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The Chair Walk, Merritt BC

July 10, 2019 to August 7, 2019

“Chairs like you have never seen before”

Art in Merritt BC. Art in Merritt comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. There are art galleries for you to enjoy, craft markets where many different artists participate, as well as, various venues with live entertainment. Locals and visitors will also enjoy the “Chair Walk”, the latest addition to the art experience while exploring Merritt BC Canada.

How does the Chair Walk Work?

The Chair Walk is modeled after a self-guided walking tour. Many communities provide self guided art walks including Merritt and the Nicola Valley. The Chair Walk will soon be one of the many art experiences to enjoy alongside the Merritt Murals, Walk Of Stars and many others.

However, one should know, the Chair Walk is different than many other art exhibits because it is a fund raiser for the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council and the Nicola Valley Community Theatre Society . The Chair Walk has some unique twists and turns that are not found in your every-day conventional Art Walk. It will be well worth the walk.

The Chair Walk is an army of community minded artists coming together for a good cause by donating their time and talents to producing some amazing art creations in the form of chairs.  While the basis of the work is a common chair, there is nothing common about the finished results. But hold on! That is all we can tell you about it right now because it is a surprise. You will have to come to Merritt BC Canada this summer and take the walking tour to see the collection of creative chair masterpieces.

What will the chairs look like?

The Business Community is on board.

Of course, all this effort by the artists would be for naught if the businesses did not see this as a valuable event, not only for themselves, but for the whole town in fostering art in Merritt. You will find that the interesting thing is the large variety of businesses involved.  There are flower shops, restaurants, auto parts dealers, a bike shop, sportswear, gift shops and many others for you to visit. All with their own versions of chair art.

Making Money for Art in Merritt, BC

Whereas the artists and business are crucial, you will be the ones to determine the success of this event.

Each chair will be the subject of a silent auction 

However, if you are not going to bid on a chair you can still help the cause. Each chair will have a piggy bank placed nearby where you can make a donation.  As a side note, the banks are fun to see as they come in all sizes and shapes too.

“Families, children, teens, seniors, singles, tourists, and couples are all encouraged to support this event as it will not only be a fun summer activity but also help make Merritt become a better community in which to live.” says Team Leader for the Chair Project, Shirley

Inviting Store Front promoting Art in Merritt

Art in Merritt is worth the effort

The Chair Walk will give you a great introduction to our wonderful little City.  While you travel to each venue you will pass by other attractions that might interest you,  such as the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

In addition,  if you are into museums visit the Nicola Valley Museum and Archives.  You will find great information on the local history including the Indigenous peoples of the region.  You can also take in the many murals of the country stars that have played at our annual summer music fest. 

The Merritt Murals are another example of art in Merritt that is on public display. There are said to around 20+ murals depicting country music stars. All painted by Michelle Loughery.

Accommodations Galore!

While experiencing the Chair Walk you may find time flies by fast.  There are fifteen art sites spread out around town. Therefore, if you are from out of town you will want to consider staying over night. Accommodations in Merritt are varied from first class hotels to camping in the wilderness.

What to expect with art in Merritt

You will see some amazing creations, you will feel the small town experience and you could win a prize at the same time.  Just get your passport stamped at all fifteen venues and you will be entered into the draw. You will walk away feeling proud that you participated in the Chair Walk  in Merritt.

Chair Walk – Art in Merritt BC Canada

Merritt Murals

Downtown Walking Tour Merritt Murals

Featured Country Music Musician : Carrie Underwood

“Singing is just a feeling set to music.” Carrie Underwood

Let me introduce you to Carrie Underwood – a featured country music artist and Merritt BC Mural. The Nicola Valley murals are located in the “Canadian Country Music Capital of Canada”, which we all know as Merritt BC Canada. Welcome!

This current walking tour mural initiative is a group effort between Experience Nicola Valley and Canadian Country Music Hall of FameCarrie Underwood, a featured Merritt BC Mural,  got her start in the country music industry after winning American Idol in 2005. As a result of her win, Carrie rocketed up the popularity charts and quickly became one of the biggest country music stars worldwide.

Merritt BC Murals Carrie Underwood

Michelle Bacon (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

American Idol

After her win on the show American Idol Carry released her first album, “Some Hearts”. As a result the album soared up the charts and became a multi-platinum success. Subsequently, the country music album won numerous awards including a Grammy, as well as, awards from the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.

In 2008 Carrie was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and has co-hosted the CMA Awards alongside Brad Paisley every year since then.

In 1991 her single “Inside your Heaven” eclipsed the top of the pop billboard charts. Consequently, her second single “Jesus Take the Wheel” also reached top honors on the country billboard charts. Her songs won AMC and CMA awards for Single of the Year. She also won Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best New Artist at the Grammy’s!

2007 Carrie won a couple more Grammy’s for her single “Before he Cheats”. That same year she released another country music album “Carnival Ride” which had several number one chart topping hits like “All American Girl” and “Last Name”.

“Carrie Underwood currently holds the American Idol record for highest selling album sales in the United States with over 13 million copies sold.”

 

Carrie Underwood Induction into Grand Ole Opry

To many in the country music industry it is a dream to become part of the Grand Ole Opry. Likewise, it was no different for Underwood.  Carrie was honored to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry by Garth Brooks in 2008.  In short, this honour, recognized her as the youngest person to ever receive this prestigious honour.

2009-2012

Underwood won another Grammy in 2009 for her song “Last Name”. Just before the CMA’s that year she released her next album “Play On.” The result earned her some chart topping singles including “Cowboy Casanova” “Temporary Home” and “Undo it.”

May of 2012 she released another mind blowing chart topper “Blown Away.” This sold more than 1.4 million copies over one year. The album “Blown Away” also produced other hits including “Good Girl” and “Two Black Cadillacs”

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

2013-2017

Carrie Underwood’s interest goes beyond country music. In 2013 she took over from Faith Hill performing the weekly Sunday Night Football theme song “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night.” Underwood then went on to do other work in TV like the live retelling of “The Sound of Music.”

In 2014 Carrie went on to release her greatest hits album entitled “Decade #1.” Her new song on the album, “Something in the Water”, earned her another Grammy for Best Solo Country Artist.

“Storyteller” her next studio album was released in 2015. In this album there were some hits like “Smoke Break” as well as “Heart Beat”, “Church Bells” and “Dirty Laundry”. It was soon after, in 2016, that Carrie kicked off her Storyteller Tour.

A Bounce Back  For Carrie Underwood

The Oklahoma Hall of Fame inducted Carrie in November of 2017 after her tour ended and the CMA’s were finished. Just two days after the CMA Awards, Carrie fell outside her home. At first it was reported that she had suffered a broken wrist and some cuts and abrasions. However, it was later discovered she received 40-50 stitches to her face.

