and many others. He has been hooked ever since.
He is now 18 years old and plays guitar constantly, always trying to better himself as a musician. In his high school years at North Nova Education Centre he was a part of two blues rock bands. He gained a lot of experience by performing at many school events, where he and his bands would sometimes play for as many as 1,300 people at a time.
This will Spaulding's first time performing on the Pictou County Christmas Fund Telethon.
Stellarton Male Chorus
The Stellarton Male Chorus has been very active in the musical ministry over the years, having been formed in 1926 from a “double quartet” under the leadership of Rev. W.C. Nicholson who became the first director of the Chorus.
During the war, several RAF airmen stationed in Debert, practised with the chorus on Sunday afternoons, and three of them returned after the war to join as regular members. Sacred music wasn’t the chorus’s only talent. They performed at many variety concerts and minstrel shows, often with Mr. Robson (a director for 28 years) and others, entertaining with fiddles and guitars to end the program.
The chorus consists of a group of men who love to sing sacred music, designed for male voices. They have held services in many churches throughout Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and on a couple of occasions, in Prince Edward Island.
In addition to churches, they also visit twice yearly, each local nursing home in New Glasgow, Trenton, Stellarton, and Pictou as well as the Veteran’s Unit in Pictou. Currently they have 27 members plus Brian Bowden as the director, Brenda Bowden and Ken Rockey as accompanists.
Yixie Tang (Tom) is an international student from China now studying at Northumberland Regional High School. He has been playing guitar for four years.
Jesse Hemmings is from Merigomish and grew up singing in local choirs with Monica George-Punke and Janice Alcorn.
Now a first year kinesiology student at Acadia University, he is still sure to make time for music and community. He'll be performing along with friends Aldo Orsi and Josiah Pratt at this year's telethon.
Kara Taylor is 14 years old and is in Grade 9 at North Nova Education Centre. She lives in Abercrombie. Taylor is a singer, guitarist and fiddler. She has been performing at various events around the community for over a year. She also has been playing guitar for six years, taught by Janet Proudfoot, and has been singing most of her life.
The Kitchen Criminals
The Kitchen Criminals are a four-piece band featuring Hayley MacLeod, Bruce Pettipas, Sandra DeCoste and Ashley George. Their East Coast, Celtic-Rock sound was largely influenced by two Atlantic Canadian bands, MacKeel and Great Big Sea.
They began performing together during the production George’s latest album, “The Puzzle” (April 2016). They formed as a result of shared enthusiasm and love for the kitchen party atmosphere felt when the four are playing together.
Don Haggart and his brother Jim were inducted into the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame in August 2006. Sadly, Jim passed away on Sept. 4, 2006.
In November 2006, Don was recognized by the Town of New Glasgow as “Ambassador Extraordinaire” for his pioneering contribution towards the international music legacy of Nova Scotia. He devotes much of his time performing for numerous community causes and charitable fundraisers. In November 2009, Don released a new gospel CD entitled, Prayers & Promise, a collection of ten original songs written and performed by Don, accompanied by several talented Maritime artists. Prayers & Promise is being received with great enthusiasm.
Joyce and John Willems
John and Joyce Willems have been residents of Hopewell for 31 years, both coming from musical backgrounds.
John was born in the Netherlands and Joyce in Amherst. They met in London, Ont., and resided there for many years raising two children.
They love to perform at local benefits, variety shows, concerts, jams, senior citizens, and nursing homes. They have also performed on the P.E.I. Ferry “Music On The Deck” and at the Pictou Marina.
In May 2013 they released a CD called “Treasured Generations” dedicated to their children and grand children which includes Irish, country, and 1950s and ’60s music.
Klorissa Farnsworth is a 16-year-old from Scotch Hill Road, Pictou County. She is a Grade 11 student at Northumberland Regional High School. Farnsworth has been playing fiddle for almost 12 years, being taught by Pam LeBlanc.
She started classical violin classes with Hayley MacLeod a year ago and has been teaching fiddle herself for three years. She plans to study musical therapy in the future.
Farnsworth will be accompanied by her younger brother Myles on percussion. He is 14 and in Grade 9 at Northumberland Regional High School. Besides accompanying his sister, Myles plays on the Bantam AA Crushers hockey team and he played on the U15 boys NNU soccer team who won provincials this summer.
Rainbow Express is a live musical performance group made up of Nova Scotians Melanie MacLellan and Crystal Mann. Singing about fun, feelings and everything under the sun, they take their audiences on a musical ride with original songs and old favourites. Their show is suitable for toddlers, school aged children and the young at heart; there’s something for the whole family.
Rainbow Express has performed for small and large audiences, including: Halifax Canada Day and Natal Day; Tall Ships Festival; New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee; Trenton Fun Fest; Pictou Natal Day; corporate events; and much more.