Uplifting updates

Sally Cole
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Revisiting stories from 2013, including a new musical for Charlottetown, a seniors' woodworking class and a comedy CD about fishing


There’s laughter and the clinking of metal spoons as Shamrock Seniors Club members are served hot beverages before meeting Tina Davis, their woodworking instructor.

Between sips of tea and bites of muffin, Davis briefs them on the wooden items they will be creating in the weeks to come — a bean spoon, a loonie bank and a chopping board.

“We’re looking forward to making these projects. None of us have ever done anything like this before, so it’s a new adventure for us,” says Agnes MacDonald, club president.

For the instructor, there’s excitement as well.

This is the second class that Davis has given in her Stratford suburban workshop through the L.E.A.P. (Learning Elders Art Program). This time she will have 12 students, broken into two groups.

It’s funded by the P.E.I. Department of Tourism and Culture, under the direction of Robert Henderson and sponsored by the Shamrock Seniors Club.

Her first, which was with the Mayflower Seniors Club in Stratford,was profiled to Guardian readers late in the winter of 2013.

“The students were always enthused about their projects and they became quite comfortable using the machines. And they never seemed to want to take a break. They were always anxious to produce a perfect item and they did.

“Last year I had 25 students, and each of them went home with at least three finished products in a seven-week period. I doubt if any of these seniors will go out to buy any woodworking tool but they sure felt comfortable using the tools that were provided.”

Edith MacKenzie, who attended the L.E.A.P. workshop last year and now helps out on busy production days, feels positive about the skills that the women will receive.

“I am sure the gals will enjoy her classes and Tina’s graciousness as she welcomes them all to her home. My advice? Have fun and if you get stuck ask lots of questions. Everyone helps everyone out.”



There’s great news for fans of Anne & Gilbert: The Musical.

After the success of last year’s show, the musical is returning to Charlottetown. Once again, production members will transform The Guild into the Village of Avonlea in time for the 2014 season, which opens on June 17.

Executive producer Campbell Webster is thrilled with the announcement.

“We’re really happy about this. It was a fantastic season. Easily, it was one of the most popular shows on P.E.I. We sold nearly 17,000 tickets,” says Webster, noting that 80 per cent of people who came to see the 100-plus shows were from off Island.

So what’s the production’s secret?

“The reason the show is so authentic is all those kids on stage. They intuitively understand the story,” says Webster, who introduced his new-look show in The Guardian’s pages in mid-June of 2013.

Also, the company has always made a point of hiring locally.

“Between 80 and 90 per cent of the cast and crew are from P.E.I. As well, Anne & Gilbert has always been one part theatre school, warmly and lovingly offered by director Martha Irving and choreographer Brittany Banks,” he says.

However, the success of last year came with a challenge.

“We didn’t get a corporate sponsor. We got a lot of smaller sponsors, which is appreciated. And we’ve been talking to people but haven’t seen (anything) yet.

The production is also looking at selling Anne of Green Gables packages this year.

“It’s a way for people who love Anne to come here to see some major Anne attractions,” says Webster, adding the package, which includes tickets for Green Gables House, the Site of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish Home, Anne of Green Gables Museum, Avonlea Village, and Anne & Gilbert: The Musical, costs $57.



Good things continue to happen for King Fish Man a.k.a Timmy Cudmore who, after venturing into recording studio waters last year, released his five-track comedy EP this past spring.

After being featured in The Guardian, the Hampshire, P.E.I., resident, who is also a full-time truck driver, has gone on to find bigger fish to fry.

Cudmore now has a 15-song comedy album about trout fishing, all composed and sung by him, that is recorded and ready for a spring 2014 release.

“The songs have funny titles. One is called I Got My Worm Wet. Basically, it’s about what happens to the worm when I throw my line into the water. Here’s the chorus .... ‘I got my worm wet, no bites yet. He’s sinking to the bottom and the fish don’t want him,” says Cudmore, who has been prolific in penning songs about his pastime.

“Bobber is another. It’s about trying to land a fish so big that I can’t land my float. It’s got a rock beat to it,” says Cudmore, whose songs are available on iTunes.

His friend, David Musial, a recording engineer, musician and producer in New York City, is delighted with Cudmore’s latest catch.

“Fishing season starts April 1 in New York State. Ideally, he will have a show in Roscoe, New York, also known as Trout Town, U.S.A., with Joey Arminio and his eight-piece band.”

In keeping with the opening of the P.E.I. fishing season, Cudmore is forming the Timmy Cudmore Band with the hopes of having a kick-off show somewhere on P.E.I. on the night of April 15.

“This is to be determined. We will keep everyone updated about the event,” says Cudmore, whose style of comedy and music have been compared to Jimmy the Janitor.

As part of the promotion leading up to the launch of his new album, a video entitled O’le Fishmas Tree, will be released shortly on YouTube.

“I’m joined by Joey Arminio, an amazing saxophone player, and Carol Lester, who plays in a rock band. Shot by my son Brady, who was home over the holidays, in this video, the character, King Fish Man, gets his own Fishmas tree. It’s quite the laugh,” says Cudmore.

Organizations: L.E.A.P., PEI Department, Mayflower Seniors Club The Guild

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Stratford, Village of Avonlea

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