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Elly on the Arts: Teeing up what’s coming next

There is another terrific weekend of music coming up just in time for Valentine’s Day, right here in our own hometown.

There is another terrific weekend of music coming up just in time for Valentine’s Day, right here in our own hometown. Ken Hamm, a splendid player of blues music, will be in the area for the weekend and will perform a concert at Johnny’s Social Club Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. The last visit from Hamm also included a blues guitar workshop in Johnny’s on Saturday afternoon which was wonderful, so with some luck, that will happen again.

Johnny’s Social Club is a terrific setting for these kinds of events, almost as good as a house concert venue, but for a player of Hamm’s incredible ability, you almost need the R.H. Channing Auditorium. He is powerful and commands his instrument - it’s like getting hit by a freight train. We use that metaphor meaningfully, as hearing Ken Hamm live is a long, rumbling experience, not something you can shake off and walk away from.

The R.H. Channing Auditorium will be the site of Local Roots in support of the Aqua Centre fundraising drive on Feb. 15. Ann Ross and Doug McGregor have done a stellar job of nurturing this group of local performers but they hardly need it anymore. Of course, we still benefit from their caring attitude when a new or a young performer takes to the stage. Ann and Doug are still right there, alongside if necessary, to encourage them through the jitters and the nerves to fantastic performances.

The local musicians involved this time around include Kevin Allen and Megan Reimer, Ron Burwash, Colin Davis, Holly Freeborn, Jake and Friede Reimer, Harold Romo, Mary Lou Spooner, John Taylor and... Kermit the Frog! OK, Kermit is not local, but this is a family-friendly show and he is sure to go over big time with the small set.

There will be a silver collection with a suggested donation of $10 to cover admission with tea, coffee and juice available. You can bring your own hors d’oeuvres and though there is no contest per se, your trusty columnist will be on hand to sample all fare. There will also be a penny parade to assist with the fundraising effort.

This fundraising event is in its third year and has raised thousands of dollars towards building a new pool for our communities. Perhaps with renewed impetus from the City of Flin Flon, work can begin soon on the building designs and Local Roots can utilize their talents to support other worthy causes in the area.

On Feb. 10, representatives of the Manitoba Arts Council will be in Flin Flon for a short time to explain their grant process to local artists. They will cover all of the types of grants - rural, northern and Indigenous artists are eligible for and do their best to explain the application process which can be somewhat daunting for less tech-savvy individuals. The MAC staffers will be at NorVA and it might be useful for artists of every persuasion to come and meet them. Contact Karen Clark at NorVA for more information at 204-687-4237.

‘Til next time - hope the weather holds.