Tag Archives: Exeter

Guitarists jam in Rock and Roll Band Camp

21 Sep
Adam Cyr, at right, jams with students James Alcock, David Mackechnie and Aaron Neeb in Rock and Roll Band Camp.

Adam Cyr, at right, jams with students James Alcock, David Mackechnie and Aaron Neeb in Rock and Roll Band Camp.

By Diva Heather Boa

EXETER – Four musicians hunch over their guitars, listening to Tragically Hip’s Nautical Disaster, a classic garage-rock song about mass death at sea during World War II.

As lead singer Gordon Downie makes his way through the first 50 seconds, their fingers hover over the taut nylon strings, their heads bob and tilt to catch the cue. There it is: Downie says the magic words “…coast of France” and they jump into the song with two electric, one bass and one acoustic guitar. Feet pound, bodies lurch, heads rock.

I think this is a magical moment, when four guys forget the world and just rock out, strains of their music wafting down the staircase and out onto Exeter’s main street on an otherwise quiet evening. I no longer make any of them self-conscious, scribbling notes and taking photos from the sidelines at this Rock and Roll Band Camp, part of Creative Huron’s Test Drive Your Creative Side. In this moment, I probably don’t exist and they’ve even forgotten they’re in the Odd Fellows and Rebekah lodge, sharing space with a dartboard, massive pool table and old black and white photos hung on the walls. They are lost in their guitars, and loving it.

The band camp is led by Adam Cyr, who plays in local bands and teaches guitar, bass and drums and his business Joyful Sounds, which is based in South Huron. Tonight is the third session for his students, who are learning new techniques and cords, and jamming. As they play songs like Last Kiss by Wayne Cochran and Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones, Adam throws out tips and talks about things like “down, down, switch,” “1, 4, 5 blues,” “staying on the dots,” “doing some blues licks” and other things about which I know nothing. But his fellow guitarists nod in agreement and adjust their playing based on his instructions.

Creative Huron’s Test Drive Your Creative Side is a comprehensive series of classes with a maximum eight hours of instruction, designed to introduce beginners to the arts. Classes led by local artists range from Latin dance to voice, watercolours to sound systems, needle felt to lantern making. Thanks to a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, classes are just $20 each.

There are still plenty of classes available to let you test drive your creative side. Give it a go.

This series of classes is produced by Huron Arts & Heritage Network and the County of Huron Cultural Services Department along with partner arts organizations: Art aRound Town,Blyth East Side Dance, Blyth Festival, Elizabeth’s Art Gallery, Goderich Celtic Roots Festival, Goderich Little Theatre, Imagine Huron and Worth Their Salt.


Musical masterpiece opens Bach Music Festival

15 Jul


By Diva Karen Stewart

EXETER – As I left my car on a side street in Exeter on Monday night, the bells in the tower at Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church were ringing a melancholy welcome.

A few minutes later, South Huron’s third Bach Music Festival of Canada was opened by the chair of the board, Friedhelm Hoffman, with greetings from South Huron’s mayor, Maureen Cole. What followed was nothing short of splendid – an evening of exceptional music presented by the wildly talented Spanish pianist Leopoldo Erice.

The concert began with Erice presenting a short lecture on his career, his appreciation for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and his introduction to the musical part of the evening – the 32-part Goldberg Variations. I so appreciated this opportunity to learn more about Bach and his music from such a passionate and charming performer.

Leopoldo Erice

Leopoldo Erice

Erice began by saying “a concert without an audience is not a concert at all” and he thanked the nearly sold-out crowd for attending the performance this night. “The audience is the receiver of the composer’s message,” and is, therefore, a key part of the event.

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician (1685 – 1750). He created the Goldberg Variations, an iconic 32-piece aria once described by NPR Music blogger Tom Huizenga as both “simply beautiful keyboard work, and a Rubik’s Cube of invention and architecture.”

A stately grand piano from D & S Pianos filled the stage so it was interesting to be reminded that in the time of Bach the piano had not yet been invented. The aria had been created for playing on a harpsichord with two manuals (or keyboards).

Erice described the translation to the piano to be quite demanding as the crossing of the hands would become somewhat chaotic, “like Tom and Jerry running back and forth across the keys” (he was quite funny in his delivery.) At one point in the aria, on the piano, both hands play the same note so the musician gets to decide which works for him/her.