Although it took some time to heal she was soon back in the spotlight. April 15, 2018 she was back on stage performing her new song “Cry Pretty” at the ACM Awards. It was such a powerful performance. As a result of her performance she received a standing ovation from the audience.

A Star Was Born – The Younger Years

Carrie Underwood was born on March 10, 1983 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Carrie was raised on her family’s farm and, to this day, holds very fond memories of her time on the farm.

“Growing up in the county, I enjoyed things like playing on dirt roads, climbing trees, catching little woodland creatures and, of course singing.” Carrie Underwood

Underwood attended Northeastern State University after graduating from high school. Carrie majored in broadcast journalism and not singing as she decided to put it on hold. But that did not last long. It was during her senior year in 2004 that she decided to try out for American Idol.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Later Years – Family Life

On July 10, 2010 Carrie married professional hockey player Mike Fisher. She and Mike announced the would be welcoming their first child in 2015. Aug 2018 Carrie announced they were expecting their second child.

“Mike, Isaiah and I are absolutely over the moon and excited to be adding another fish to our pond.” Carrie Underwood

Merritt BC Murals

In 2007 Carrie Underwood came to Merritt BC Canada and played on the main stage of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival (now called the Rockin’ River Music Fest). During that year the Carrie Underwood  Merritt BC Mural was painted. It is located at 2101 Quilchena Ave in Merritt BC Canada.

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery.

Downtown Attractions

Merritt BC Canada is home of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s a must to put on your list of places to check out. The Hall of Fame has many great attractions and items that have been donated by various country music stars and industry insiders.

Downtown Merritt has a bevvy of small coffee shops and restaurants. Have a bite to eat at one of our great eating establishments. Looking for gifts and souvenirs? I would suggest taking a browse through any of the many local shops. Many of them feature some amazing products from our local artisans.

I hope you enjoy the Carrie Underwood – Merritt BC Mural and have a look at others via walking and scanning the QR Codes to read about each star. These Murals are truly an amazing outdoor art exhibit.

For more on Carrie Underwood you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and her website here.

Downtown Walking Tour Merritt Murals

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** Information resources include Carrie Underwood website, Wikipedia and social media pages.

Merritt Murals in the Nicola Valley

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Merle Haggard Country Music Artist & Musician 

“I’m just writin’ about my little ol’ love affair,” Merle Haggard.

Merritt Mural Digital Walking Tour with the Legendary Merle Haggard. Merle was well known for his rough edge sound. It was a new sound which caught the attention of the executives in Nashville. Complimented by the unique sound of his steel guitar his vocal style of music more than words got plenty of attention from the country music industry. This was apparent when Merle Haggard rocked the stage at the Merritt Country Music Fest in Merritt BC Canada in 2003 (now the Rockin’ River Country Music Festival).

Merle Haggard

Tania Stewart (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

A Country Music Merritt Mural Icon

Lets be clear here… Merle Haggard remains, to this day, one of the best-known and most covered artists in country music history. Secondly, his influence on country music has earned him a spot on a Merritt Mural located in Merritt BC Canada, the Canadian Country Music Capital of Canada.

Most importantly it is a pleasure to meet you! And thank you for the QR download. Pretty cool right! As a result of your download we should really get back to Merle’s story.

Merle Haggard Comes Out Flying

“Momma Tried”  written and recorded by American country music artist Merle Haggard and The Strangers. Released in July 1968 as the first single and title track from the album “Mama Tried”. The song became one of the cornerstone songs of his career in which Merle won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.

Interesting Facts about Merle Haggard

  • Firstly Merle Haggard holds the record for most #1 country singles after Conway Twitty.
  • Between 1963 and the mid 80’s,  hardly a year went by that Merle didn’t produce a single hit.
  • 38 No 1 hits, 250 original songs, nearly 70 albums.
  • Known to be called the “Poet Laureate” of the hard hats. Merle was made for cowboy hats!

Most Recognized Merle Haggard Country Music Songs

In short Merle Haggard was widely known for these songs…

  • “Okie from Muskogee”
  • “Mama Tried”
  • “Today I Started Loving You Again”
  • “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive”
  • “The Frighten Side of  Me”
  • “Someday We’ll Look Back” (1971)
  • “If We Make It Through December” (1974)
  • “A Working Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today” (1977)

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Interesting Facts About Merle Haggard

  • “The Hag” was his nickname.
  • Johnny Cash made his legendary 1959 performance at San Quentin Prison resulting in Merle having front row seats.
  • A duet with Clint Eastwood “Bar Room Buddies” released April 1980.
  • Ronald Reagan governor of California 1972 officially pardoned Merle.
  • Four out of 6 of children are gifted country singers who inherited their fathers natural talent. Ben Haggard being one of the most recognized.
  • Older brother Lowell gave Merle his first used guitar. Merle taught himself to play.
  • In the beginning Merle worked during the day and played  guitar at the local bars at night.
  • Merle Haggard [Platinum Disc] (2007).
  • Haggard’s signature song and his most controversial recording, “Okie from Muskogee”.
  • Elected into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 1977.
  • In 1994,  an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

To see all his awards you can go to “Academy of Country Music” and “Country Music Association

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Merle Ronald Haggard –  April 6,1937 – April 6,2016

Merle’s Early Life Of Crime

Born during the great depression, the youngest son of three, Merle grew up in a converted railroad box as a home.  With the death of his father in 1945,  Merle developed into a rebellious child committing a number of minor offenses as a teen. Truancy and passing phony checks  subsequently landed him in a juvenile detention centre. Life started on the wrong foot.

Then came married life. Suffering from financial issues, Merle attempted to rob a roadhouse bar resulting in a jail sentence in San Quentin prison in 1958 at the age of 20. There is a story that Merle, at one time,  was conspiring with a fellow inmate named “Rabbit” to stage a prison break. Fortunately Merle backed out. He soon found out later that Rabbit was sentenced to death after killing a police officer during his escape. Rabbit inspired Merle to make changes in his life.

“We need to have music that contributes to the well-being of the spirit. Music that cradles people’s lives and makes things a little easier. That’s what I try to do, and what I want to do. You don’t want to close the door on hope,” Merle Haggard.

Later In Life – Times Are A Changing For Merle

After his release from San Quentin State Prison in 1960, Merle returned to Bakersfield, where he sang and played guitar in the honky-tonks of “Beer Can Hill,”  the city’s country music scene.  In 1962, he signed with a small label called Tally Records, for whom he recorded five songs, including his debut single “Sing a Sad Song,” which rose to No. 19 on the country charts.

Motivation Behind Country Music Lyrics

Resulting from his life experiences Merle told his story with song and music. Often described as an intense dedicated artist who wrote and performed traditional country songs.

