Blue Bird North Flies East

Justin Brake
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Ron Hynes hosts all-star celebration of song June 2

On June 2 St. John's will join Winnipeg, Ottawa and Vancouver in celebrating "A Day of Song" to commemorate the Songwriters Association of Canada's (SAC) 25th anniversary.

The four cities, each representing a region of the country, will host a "Bluebird North" songwriters' showcase featuring established and emerging local musicians. In St. John's those artists are Maureen Ennis, Amelia Curran, Mark Bragg and Ron Hynes.

Top photo, Ron Hynes. Bottom photos from left, Amelia Curran, Mark Bragg and Maureen Ennis.

On June 2 St. John's will join Winnipeg, Ottawa and Vancouver in celebrating "A Day of Song" to commemorate the Songwriters Association of Canada's (SAC) 25th anniversary.

The four cities, each representing a region of the country, will host a "Bluebird North" songwriters' showcase featuring established and emerging local musicians. In St. John's those artists are Maureen Ennis, Amelia Curran, Mark Bragg and Ron Hynes.

With regular Bluebird events taking place in Vancouver and Toronto, the association "felt it was time to reach the far edges of the East and get something happening in St. John's," says event co-ordinator Andrea Monro.

British Columbia-based musician Shari Ulrich has been running Bluebird shows in Vancouver every few months since 1996, "and the reception has been amazing," Monro explains.

"Her main mandate was to try and get (the shows) out of the bars and more accessible for people who wouldn't necessarily go to a club for music."

Hynes, no stranger to both songwriters circles and bar shows, will host the event and seems enthusiastic when asked about the opportunity for local talent to express themselves in a more intimate setting.

"It gives performers a chance to present material that they would not normally do in (bars and pubs)," he says. "They may reach for something that's a little more introspective, a little quieter and personal maybe, rather than have to please a loud drinking crowd."

Monro feels the events will be warmly welcomed by members of the St. John's music community and hopes fans and listeners will be equally as excited.

"(The SAC) knows the calibre of songwriters in the province, so I think they just felt it was time to get something going and to promote some interest as well ... creating more interest in the community toward events like songwriters' circles."

Interestingly, one of the intended goals of the St. John's Bluebird North events is to bring together songwriters of various musical backgrounds. Where songwriters' circles typically feature folk musicians, Monro hopes having people like Bragg, known for his high-intensity rock shows, will become characteristic of future events.

"They're all different, which is really important because people think for the songwriting circles it's going to be a folk singer-songwriter thing," she explains, referring to the June 2 roster. "But it's not. We want to get all sorts (of music) like rock, alternative - everyone."

Hynes, a former vice-president of the SAC's board of directors and current member of the advisory board, says the association's increased presence in St. John's, via the events, should also help bring attention to local songwriters nationally.

"It's the national songwriter's association, so just the fact that (local artists) get to participate - it kind of elevates their status in the community and in the country.

"The SAC is just a great help to everybody. It's an excellent networking situation."

Monro expects a good turnout for the first event of the series and says The Masonic Temple will be home to future Bluebird events.

But for now she seems keen on getting word out about what the gathering entails.

"It's not planned or scripted, so you have no idea what's going to happen," she explains. "The emphasis for the songwriters is to speak about how the song came about, how they wrote it, a little bit about the process. Usually the Bluebirds end up being really funny. Ron's hosting and he's fabulous at hosting these things."

The Bluebird North St. John's show will take place June 2 at The Masonic Temple. The cost of admission is $12 ($10 for SAC members), and the start time is yet to be determined.

For more information and updates, visit www.songwriters.ca.

Organizations: Songwriters Association of Canada, Blue Bird

Geographic location: St. John's, Vancouver, Winnipeg Ottawa Toronto

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