Eric told the audience that the Goldberg Variations are said to have exquisite craftsmanship inspired by Bach’s devote Lutheran faith. It was created as part of Bach’s lifelong search for perfection. Further, Erice described the Goldberg Variations having much significance in its numbers. The 32-part Aria was created in 10 groups of three (with two parts repeated to reach the 32). There were nine canons or musical techniques employing a specific melody. And there were three parts presented in minors – #15 – (15/3 = 5) with the five having fear and sadness relating significance to the Virgin Mary; #21 (21/3 = 7) … relating to the seventh day when God rested and # 25 (5/5 = 5), a large homage, again to the Virgin Mary. The last variation #30 was celebratory.

Finally, Erice felt honoured to have the opportunity to explore Bach’s music in depth and feels that the piece often sends the audience into a meditative and contemplative state of mind. Most of all he felt the Goldberg Variations “have some of the most beautiful magical moments in music.”

After a brief break, the concert began … approximately 90 minutes of un-interrupted, technically complex but none-the-less splendid piano music, presented by a consummate professional. Some pieces were easy-listening, some were delivered with more aggression and some with rapid staccato.   The pieces created in minor keys definitely changed the mood as Bach has intended per this lecturer’s research.
The triple standing ovation indicated everyone in the church that evening agreed this was a wonderful way to kick off the 2015 Festival that continues all week with evening concerts and Bach’s free Brown-Bag Lunch Series.   The grand finale is St. Matthew Passion on Saturday night.

Full details are available on the website.

This piano originally belonged to Diva Karen Stewart's grandmother’s.  Karen donated it to Bach Music Festival in 2011 and an art class at South Huron District High School painted it.

This piano originally belonged to Diva Karen Stewart’s grandmother’s. Karen donated it to Bach Music Festival in 2011 and an art class at South Huron District High School painted it.



How to celebrate Canada Day in Huron County

30 Jun

CanadaDay-EventsBy Diva Claire Carter

The five-day forecast is showing a break from the rain, and I’m ready to celebrate Canada Day!  The holiday is extra special this year, as we’re also celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Canada Flag.  Here’s a list of what’s happening around Huron County.

goderich fireworksFestivities in Goderich kick off tonight with a fireworks show at the beach, featuring the sounds of Hotel California, the Original Eagles Tribute Band near the Marine Museum.  The concert starts at 8 p.m., and fireworks at dusk.  In the event of lightning, the fireworks will be rescheduled to July 1st.

On July 1st, head to Courthouse Square Park at 11 a.m. for free hotdogs, beverages and live entertainment.  The entertainment lineup for the day includes:

11:30 a.m. – Late Nite Radio
12:15 p.m. – Goderich Laketown Band
12:30 p.m. – The Civic Ceremony takes place on the Performance Stage to officially recognize Canada Day.
2 p.m. – Parade begins, traveling around the square and following the route below:

Goderich parade map

After the Canada Day parade, head back back to the beach for the Sail Pass and Boat Parade. The boats will sail past Cove Beach, St. Christophers Beach and the Main Beach before they enter the Main Harbour to be judged.

The Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol are both open from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Canada Day.

July 1st is a very full day in Exeter.  Head to the Rec Centre and Legion in South Huron early for a full day of events!  Free swim will also be offered.
7 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Breakfast

9 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Car Show

10 a.m. – Dress your Pet Contest

4 p.m.– dusk – musical entertainment

5 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Supper at the Exeter Legion

Fireworks at dusk.

Contact  Ian Palmateer for more information – (519) 228-7303.

The Wingham Firefighters Association is hosting fireworks in Riverside Park at Dusk on July 1st.
Also on July 1st, is the Seaforth Firefighter’s Breakfast.  Travel to Huron East and enjoy eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, pancakes, toast, coffee and juice at the Seaforth Firehall (31 Birch Street) from 9 a.m. until noon.  Contact Marty Bedard for more information. (mbedard@huroneast.com).

Depending on how much you feel like doing, you can see fireworks two nights in a row, enjoy a great breakfast or dinner and participate in community fun.  Happy Canada Day!

For information on other summer events in Goderich, visit http://www.ontarioswestcoast.com

Nosing around Exeter’s downtown unearths some great treasures

4 Jun
The beautiful exterior draws visitors in to Seasonals.

The beautiful exterior draws visitors in to Seasonals.

By Diva Jennifer Mossop

EXETER – There is hidden treasure in Exeter, Ontario.

The town is known for its beautiful buildings and parks, as well as a classic, South Western Ontario Main Street of yellow brick

Exeter is known for sweet shop Sugar and Spice Chocolates.

Exeter is known for sweet shop Sugar and Spice Chocolates.

facades.   And, while most know about long-standing favourites like Eddington’s of Exeter and Sugar and Spice Chocolates, there are some lesser known gems for noshing and retail pleasure.