“I’ve never been a guy that can do what people told me…. It’s always been my nature to fight the system.” Merle Haggard.

Merritt BC Canada Murals

The Merritt Mural Project started in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Muralist Michelle Loughery painted this Merritt Mural.

In Conclusion

After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 1998, Merle underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Reflecting on the situation, he referred to it as “the greatest test of my fortitude.” However,  following a speedy recovery, Haggard returned to touring and writing songs.

Sadly on April 6,2016 Haggard passed away at his Northern California Ranch. It is reported by family and friends Merle had stated that he would  die on his 79th birthday.

Get more Merle on his website.

Merritt Murals and Downtown Walking Tour

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Merritt BC Murals – Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Featured Country Music Musician : Carolyn Dawn Johnson

“I’m going for the big picture” Carolyn Dawn Johnson

The Merritt BC Murals attraction includes Canadian country music singer Carolyn Dawn Johnson. She is one of  25 + Canadian Country Music Murals located throughout the community of Merritt, BC, Canada in the Nicola Valley. But here, at this mural in front of you,  I am going to tell you a little about Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

Carolyn Dawn Johnson – Merritt BC Murals

Carolyn Dawn Johnson played at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival (now called the Rockin’ River Country Music Fest) in 2002 and again in 2006. Johnson was born and raised in Alberta, Canada. At the age of 5 she was singing in church and started taking piano lessons from the pastors wife.

At one point in her life she steered away from country music. But luckily for country music fans, Carolyn finally found her way back to the stage and calls that period of her life, that hiatus from country music, “a stain in her heart”.

country music mural Carolyn Dawn Johnson Merritt BC

Michelle Bacon (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

The Songs Of A Canadian Country Singer

Many a country music fan of Carolyn Dawn Johnson know her best for her songs like “Complicated”, “Georgia”, and “I don’t want you to go”.

Carolyn also has two children, Abigail and Bennett. In one of Carolyn’s videos you can watch as she and her daughter Abigail sing a duet (story book style) that she wrote with Stella ladies.

Life Of Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Carolyn Dawn Johnson was born on April 30, 1971 in Grand Prairie Alberta. She had many influences growing up. Her parents would play country music records while later in life she listened to many other artists and genres. Some included ABBA, Fleetwood Mac, Charley Pride and Marty Stewart.

At 5 years old she started taking piano lessons from the pastors wife at her church. Then in high school she learned to play the flute, saxophone and clarinet. Because her teacher Evangeline Theissen kept sending her books about piano, she continues to play the keys with passion.

High School And Beyond

Although she took music in high school, her teachers were not very encouraging. She then turned to science. After graduation she attended Trinity Western University in Langley, BC studying biology. The following year she returned to Alberta, Canada and specialized in education.

Night Clubs

While attending collage she frequently went to the local clubs and sat in with some of the featured bands.  It was while playing with the local bands that her confidence grew on stage and in her talents. The bands, watching her perform on stage night in and night out, encouraged her to get back into music. It was then that she realized that her true calling was country music.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Country Music Education

Carolyn, realizing that country music was her future, decided to pursue an education in the production of music. She enrolled in Vancouver’s Columbia Academy and learned the technical aspects of the music industry. While learning song writing from a video she purchased she wrote songs in her spare time. It was also at this time Johnson joined the Nashville Songwriters Association International.

Nashville Is Calling Carolyn Dawn Johnson

“I’m going for the big picture”  Carolyn Dawn Johnson

This quote was said to her mother during a phone call in 1994. It was then she moved to Nashville. On her arrival  in Nashville, Tennessee Carolyn began to seek out and attend song writing workshops. In 1998 everything changed. It was then she signed with Patrick Joseph Music as a songwriter. Her demos captured the attention of some amazing artists like Jo Dee Messina, Patty Loveless, Mindy McCready, Chely Write among others.

Big Break Writing

Carolyn Dawn Johnson’s big break came in 1999 with “Single White Female”. Johnson co-wrote the song “Single White Female” with Shaye Smith and, ultimately, Chely Write ended up recording the song. This song became her first #1 hit as a song writer. The momentum continued when Jo Dee Messina recorded  another of Carolyn’s songs called “Downtime” which became a top #5 hit.

Music Row Magazine named Carolyn Dawn Johnson “Breakthrough Song Writer of the Year” in 2000.

Country Music Starts On The Road

In 1999 Carolyn started her country music solo career. Martina McBride asked Carolyn to go on tour with her as a back up singer and guitarist. While on tour with Martina, Carolyn worked on her own songs for her debut album.

 Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Photo Credit :Carolyn Dawn Johnson Facebook

2001

In 2001 the doors continued to open for Carolyn Dawn Johnson. She opened for stars like Sara Evens, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire and Jamie O’Neil while on the Girls Night Out Tour.

Later in 2001 Johnson released her debut album “Room with a View” in Canada. An American release followed soon after. Selling almost 18,000 copies in the first week it became Nashville’s highest debuting album by an new artist. “Room with a View” became Certified Gold in Canada a few months later.

By the end of 2001 Carolyn Dawn Johnson had received 10 nominations from the Canadian Country Music Association. She went on to win 5 of those awards including Female Artist Of The Year.

2002

2002 Carolyn went on tour with Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney. She won a Juno award for “Best Country Artist”. Another award won by Johnson that year was “Top New Female Artist’ by the Academy of Country Music.

2003-2005

Carolyn went on a co-heading tour in 2003 with Keith Urban. While on tour she wrote songs for her next album “Dress Rehearsal”,  released in 2004. Later that year she received seven CCMA (Canadian Country Music Association) award nominations and won 5.

In 2005, Carolyn Dawn Johnson left Artisa Nashville stating “what they wanted me to do is not who I am.”

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

2006 – 2009

By 2006 she released her third album “Love and Negotiation” under Angeline Entertainment, a Canadian record label. At the CCMA awards in 2007 Carolyn was named “Female Vocalist of the Year”. Love & Negotiation was eventually released in the US by Dancing Lily Music, on October 13, 2009.

2010 – 2013

Johnson released a single “Let me Introduce Myself” from her next upcoming album “Love Rules”. The Album Love Rules was released on July 21, 2010 in the US and on Aug 10, 2010 it was released in Canada. Carolyn received “Female Artist of the Year” and “Album of the Year” for her Love Rules album. She also received “Female Artist of the Year” in both 2012 and 2013.

Recent years

Carolyn has been involved with another band JD & The Straight Shot. She started touring with them in 2018 and in 2019 became an official member of the band. They have just released an new album “The Great Divide” You can check out a live stream of the new album here.

Merritt’s Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame

Merritt BC is the Country Music Capital of Canada. Downtown Merritt BC Canada is home of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame, the “Merritt Murals”, and the “Walk of Stars” have transformed Downtown Merritt BC into the largest country music art gallery you will ever have the pleasure of  experiencing in Canada.

