Music In Communities: Summer Music

Kim Barlow

Music In Communities is a non-profit cooperative that advocates for music literacy, engagement and inclusivity in rural Nova Scotia. We’re getting ready to bring loads of music your way this summer!

First, we’d like to introduce our two awesome Canada Summer Jobs employees, Maisie and Reuben Gilbert. They’re young, but they bring a lot of skill and experience to the positions. Reuben just finished his second year at Acadia University in the School of Music and Maisie will begin studies post-pandemic. They have won awards with their family band, The Gilberts, (with brother Frieden) and have accumulated an impressive amount of experience teaching music, leading ensembles, choral conducting, and more. They plan to share the two jobs we hired them for, with Reuben focusing mainly on running the Canning Kitchen Party series and Maisie running ukulele groups, community singalongs, pop-up choirs, songwriting sessions, and rock camp! We are pretty thrilled to have found such a perfect match for our programs, and can’t wait to put these talents to work in our community.

We will be running weekly ukulele groups for kids and adults in Kentville and Wolfville. We’re hosting inclusive movement and music sessions with the Kentville Recreation Department. Canning Recreation is sponsoring our jam sessions on Saturdays, co-hosting a rock camp for teens, and ukulele at their day camp programs. There will also be some outdoor pop-up choir and community singalongs over the summer, so keep an eye out for them, and contact your local rec department to sign up. It’s been a long stretch with not nearly enough singing together!

We hired one other student this summer, Eli Dunlap, who will be hosting a Trans- and Queer-friendly drop-in music session for youth ages 11-17, in collaboration with the Deep Roots Music Cooperative and the Town of Wolfville. Eli will be joined by guest musicians to work on songwriting, ukuleles, and other music based on the kids’ interests. Ukuleles and other instruments will be provided as needed at all our programs.

Back in April, we optimistically posted a call for submissions to musicians for our third Canning Kitchen Party series. There was a great response! We are well aware this has been a hard 16 months for musicians, and opportunities to perform have been sparse, so we’ve done our best to make space for everyone to play. From July 3 to Labour Day weekend, we will have two performers each Saturday from 1-3 pm, in the gazebo at Bruce Spicer Park on Main Street in Canning. We also know how much people have missed playing music together in a less formal way, so we’re hosting an outdoor, socially-distanced jam session after the shows each week. Reuben will lead the way, and make sure everyone is welcomed and included. We love these jams, because people with all kinds of musical interests and abilities show up and find ways to make it work. You never know what will happen but it’s always magic.

Last year we had most of our shows at the pavilion at Kingsport Beach. It was a beautiful venue to listen to songs by the seaside. From 1-3pm on high-tide Sunday afternoons there will be two performers sharing a show. Lunch at the Tides-In Canteen, great local music, and a swim. Perfect Sunday!

The planning doesn’t stop there. We’re also co-hosting some events with other venues, like Taproot Farm, for sweet summer evenings of music, delicious jerk pork and corn, and socially-distanced dancing amongst the lush green fields and tunnels. This year we’re bringing Jah’Mila here with her eight-piece reggae band! And of course a return visit from the Mark Riley Project for two nights in August. These shows will sell out so get your tickets fast. There are other events in the works so visit for updates, and follow us on social media, @musicincommunities. Of course, to fund all of these activities, we rely a lot on sponsors. Our website has info on how to get involved and be a part of bringing music to our community. We can’t wait to share this musical summer with you!

Canning Kitchen Party Saturdays (details may change!)
July 3 Jack MacDonald + tba
July 10 Morgan Davis + Jenny Lapp
July 17 Terra Spencer + Museum Pieces
July 24 Big Turnips + Kim Lake
July 31 Sam Wilson + Gizelle de Guzman
Aug. 7 Factory Girls + Brian Passmore
Aug. 14 Guy Paul Thibault + The Jungernauts
Aug. 21 Norma MacDonald + tba
Aug. 28 Amy Lounder & Jude Pelley Stringband + Sarah McInnis
Sept. 4 The Gilberts + guests

Kingsport Beach Sundays
July 11 Kristen Martell + Graham Nicholas
July 25 Nick Maclean + Rebecca Fairless
Aug. 8 Ted Simmons + Paul Lauzon
Aug. 22 Heather Kelday + Corey Isenor
Sept. 5 Mike Aubé + Lindsay Misiner

Taproot Farm Dance
Jah’Mila Saturday July 31
Mark Riley Project Friday Aug. 20 & Aug. 21
Food 6:30, Music 7 – 9pm
Tickets $20 (for music only) on sale soon

Big Summer Singalong
Aug. 20, 6:30pm Kentville, Town Square

Pop Up Choir
July 23 & Aug. 27, 6:30pm, Wolfville, Clock Park

Photo: Maisie and Reuben Gilbert, courtesy of Kim Barlow.