Winter Songs at the Old Hall

Winter Songs at the Old Hall
By Kim Barlow

Every few weeks the kids and I go for a drive across the province to see my parents, and along the way we pass several cute little wood-sided community halls. Some are decrepit and for sale, others are still in use, their signs announcing jam sessions and fundraisers. These little halls are cheap to rent, and cozy, and many have fully-equipped kitchens. After twenty years out west and up north, I notice the slower economy here has spared this province from a certain amount of the worst kind of development, like the sprawling vinyl suburbs racing over forest and farmland in other parts of the country. Combined with our larger rural population, it has kept these old halls from disappearing, and we are lucky for that. Putting on shows in community halls brings people together in a sweet old-fashioned way that needs to make a comeback, big-time. We get to be neighbourly, share experiences and music, get away from our screens for a spell, and celebrate the delicious food that is grown here.

Meagan and Jenny Osburn are a major engine of the Valley’s vitality. When they started the Union Street Cafe in Berwick, they attracted great music to the area and created a cultural hub that is still going strong. Now they have their own band, The Dearlies, and Jenny is writing cookbooks and advocating for healthy school lunch programs. These women are generous and inclusive community leaders, and I’m thrilled to be collaborating with them. On Saturday December 8, we’re hosting a Winter Song and Supper Social at the Gaspereau Community Hall, tucked away from the corporate Christmas onslaught. Singing is therapeutic, and this time of year can be hard. An article in Time magazine says that “in one study, singers were found to have lower levels of cortisol, indicating lower stress,” and that group singing “can produce satisfying and therapeutic sensations even when the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality.”

So sing loud, you’re among friends. Join The Dearlies, the Kim Barlow Band, and Ida Red, along with soup, chowder, and chili with ingredients from Taproot Farms, fresh-baked bread and desserts, and tea and coffee from Canning’s new Village Coffeehouse. Saturday December 8 at 3:30pm, at the Gaspereau Community Hall.

We hope you’ll come sing some old chestnuts with us at the hall.

(photo credit Jeff Dreves)