Exeter’s annual Ladies Night Out is a great chance to check out the newer, the lesser known, or the ones you haven’t managed to visit before, as well as the old favourites. Dozens of places offer discounts, specials, treats and samples to turn an evening of shopping into an event.

Consignment product is artfully displayed at Luv Scarlett.

Consignment product is artfully displayed at Luv Scarlet.

First stop was Luv Scarlet – the new tenant of one of Main Street’s lovely old buildings. It is a mixture of very good consignment – gently used or new clothing, shoes and hand bags, scrumptiously arranged in the high ceiling brick walled store. A gourmet coffee bar and retro fridge filled with old fashioned glass bottles of Coke offer a way to slake thirst, while the weekly Saturday table of to-die-for baked goods gives this place a feel of endless possibility.

Half a block to the North is another business finding possibility in every nook and cranny. Jennard Cheese, which boasts an excellent selection of cheeses, olive oils, maple syrups, gourmet goodies, alcohol free

There's even ice cream at Jennard Cheese Shop.

There’s even ice cream at Jennard Cheese.

wines, and gifts, has recently blasted a hole in the wall to the next shop. There, delicious soups, salads, sandwiches and, yes, ice cream are served.   It’s not unusual to see customers staring down at their café tables as they pore over the historic pictures and articles acting as a glass covered tablecloth, while the yellow brick walls showcase local art.

Next stop, Willow Valley – a new addition to the décor scene, which already includes such spots as Inner Urban, Interior Concepts, Custom Covers, and the creative Bella Casa. Willow Valley offers expert decorating services, along with an irresistible array of interior delights to take home on a whim. Antiques, including sometimes hard-to-find items, are found here.

Seasonals is housed in a quaint little single storey, rambling house (yes, yellow brick) and deserves a real exploration. I have long noticed, and long not visited, this cornucopia. Don’t rush through this tiny maze of garden, home, and body décor. You will find a treasure at a good price to tuck in your pocket and take home.

Finally, a trip to Miller’s Country Store. I am always speeding up, or just barely slowing down, when I catch sight of the sign in the South East end of Exeter on Thames Road. But this time, I slowed right down, and turned in. Again, an eclectic and fun mix of offerings – authentic farm, fun garden, gifts, toys and a mix of pet, farm and wild animal supplies are all available.

If Exeter isn’t a regular stop for you, make a point of getting there. And if you are a regular, set aside a little extra time to nose around this Town, and enjoy the discovery of hidden treasure.

Stories are part of the fabric of quilts, dresses & hats at the 2015 Quilt Exhibit

16 Apr
The quilt collection of Susan & Laurie Kraftcheck is featured in the 2015 Quilt Exhibit. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Sitter.

The quilt collection of Susan & Laurie Kraftcheck is featured in the 2015 Quilt Exhibit. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Sitter.

By Diva Heather Boa

EXETER –Joseph Hisey began his collection with a complete set of Edwardian women’s underwear.

Intricate jet beading adorns the back of this purple silk velvet caplet from 1895.

Intricate jet beading adorns the back of this purple silk velvet caplet from 1895.

In less than two decades, the fashion history instructor from Fanshawe College
has grown his collection to include not only nightgowns and petticoats with fine needlepoint, but about 200 pieces that represent developments in women’s fashion from 1849 through to current day. A number from the Victorian era are on display in the 2015 Heritage Quilt Exhibit at Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church in Exeter until Saturday, April 18.

The oldest dress in his collection dates back to 1849, a woollen dress woven in a stripe design of blue and orange with silk fringe. It was donated by the

A woollen dress is woven in a stripe design of blue and orange with silk fringe.

A woollen dress is woven in a stripe design of blue and orange with silk fringe.

family of a woman who brought what would have been her best dress from England to Canada. Then there’s the two-piece cream pont d’esprit dinner dress he discovered crumpled in a box at a flea market at Christie’s. Taking a chance, he paid $20 for the small bundle and found the delicate dress was in perfect condition with a label from Toronto’s Wm Stitt & Co. (circa 1900), estimated to be worth as much as $700. Other dresses have come from eBay, flea markets, auctions and donations.

Joseph Hisey, dress collector and fashion history instructor.

Joseph Hisey, textile and vintage clothing collector and fashion history instructor.

“I swore I’d never collect dresses. Coins take up so much less space,” Joseph joked. He keeps about five dresses displayed on mannequins in his home, with the rest carefully wrapped in acid-free paper and boxes and stored away. From time to time, he invites friends to help him air out the dresses and refold them so that they don’t wear along a fold line. In return, he makes an event out of it, providing commentary on the history of the dresses.

World War I Red Cross quilt.

World War I Red Cross quilt.

The 95 quilts in the curated show also tell stories of the women who pieced and sewed them together, and of the people who were important in their lives.

Among the dozens upon dozens of quilts that hang from frames or dowels is one with rows of red crosses and more than 600 embroidered names on a white background, probably created to raise funds for the war efforts. Each cross has a piece of paper with a number pinned to it, which corresponds to numbers in a binder, listing the names associated with that cross. The quilt’s owners, Janis and Peter Bisback, bought it at a Clinton auction in the 1980s and believe it was fund-raising project of the Hillsgreen Church.

Grace Manson died of tuberculosis before she finished this quilt.

Grace Manson died of tuberculosis before she finished this quilt.

Another quilt of colourful fabrics that mimicked petalled flowers from fine porcelain plates was made by Grace Manson, intended as a wedding quilt. However, she contracted tuberculosis and called off the wedding, dying in 1939. The unfinished quilt was finally completed in the 1980s.

The show also features the quilt collection of Laurie and Susan Kraftcheck, of Exeter, and vintage hats of Lynn Wilcox.

What: 2015 Heritage Quilt Exhibit

Where: Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, 264 Main St. S., Exeter

When: It runs Friday, April 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, April 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Admission is $6. Lunch is available on site.

Funds raised at the quilt exhibit support the Bach Music Festival of Canada, with its 2015 Festival Season running from July 12 to 18. The season was recently announced and tickets are available online.

Date: Monday, July 13
Title: Back’s Goldberg Variations
Concert: Leopoldo Erice
Venue: Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church
Time: 8 p.m.
Tickets: $25 adults, $20 students
More information here.

Date: Tuesday, July 14
Title: Barn Dance Country Show
Venue: Festival Tent
Time: 8 p.m.
Tickets: $25 adults, $20 students
More information here.

Date: Wednesday, July 15
Title: Reverb Brass
Venue: Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church
Time: 8 p.m.
Tickets: $25 adults, $20 students
More information here.

Date: Thursday, July 16
Title: A Summer Evening
Concert: Bach Festival Chamber Choir and Orchestra
Venue: Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church
Time: 8 p.m.
Tickets: $25 adults, $20 students
More information here.

Date: Friday, July 17
Concert: Youth Arts Program Showcase
Venue: Festival Tent
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students
More information here.

Date: Saturday, July 18
Concert: St. Matthew Passion
Venue: South Huron Recreation Centre
Time: 7 p.m.
Tickets: $30 adults, $25 students
More information here.

There will also be a brown bag lunch series from Monday through Friday at noon at Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church.

Eddington’s of Exeter: These gourmet pizzas are way outside of the cardboard box

30 Mar

2015-03-26 20.58.51heather boaBy Diva Heather Boa

EXETER – To get the full experience, you should probably order all three wood oven gourmet pizzas that are offered on Thursday nights at Eddington’s of Exeter.

Maybe it means a few slices are boxed for late night snacking or breakfast, but if you don’t order all three, you’ll miss out on a unique taste experience.

For example, March 26 featured three pizzas: garlicky, bacon-riddled three-cheese with hunks of perogies; slices of tomatoes and pieces of meatballs in a punchy tomato sauce, topped with a glorious helping of mozzarella cheese and fresh basil, and; pieces of caramelized chicken and cinnamon-laced apple slices lying in a creamy layer of brie cheese.

The pizza, par cooked in a wood oven, is finished at a high temperature. Photos by James Eddington.

The pizza, par cooked in a wood oven, is finished at a high temperature. Photos by James Eddington.

The thin-crust pizza was just the right consistency of tender-chewy, which is an added bonus for me since I eat pizza with a knife and fork and it can be frustrating to try to cut through a crisp crust.

The consensus at my table was that the caramelized chicken, apple and brie pizza was the favourite, but the beauty of Gourmet Pizza Night at Eddington’s is there are three new offerings every Thursday night for eat-in or take-out. (To order all three is $47, including tax.)

We rolled into the restaurant a little late in the evening for the Huron County crowd, after finagling an 8:30 p.m. reservation, and were greeted at the door of this renovated century home by none other than chef James Eddington.

Without prompting, we hung our coats on the hooks at the end of the foyer, just as we would at home, and made our way through the restaurant, which is blocked off in rooms. (In the summer, they open a quiet patio at the back of the building.) At that time of night, there was just one other table, finishing off their dinner with a celebratory birthday sundae with a sparkler on top. Our waitress was efficient and casual, the feel of the restaurant was friendly and welcoming, and the atmosphere was quiet – which was surprising since that one nearby table of six was celebrating a birthday.