Take a selfie with your favorite country music artists and send them to us at @experiencenicolavalley on social media. Another Merritt BC Canada Attraction is the Walk of Stars.  There are 100+ hand prints and even one foot print that have been cast in bronze for prosperity located throughout the community of Merritt BC Canada. Do you know who the foot print belongs to?

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery.  You can find the Carolyn Dawn Johnson – Merritt BC Mural at 1701 Voght Street which is the Home Hardware building.

For more info and stories about the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame – Merritt BC Murals please go to Experience Nicola Valley.

Say hi on social media and let Carolyn Dawn Johnson know you saw her on Experience Nicola Valley. Better yet send her a selfie of you with her mural here in Merritt BC. Carolyn Dawn Johnson can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Merritt BC Murals – Carolyn Dawn Johnson

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Merritt BC Canada Murals

Tanya Tucker – Merritt BC Murals

Find Tanya Tucker in Spirit Square in the Center of Our Town!

 “I know I’ve found…A place in space where I belong” Tanya Tucker

 

Merritt BC Canada Murals – Tanya Tucker made it center stage not only in major music venues around the world for decades, but right here in outdoor small town BC. Tanya Tucker’s visage is on display right in the middle of our town in Spirit Square, a place often filled with live music. Tanya’s flowing hair and engaging smile attracts a lot of attention, from locals and visitors alike.

Merritt BC is the Country Music Capital of Canada, and besides the incredible live music we get here, our town is alive with large and colorful murals of both Canadian and American musicians and performers. As a result people come from far and wide to our see our murals and visit our music festival community.

Merritt BC Canada Murals - Tanya Tucker

Jano Howard (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

“I’m the Singer, You’re the Song…”

That song was on the playlist of my early adult years, I listened to it at the beach, driving down country roads, and at dances. I probably still have that vinyl album. In short, I loved her moody country/rock voice!

Consequently, Tanya has released almost 30 albums since 1972. It was during that year she released her first album “Delta Dawn”.

And promises of more to come…

Tanya is considered a country singer, first and foremost, but crossed into the pop/rock genre and gathered more fans along the way. Her music was influenced by some major talents, including Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, Loretta Lynn, the Eagles, and Glen Campbell. She was nominated several times for awards from the Country Music Association.

Her lifelong success has been marked with many Top 10 hits and Top 40 hits. In 2002, Tanya Tucker was ranked #20 on CMT’s 40 Greatest Women of Country Music.

Merritt BC Murals - Tanya Tucker Selfie

Edgy, Classic, Country

These three words head up Tanya Tucker’s website. And they suit Tanya for sure.

Tanya Denise Tucker, was born in Seminole, Texas.  At the age of six she began taking saxophone lessons, then started singing. She knew from the time she was a child, that she wanted to be a country singer when she grew up. Tanya and her family lived in Arizona, then Utah, and then the family moved to Las Vegas, where Tanya performed regularly.

In 1972, Tanya had her first hit, “Delta Dawn” at the age of 13! Two more hits followed quickly, “Love’s the Answer” and “What’s Your Mam’s Name”. And soon Tanya was established as a major star.

Merritt BC Canada Murals - Tanya Tucker

Tanya Tucker – Spirit Square – Downtown Merritt / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

MCA Records

In 1975, MCA Records snapped her up and a string of country hits followed.

Her music and image changed in the late 70’s, widening into the pop/rock genre. The move was surprising to her fans, but was a successful career move over all. However things did slow down for Tanya and her life took several turns until the late 80’s when she returned to country, but pop-styled, and this brought Tanya back to popularity.

“…I just reconnected with my fans, and gathered a few more — now I want to gather a bunch more! I’m not satisfied.”

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

In 1989, Tanya Tucker released a “Greatest Hits” album, and she has continued to release albums and perform.

Her last album with new material was “Tanya” released in 2002. She more recently, in 2009, made a classic covers album, “My Turn”.”You’re gonna hear from me.”

From news I read recently, after several years without an album release, Tanya has one in the works along with a documentary. It’s a long time coming according to her fans.

According to my sources, like Country Daily, Tucker is very engaged when talking her upcoming projects. She says, “If I could do every album I wanted to do, it’d take me 50 years…I want to do a duet album, a classic album with classic songs, of course a Christmas album…And maybe a spiritual album.”

“Hell,” she adds, “I’m busier than a one-legged man in an (butt)-kicking contest, I’m telling you! I need about three or four more hands and about six more pair of feet. But I’m doing what I can do.”

And here’s a project Tanya seems very happy with…

“I used to be a wild thing…”

Country legend Tanya Tucker is launching her own tequila brand, Cosa Salvaje. The singer partnered with Elle France, the founder of Cosa Salvaje, which translates to “wild thing” in Spanish.

“I used to be a wild thing, now I just drink a wild thing!” Tanya Tucker said in a press release. “I truly love the taste of Cosa Salvaje and certainly wouldn’t be partnering with it if it didn’t pass my taste test… the agave and distilling process is environmentally conscious, so we’re taking care of our planet too.”

Each bottle of Cosa Salvaje tequila is made from recycled glass.

From Cision, and other sources…

Will Tanya come to Merritt?

She has been here already! More than once.

Tanya Tucker performed at our infamous “Merritt Mountain Music Festival” in the late 90’s.  And she was in town in 2006 to unveil her stunning mural!

I would love her to visit again… Hey Tanya!

I checked her upcoming events list and although six out of thirteen are here in Canada, none are close enough to head to for an evening’s drive…

So, we’ll download some Tanya Tucker oldies, and listen while we cruise our town, checking out the mural tour with other country superstars- like Carol Dawn Johnson, Paul Brandt, Dolly Parton, and Elvis!

And when we stop for near the Spirit Square, we’ ll check out the Walk of Stars too. But that’s another story.

Merritt BC Canada Murals – Tanya Tucker

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”, a project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery.

  • To visit Tanya’s site, where you can listen to some of her music, click here.
  • For a list of songs by Tanya Tucker go to Songs Tube.
  • The Tanya Tucker Facebook
  • Tanya Tucker on Twitter (27.600 Followers)
  • Other sources about Tanya: The Most Coveted, Wikipedia, All Music, and our own locals: Susan Roline and Melvina White.
  • For more info on our Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, read Melvina White’s blog. Melvina has been bringing live music to town for decades.
  • For more blogs on the many murals/artists scattered around our community, stay tuned to our Experience Nicola Valley site!

Come and visit!

Take in the Rockin River MusicFest, our country music festival, around the beginning of August every year.

Tickets sold out? Pop in to our weekly Open Mic at the Kekuli Cafe. Have a bannock while you are there….

Keep an eye on my Facebook page, Creative Community, to see what creativity is up in town.

And definitely tour the town of Merritt, to visit all our Country and Western murals featuring stars like Tanya Tucker!

As the Arts and Culture Blogger for Experience Nicola Valley. I am thrilled to talk about our live music history, our community public art-like the murals, and the participation of our locals and visitors to bring the Arts alive in the Nicola Valley!

Yours in creativity, Jano

Merritt Downtown Mural Walking Tour

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Experience Nicola Valley Blog

Blog

Experience Nicola Valley

Travel Website

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Community Futures Engagement Fair 2019, a real success!

 

“It was a lively, colorful, noisy-with-talk event…”

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Conayt Friendship Society

Merritt BC Non-Profits are like non-profits everywhere…contributing to the vitality of their community! These essential groups provide the good works and the enjoyment that cities, towns, and villages need and want. As my partner always said in his coffee paper, the Merritt Morning Mirror, “Have some fun, do some good!”.

Last weekend, Community Futures Nicola Valley put on a great event showcasing the Merritt BC Non-Profits. The Nicola Valley has a lot of non-profit groups and the Civic Center was full of tables, volunteers, posters, pamphlets and sign up sheets….

Non Profits depend on volunteers….

Non-Profits depend on volunteers, the heart-blood of any organization. And that March Saturday was a congregation of well-doing individuals, committed to providing good works, and fun to young and old. General organizations and specific, from the Chamber of Commerce, to the Curling Club, to the Old Time Fiddlers, were represented at this successful event by dedicated volunteers.

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Merritt Dance Society

What Merritt BC Non-Profit group do you belong to?

Almost everyone I know belongs to one, or more, of the Merritt BC Non-Profits. So the Civic Center was full of friends and colleagues, all dispensing info and enticing passers-by to be a part of their organization.

I did my part at the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council tables, helping with set up. And I did my best to stay put at the table and tell people what we are up to and wave membership forms at potential participants. And as I wandered myself, I gathered info and stories from the reps at the tables.

There were groups there I had heard of, but hadn’t chatted with. And groups I have participated with since I moved to town with my just-starting family in 1979!

I know a lot of these groups…

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Merritt Centennials Hockey

So I found that I know a lot of these groups, and the volunteers who run them and their events.

I attend Community Futures events. I am a Patreon for the Love to Dance Academy and their organization the Merritt Dance Society. The Old Time Fiddlers’ get-togethers at the Seniors Center get my support with announcements and posters. I encourage friends to spectate and cheer for the Centennials Hockey Team. I participate in Chamber of Commerce Friday Night Markets, send interested beginning entrepreneurs to CFNV, give kudos and items to the local Nicola Health Care Auxiliary.  Groups like the Search and Rescue, Scw’exmx Family Services, Nicola Valley Food bank, and the Citizens Patrol do so much good in the community!

I bought my membership for the Canadian Country Music Heritage Society there, one of my favorite non-profits in the community. I have loved volunteering at and supporting the Country Music Hall of Fame over the years.

While I was wandering, taking photos for my personal no-profit endeavor, Creative Community, I was impressed with the time and energy all the groups took with their displays. Several groups even had technology set up…TV’s displaying videos and slide presentations, like the beautiful, so-local, and very-worthwhile Nicola Valley Fall Fair Association.

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Nicola Valley Fall Fair Association

Bricks for Sale…

Let’s stop for a moment here and let you know, if you don’t already – the Nicola Valley Fall Fair Association is fundraising for an Infrastructure and Washroom Facility. This is a much-needed essential for this organization, and for the whole town! I would like to encourage all of us to get behind this fundraiser, and look after the basic needs of all the visitors, local and not, attending one of the oldest and most beloved events in our community, and in so many rural communities.

(A bracketed appeal…

A while back I attended a Chamber of Commerce Grant Writing Workshop, and really enjoyed being in the room with other groups detailing their needs in a grant writing session. From requests for bathroom facilities to setting up programs for kids with special needs, to support for young musicians and artists I was impressed with the dedication of these volunteers to our community well-being.

That workshop and this Community Futures Community Engagement Fair offered insight into the complex and worthwhile projects our community is willing to dedicate their time to and are willing to work on.

But let me say that groups in our community that are working to provide basic necessities like a place to pee, is needed as much as, OR MORE THAN (or at least BEFORE) the enhanced events and activities we are all working on. We can’t invite people to our events without providing the basics. So, if you hear of a group asking for bathroom facilities, perk up your ears and reach for your wallet.

Thank you. This has been a public service announcement…or a-pee-l.)

For this Fall Fair Association worthy fundraiser… buy a brick for $10! Call 250-378-7270

 

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Networking at the Community Engagement Fair

Merritt BC Non-Profits Opportunity to Network!

It was a lively, colorful, noisy-with-talk event, and afterward the feedback about it was…great! A GREAT opportunity, not just to inform and invite the general public to participate in the non-profits, but to network and exchange possibilities with like-minded groups populating the room at the Civic Center.

After cruising the room, taking photos, enjoying the chats, listening to the music by the Community Choir, the Old Time Fiddlers, the Strings Plus, and watching the dancers from Love to Dance, I settled in at the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council table, the non-profit where I spend most of my volunteer hours.

NVCAC’s Nicola Valley Talent Network project…more info coming!

We talked to lots of people about our Nicola Valley Talent Network project. So exciting! Got a talent? Are you an artist? A musician? A performing artist? Into theater? Or aspiring…? Get in touch with us at nvcac.talent@gmail.com

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Nicola Valley Community Arts Council

By the way, at the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council’s home, at the old Courthouse, 1840 Nicola Avenue we have basic facilities. Come and visit us there! We are busy reaching out to the community for interaction, memberships from individuals, groups, and businesses at the Courthouse, and also at events like the Community Futures Community Engagement Fair.

  • Visit us at the Courthouse Arts Gallery! Thursday to Saturday 12-6pm
  • Want to put on an art show? (Booking almost a year ahead!) Email nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com
  • Got an arts program you want to develop? Email nicolavalleyartscouncil@gmail.com
  • Want to know more about the local Arts Council? Visit our website!
  • Want to Plan and Relax with creativity? Tuesday mornings with me (Jano) at the old Courthouse. Call 250-315-3437
  • Visit my Creative Community facebook page.

Have a creative, satisfying day!

Your Arts and Culture…and Non-Profits fan Blogger, Jano Howarth

Let’s get out there and…. Have Some Fun, Do Some Good!

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Jen from Creature Comforts and Mischelle for Nordic Ski Club, networking

Merritt BC Non-Profits

Nicola Valley Search and Rescue

Community Futures Nicola Valley

 

Canadian Country Music

Country Music Hall of Fame is a Merritt Tradition

“Canadian Country music continues to grow in Canada and a number of US artists have recorded and made hits of songs written by Canadian Song writers.”

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum collects,  preserves and displays the history and tradition of Country music.  The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame honours Canadian country music artists, builders or broadcasters, living or deceased. The Country Music Hall of Fame is a national attraction and a must see Nicola Valley Experience in Merritt, BC Canada’s downtown.
 
Merritt and the Nicola Valley country atmosphere, outdoor adventures, traditional ranches, heritage and the unique
desolate landscape has been the inspiration for the biggest Country Music Festivals in Canada.  In addition it has earned Merritt the title, Country Music Capital of Canada. It has also set the stage for the Country Music Hall of Fame to showcase our national artist inductees, song writers and  their contributions  to country music.

Canadian Country Music Roots

Canadian Country Music

Photo Source CCMA: Hank Snow

The Maritimes, parts of Ontario and BC shared a strong folk tradition similar to that of the Appalachian region of the US. Because of this country music has found ready acceptance in Canada. It was first popularized by fiddlers such as Don Messer and George Wade. They started their careers on radio in the late 1920s. The Canadian Victor Record Co signed Wilf Carter in 1932, and his success prompted Victor to sign Wade (1933). Hank Snow (1936) and Hank LaRivière (1941) were signed as well. Carter, Snow, and later Earl Heywood introduced a unique style of country music to the scene using a lower, less nasal-sounding voice with clearer enunciation and fewer of the blues like slurs and high whining sounds that dominate much American country music.

Canadian Singers

However, Canadian singers depend more on the traditional ballad and story songs than on the “cheatin'” and barroom songs often preferred in the US. The Great Depression, WWII,  a more mobile population, the success of the “singing cowboy” movies, the number of US radio stations with access to Canada, the increasing number of pop adaptations in country music, national radio shows and tours all increased the popularity of country  music throughout the 1930s, 1940s and into the 1950s.

Movement to the United States

Canadian artists have struggled with low population of the country. Until the mid-1950s country artists relied on live radio shows,  regional touring in clubs, barn dances and local television appearances to earn a living. With a shortage of places to perform and the lack of good recording studios, numerous artists, including Ray Griff, Stu Phillips, Lucille Starr and Ronnie Prophet, followed the lead of Hank Snow and moved to the US.  In the 1960s country records became more pop-oriented. Artists such as Anne Murray, R. Harlan Smith and Shirley Eikhardt received airplay on commercial radio.

Country Music and Rock

Rock-oriented music, of the Good Brothers, Prairie Oyster and Colleen Peterson, gained a wider audience. The urban folk boom of the 1960s consisted of artists such as Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLauchlan and Bob Ruzicka. These musicians have both a strong urban and country appeal. The folk-music boom  introduced bluegrass, the jazz of country music, and traditional Canadian fiddle music to a much larger audience. In the 1990s there continued to be a strong crossover feeling to Canadian country music. The addition of new music artists Rita MacNeil, Quartette, Colleen Peterson, Ashley MacIsaac, The Rankins and The Barra MacNeils appeal to Canadian music audiences in general.

Growth of Western and Canadian Country Music

Canadian-content regulations for commercial radio in 1970 gave valuable airplay to artists such as Dick Damron,
“Stompin’ Tom” Connors, Carroll Baker, Gary Buck and the Family Brown. More radio stations were licensed and
more began to program for specialized markets. In 1960 there was one radio station, CFCW in Alberta, featuring
country music entirely. By 1987 there were 85 originating stations programming some country music during their
broadcast day, and by 1998 there were 110 full-time country stations and 36 part-time stations broadcasting country music in Canada. Because of this the 1980s saw a revival of interest in the older styles of country music of Ian Tyson, k.d. lang and groups such as Blue Rodeo and Spirit of the West. The more mainstream music of Eddie Eastman, Terry Sumsion and Terry Carisee, etc, remained popular.

Nashville Calling

Up until the 1990s primary television exposure for country artists came through such network shows as the Tommy
Hunter Show and syndicated broadcasts such as Sun Country and the Family Brown Show. More importantly, with the advent of country music specialty television channels, such as the Nashville Network and Canada’s Country Music Television (established in 1994 as New Country Network), new exposure possibilities for country music artists became possible. A new genre of country music, often referred to as new country, arose to take advantage of these opportunities. Borrowing promotional and production techniques along with a dose of attitude from rock music, this new music challenged accepted ideas of country music. This resulted in giving country musicians a much wider and more urban audience.

Making It Big

Country Music in Merritt

Photo Source CCMA: Michelle Wright-Patricia Conroy

Canadian artists who emerged in the 1990s include Michelle Wright, k.d. lang, George Fox, Charlie Major, Blue Shadows, Prescott/Brown, Paul Brandt, Cassandra Vassik, Patricia Conroy, Lori Yates, Terry Clark, the Wilkinsons and multi-award winner Shania Twain. There is still the notion that to make it big you must move to Nashville. However, television now offers Canadian artists a chance for much wider exposure. A 3-hour 1992 CBC-TV special brought new country and old country together in a program devoted to the history of Canadian country music called Country Gold. This program featured interviews and performances by Canadian artists from Hank Snow to k.d. Lang.

Birth of Canadian Country Music Association

The Canadian Country Music Association, formed in 1975 as the Academy of Country Music Entertainment, has sponsored an annual country music week in different cities across Canada. Country Music Week, as well as, Big Country Awards have brought artists and industry people together and have become major events in the promotion and development of country music. Therefore, the annual broadcast of the Country Music Awards has for many years been the top-rated Canadian music show on television. The Country Music Association is also responsible for the Canadian Country Music Hall of Honour, with a permanent home in Edmonton. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame however, is situated in Merritt, British Columbia.

Then and Now

Country Music hall of Fame

Photo Source: CCMH of Fame

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame has released a Then and Now Album Volume 1.  On September 7th, 2018 the first-ever Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame album was released. During the Canadian Country Music Awards in Hamilton, Ontario the ‘Then and Now – Volume 1’ compilation album was released. The album features Hall of Fame inductees Ian Tyson, Murray McLauchlan and Michelle Wright. They performed their biggest hits, in duets with some of today’s top names in Canadian country music. Some of the top artists performing are Brett Kissel, Aaron Pritchett and Jess Moskaluke. They were proud to participate.

Country Music Hall of Fame

There is an artifact collection of plaques, vintage turn table with 100’s of records (collection growing), national artist memorabilia, builders or broadcasters, living or deceased. Secondly, the country Music Hall of Fame includes extensive biographical information on the inductees. It is located in downtown Merritt, British Columbia at 2025 Quilchena Avenue. The facility is open year-round for custom tours, and is open to the public on seasonally adjusted hours. The initiative is governed by a not-for-profit society (the Canadian Country Music Heritage Society).

For more information contact:

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame
2025 Quilchena Avenue
Merritt, BC Canada
Phone: 1-250-315-5508
Email: info@ccmhalloffame.com

Canadian Country Music in Merritt BC Canada

Street Market Art – Merritt, BC

Community Art in Merritt, Canada

Youth Take Leadership and make Summer Nights Street Market Art

Street Market Art

Amy Maclaren’s creative flower crown

Street Market Art is happening every Friday night for the whole summer. Amy Maclaren has laid out a plan for character creation – decorating crowns and hats, belts and sashes, masks, and even shoe fun. And her fellow workers, Amrit Ahuja, Felize Omori, and Alexia Clark are a part of the action on the downtown Quilchena block in Merritt Canada.

The Nicola Valley Community Arts Council is employing these four young people through the Youth Employment Program. So this summer, the arts community has help with all kinds of projects and programs!

From the Street Market, to Open Mic Nights, to Corbett Lake Paint Outs this young group is pitching in to make our summer events successful.

 

From Prep to the Market

Street Market Art

Alexia and Felize create flower crowns

First comes the idea of setting up an NVCAC gazebo at the Friday Summer Nights Market, and enlivening it with activities.

With Amy leading the way for this arts project, the activities planned are all about costume and character building. As a student in Costume Design, Amy’s creative direction includes everything from coloured sketches to rainbowsequins.

Amy sources her materials for the market activities in town, materials accessible to everyone who lives here or are visiting the Nicola Valley.

 

Street Market Art

Everything tied or taped down

Gazebo and other necessities are gathered and set up on Quilchena Avenue, the main block. Our first night’s set up was a gusty wind challenge. Duct tape and bricks were in place before flowers and feathers.

Merritt is a windy town, so the locals are prepared.

But after our first night, we are adding a few bungee cords and table clips to our bin.

The YEP workers get everything set up, and then two of them leave to set up and help at Open Mic. Amrit works the sound and Felize and Alexia welcome the audience there at the Kekuli Cafe..

 

Neighbours on the Street Market

There is room for over 20 vendors or non-profits to set up on the town’s busy block. From a big food truck to gazebos, to small tables, the block is almost full. The Farmer’s market is to the west of us. And a variety of displays is to our east.

Janet Roth is overseeing the Love to Dance Academy’s table. She is there to let people know what a great dance studio we have in town. And encourage memberships in the Love to Dance Society that supports it.

Street Market Art

Janet Roth at the Love to Dance Academy table

Charlene Lively has set up the Pro Rodeo display, with information and some news about the High School event that was taking place just that weekend.

Street Market Art

Charlene Lively at the Pro Rodeo display

There are jewelry tables and displays of woodwork by local craftsman.

Tina has set up her Humble Hobo Hotdogs Stand at the end of the block. And there is a new Curried Chicken food truck that has line ups for their generous portions.

And there are baked good tables to pick up something sweet.

Music at the Friday Nights Market

Street Market Art

The Strange Companions

We can hear country music coming from the speakers on the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, right on Quilchena Avenue, our main street.

And if we keep going, more music…

A favourite local group, the Strange Companions, have committed to several Friday nights at the street market for the summer. They have created a board of info and calls to action, like “Go on over to Open Mics…” Read while you stop to listen!

This group has been playing together for years, with musicians and singers coming and going. We never know who is going to show up when we know The Strange Companions are playing…

Back at the NVCAC Gazebo

Street Market Art

Felize and Amy help kids fancy up at the Arts table

Amy and the Youth Employment workers lay out the week’s art activity. Their first work was fancy name or character cards creation with foam letters, sparkles, and shape stickers.

The second week flower and birds were provided for crowns and embellishments like coloured feathers and foam sparkle stickers were attached to cowboy hats

Last week, the YEP workers got busy with face painting and created characters for the children coming by.

What’s up this week?

Support from the NVCAC Directors and Members

Beside our art activity table, the NVCAC Directors set up a membership table under our gazebo, ready to encourage passersby to join our Arts Council and support the arts in all of the the Nicola Valley.

Street Market Art

Mischelle and Gale discuss the Street Market action and the dancing nearby.

Two active members, Director of Programs Mischelle Pierce, and artist and Gallery supporter, Gale Simpson, discuss all the arts action happening in town!

This week, right at the end of our Friday Nights Street Market, some good music and dancing is happening at the Adelphi Hotel. Some of our great country and western musicians play there regularly. And people come from far and wide to hear them and get up on the dance floor.

This weekend there was a group from Arizona dancing up a storm. Not sure if they were heading out to the Rockin River Fest event in the Valley. Or if they just staed in town and enjoyed the action right here on the main street.

 

Visitors from Hobart, Tasmania

Street Market Art

Jane, Jasper with mom Lani, and Jean

It’s Jasper! My grandson from down under. Jasper is chatting it up with Jane Bartle, NVCAC Treasurer, mom Lani, and president Jean Kiegerl. I think Jean is selling Jasper an Arts Council membership.

And I know Jasper ended up with enough RCMP Musical Ride tickets to take all of us!

Jasper and family weren’t the only visitors from out of town. We have travelers weekly, often from Alberta, the States, Europe, coming to experience the Nicola Valley.

Join us for some  Street Market Art!

Come down on Friday nights 6-9pm. See what’s up, buy or make an embellished cowboy hat or flower crown. Check the current week’s activity!

Street Market Art

Wearing their embellished cowboy hats

Sashes? Shoes art? What Street Market Art are we up to?

It’s usually free, with people making donations to help us buy the next week’s activity materials….

Go to Nicola Valley Arts Council Facebook page to check out the next event!

And be sure to come down and see us, listen to some music, grab some food, stop and chat. Make yourself a crown!

Jano, Arts and Culture Blogger

 

 

Street Market Art

Vanessa Trenholm led a community canvas painting again!

 

Open Mic Nights in Merritt, Canada

Open Mic’Apalooza Tonight!

Since last summer, Merritt, BC, has been hosting Open Mic Nights at the Kekuli Cafe.

Open Mic Nights

Kekuli Cafe

There is a wealth of talent in the Nicola Valley. And we wanted a place for the locals and visitors to enjoy some of the musical talent. Our focus is family friendly, encouraging and accepting of all skill levels, and we continue by donation.

We are also supported by the Nicola Valley Arts Council, who contributed funds for a sound system just the right size for our Kekuli venue.

And our first year of Open Mic Nights has been a great success…

Beginning of Open Mic Nights

Open Mic Nights

Robert Bertrand

The provenance of this Open Mic experience began in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, on Quilchena Avenue. During the winter and spring of 2017, several of us encouraged musicians to perform there on Friday afternoons.

Robert Bertrand, newly local musician extraordinaire, came every week and was at times joined by other musicians. Guitars, banjos, violins, harmonica, and piano were played by Tina Vesper, Anna-Marie Forest, Willard Wallace, and others, both locals and visitors passing through. Musicians played on their own, or together.

The audience on those Friday afternoons was spare but enthusiastic. People showed up now and then, but not enough to make the performances more than a work out for the musicians, with a few coins in the donation box barely covering local transportation. And plans to put in speakers for the street, to lure people in, did not manifest in time to keep the afternoons going. How to continue, and in what form, was under discussion by those of us who loved the live performances.

On one Friday afternoon, Jeremy Ball took a seat in one of the empty chairs, while Robert Bertrand played.

And in a discussion with Jeremy, Robert, and the few of us there in the CCMHF, the seeds of our Open Mic took hold.

Jeremy’s personal initiatives, with collaborators, then carried the thoughts of an open mic night to fruition.

Mr. Mic, Open Mic Host

Open Mic Nights

Jeremy Ball

Jeremy Ball has hosted the weekly Open Mic Nights on almost every single occasion since it began last August 2107.

A local himself, returning after he left as a young man to explore the world, Jeremy had musical experience, as a singer and a band member. His career as an educator was apparent in his hosting: managing the room with humor filled firmness, filling the gaps on a slow night with English, and other, language stories, and quizzes about music and local events.

And Jeremy sang a variety of genre- from opera, to Moon River to Coldplay’s The Scientist, either alone or in duets.

But perhaps Mr Mic’s most satisfying “job” at our Open Mic Nights, was bringing a variety of performances together to fill an entertaining evening of music and spoken word.

Local Performers at Open Mic Nights

OM has several regular performers. Robert Bertrand comes often. He is a stellar musician, performing

blues, rock and country with energy, skill, and experience.

  • Willard Wallace covers favorites from Neil Young, the Beatles and more. (And he has contributed
    Open Mic Nights

    Willard Wallace

    to OM’s success, even providing his own sound system when he had a glitch with ours.)
  • Al and Denise bring a repartee that is as entertaining as their music.
  • Anita Wessel reads us amusing stories from entertaining authors.
  • The Strange Companions are a favorite when they come.
  • Michelle Etchart sings blues, show tunes and Basque honor songs.
  • Quade Lindgren shows up to perform often, with his own songs and favorites.
  • The younger generation of Lonsdales sing their own songs for us when they are in town.
  • And Jim West has been a consistent presence over the last couple of months.

We have dance, poetry, and music of such a variety, from Strings Plus duets, to opera, to bluegrass, to rap, to drum and flute music from First Nations.

We love our locals showing up to share with us.

Open Mic Nights

Joey Lonsdale

Performers from Outside the Nicola Valley

Also, Open Mic Nights has had a stream of musicians and performers from other towns, other countries….

Sometimes it is arranged, like Jim and Carol, coming from the Shuswap. This duo runs a Coffee House themselves near Celista. And as Carol was a local herself for years, the night attracted friends in the audience and musicians alike.

Sometimes it is serendipity, with a musician passing through town who shows up on an Open Mic Night.

Open Mic nights

Visitors passing through

One night a musician couple stopped for gas at the Seven-Eleven across the street from the Kekuli Cafe and saw our OM sign. They spent the evening with us.

On our opening night, Blues pianist Murray Porter, Juno Award Winner, was in town filming a documentary with students at our local post-secondary institute, NVIT. He showed up and played on a borrowed guitar.

We love the visiting musicians. They provide variety and buzz.

It’s Bobby Garcia!

Open Mic Nights

Bobby Garcia

And we love the nights that our own local stars show up, like Willard Wallace, Robert Bertrand, Paul Thomson, and of course, country and western singer Bobby Garcia!

Bobby has lived in the valley all his life, and has played music for most of it.

Bobby Garcia and Six More Strings has just released a new album. From Bobby’s Facebook page, “My Cd is ready! These Boots is Available on ITunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, and I have hard copies available for sale! Thank your for your support! Stream my music!…12 songs…”

 

Open Mic Nights

Robert Bertrand and Bobby Garcia

Open Mic Night Fans

As with all events like Open Mic Nights, our audience is what makes it ongoing. And just as we have

Open Mic Nights

Open Mic Music fans Doug and Donna

regular performers, we have regular attendees. Like Donna and Doug who love all music events in town and rarely miss ours. And Mary Dickie, in her 90s, who arrives on her own or with friends. Another dozen or so show up week after week. All ages…

Sure we have quiet nights. But we also have standing room only nights!

Open Mic Nights has its own Facebook page, where you can see what we have been up to, and what is coming next. We have a featured artist weekly and usually book them several weeks in advance.

Future of Open Mic Nights

Our host, and all-round talent, Jeremy Ball, is moving on to other adventures out of the valley. He will be missed. And missed a lot, by those of us who work with him and enjoy his many qualities.

One of Mr. Mic’s last songs says it all…

“It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard”

Open Mic Nights will carry on.

The Nicola Valley Community Arts Council continues its support. Kekuli Cafe is keeping the doors open.

Open Mic Nights

Elijah Stirling-Mack, Kekuli Staff

The amazing staff at Kekuli will still be there. The Open Mic volunteers will continue to plan and implement the evening. And Denise Kearney (of Al and Denise) has committed to hunting down revolving hosts and featured artists.

And we have a young crew of workers for the summer months…including Amrit Ahuja, an auditory engineer with a future in sound and music. Hand him a mic!

Open Mic Nights…an ongoing successful program of music and spoken word in Merritt, Canada, in the beautiful Nicola Valley.

Keep coming! Good music is planned for the weeks ahead.

Come on in, if your haven’t stopped in yet.

From out of town? Make Merritt a destination stop, there’s lots to do here! And be sure your plan around a Friday night!

See you there!

Open Mic Nights

Open Mic Nights Audience

Jano

​Experience Nicola Valley arts and culture!

Our artistic and cultural style is full of variety, against a background of pine trees and golden grasses.

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture

Jean Kiegerl

Of course, we experience arts and culture wherever we are…

And Nicola Valley arts and culture is worth planning an experience around!

Arts and culture feeds our soul…
And our geography informs our culture and our art.

The Nicola Valley, in southern interior BC, Canada, with its sage hills, clear creeks, and warm sun encourages the kind of slow pace that inspires art in all its forms.

And the rich history and culture of the valley elicits respect for what has gone before, and invites a sense of possibility for what is coming.

Our

Nicola Valley arts and culture: country music, graffiti art, rock paintings, children’s books, local blogs, plays performed by theater students, dance lessons…

 

What is Culture?

Let’s define the terms we will be writing about…

Live Science: Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, