Meeting Minutes - Katherine Wheatley: A Career in Folk Music - Feb. 2nd. 2018
This meeting was held at Trinity United Church with33 members present. Past-President John Proctor opened the meeting and welcomed all present along with today’s presenter, Katherine Wheatley.
Activities – David Wallace (reported for Ray Biffis) - There are several activities being planned including for the year including a night at Elora Raceway, a Grand River Boat Cruise, a tour of a Guelph Firehouse. Details to come. - The Valentines Dinner at the Mandarin Restaurant on February 14th, cost is $26 per person and sign-up sheets are on the welcome table.
Coffee Club - Meets at the Symposium and Air Park Café on alternate Thursdays.
Kerry Gennings introduced today’s presenter, Katherine Wheatley. Kerry has attended many musical performances of Katherine over the last 15 years. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Katherine Wheatley mines heartache as well as the landscape and character of her northern Ontario roots to produce lyrical and melodic gold. Like one of her earliest influences, Gordon Lightfoot, she invokes nature to reflect the emotional intent of her songs. In addition to touring across Canada, the U.S. and Europe as a solo singer/songwriter, she is a member of the Toronto Supergroup "Betty and The Bobs", plays regularly in the hilarious and moving duo "Wendell and Wheat" and tours with Jude Vadala and Tannis Slimmon in the trio "Boreal". Katherine is in high demand for her innovative songwriting and music workshops. She's written and recorded over 200 songs with kids through her Youthsongs Programme.
Katherine Wheatley - "A Career in Folk Music" Following a few brief introductory comments Katherine opened by playing a couple of songs.
Katherine told how she began with the love music and writing songs for herself and eventually singing and playing for others. But to make a career of doing this she realized that she needed to diversify in order to earn more money and this made her career much more interesting. She said the music is the fire that drives the engine and if she doesn’t do enough music then everything else falls apart. She learned that the most important part of music is sharing it with people and encouraging them to participate in it. She does song writing workshops and working on leading choirs where she gets kids to write songs and participate in choirs. She gets more joy from doing that than she does from performing. She believes that music is a healer.
Katherine showed some slides of her doing some workshops with kids in some Toronto schools. She had performed for these kids and had played on the “Six-String-Nation-Guitar. This unique guitar is one made from famous artifacts of Canada. Katherine enjoyed writing songs with the aid of school children using their imaginations. In one school there were children who among them spoke 19 different languages.
Katherine is one of the leads for the Women’s Music Retreat that is held yearly at Loyala House at the St. Ignatius Center. Another lead is Jane Lewis from Guelph and she and Katherine do a lot of choirs together. Katherine also does a lot of music retreats at Loyala House at St. Ignatius along with James Gordon. Katherine also goes to Haliburton every year to give a song writing course at the high school.
Katherine does a lot of recording doing back-up vocals for other artists such as Tannis Slimmon who is a co-performer in the group “Boreal.” Another musician that Katherine performs regularly with is Wendell Ferguson who is a seven-time award winning Canadian Country Music Association guitar player of the year and he has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
In the summer and fall Katherine plays on a ship in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. She does a lot of tribute shows and one of her favourites is a Gordon Lightfoot tribute. She also plays with a group called “Betty and the Bobs” in which the other performers are accomplished musical artists in their own right.
Katherine told us that she was hired on a cruise ship to Antarctica to perform but part of the reason she was hired was that she is multi-talented because she is able to drive a Zodiac which was necessary to ferry people back and forth between land and the ship.
Katherine concluded her presentation by answering questions about the guitar that she had made specially for her.
Following Katherine Wheatley’s presentation John Proctor gave her a token of appreciation from the Club.
Next meeting: Thurs. February 22nd. - Mark Robinson - "Chasing Storms"