It’s a little bit formal with linens and heavy cutlery, but jeans and a nice shirt will get you through the door.

We didn’t even look at the menus, and ordered three 10-inch pizzas along with a couple pints of Honey Elixir from Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas. The strong, tasty brew paired nicely with the pizzas.

Chef James said he is working on a plan to offer only micro-brewed beers at his restaurant.

Now, I don’t want to leave people with the impression that Eddington’s is in the business only of making pizza.

Because that just isn’t so.

Chef James was carefully building lunch and dinner menus around local meat and produce long before the local food movement became a trend. His menu changes seasonally to reflect all that southwestern Ontario has to offer. For his efforts, Chef James was recently named Culinary Feature Artist and will be featured in the live auction at the annual Conservation Dinner hosted by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority on April 16.

“When James prepares a meal, it reflects much of the inspiration, creativity, expertise, and visual appeal found in paintings and visual art,” said Paul Anstett, Chairman of the Conservation Dinner Committee, in a press release.

For more information on dining in Huron County, please visit Ontario’s West Coast website.


Gourmet Pizza Night

Choose from three unique wood oven gourmet pizzas.

When: Every Thursday night

Where: 527 Main St., Exeter. Eat-in or take-out

Reserve:  By calling 519-235-3030

More information: Lunch 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; Dinner 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday Evenings; Closed Sunday/Monday

Email: wine@execulink.com

Driving distance:

From Seaforth: 25 minutes

From Bayfield: 30 minutes

From Masonville Mall, London: 30 minutes

From Goderich: 45 minutes

From Stratford: 40 minutes

Lunchtime organ concert runs Fridays through Lent

21 Feb

By Diva Heather Boa

EXETER – Close your eyes and you can hear the organist tease resonating notes from cool air on the finicky pipe organ or feel the sound vibrate through your seat and into your bones from the digital organ during a lunchtime concert in the sanctuary of Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church in Exeter.

Open your eyes and let the hymns by great composers such as Brahms, Handel and Bach become background music

Dr. Richard Heinzle, organist and music director of Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, hosts a lunchtime concert every Friday through Lent.

Dr. Richard Heinzle, organist and music director of Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, hosts a lunchtime concert every Friday through Lent.

to the sights in this magnificent church, built in 1888 and funded by Thomas Trivitt, Justice of the Peace in Huron County – the sun shining through stained glass scenes from the bible, Neo-Gothic architecture of tall narrow windows with pointed arches at the top and arched ceilings accentuated by wooden beams, the majestic bells that represent a full octave, which have temporarily been removed from the five-storey bell tower and line the church aisle.

It’s your choice how to best appreciate 40 minutes of organ music in the church sanctuary.

Every Friday until the end of Lent (the end of March), Trivitt’s organist and music director Dr. Richard Heinzle will present a lunchtime concert, inviting any and all to take a seat in pews usually reserved for the choir and enjoy their own brown bag lunch while he plays the pipe organ and the digital organ. (Just a note based on my own experience: A crunchy apple is probably not the best choice for lunch.)

Since early 2014, Richard has been music director and organist at Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church in Exeter and music director of the South Huron Community Choirs, part of outreach efforts by the church. He is also a board member of the Bach Music Festival of Canada, which will take place in Exeter this summer.

Richard introduces each hymn, telling us, for example, before he plays Bach’s Jesus, My Joy that most works were playbillimprovisational but the composer put together this piece in order to teach students how to improvise and to explore the different ways pieces could be put together.

There are just two visitors to this first concert, but Richard was undaunted and hopes word will spread and more cushions will be filled in the coming weeks.

He also wants people to know about the upcoming Hymn Sing Marathon planned for Saturday, Feb. 28 at the church. People are invited to drop anytime from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to make a cash or food donation to the Exeter and Area Community Food Bank and sing along as he plays through one verse of each song in the hymn book. He says many of the hymns in the Anglican hymn book are the same as in other hymn books, so you’ll be able to sing some familiar hymns as well as some new ones.

For more information on Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, visit this website.


2015022020organ4trivittLunchtime Organ Concert: If you go

What: Organ Concert At Lunch, a brown bag concert series

When: Every Friday through Lent, until March 27, starting at 12:15 p.m. and ending at 12:55 p.m.

Where: Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church’s sanctuary, 264 Main St. S., Exeter

How much: Goodwill offering. Suggested $5

What else: Dress warmly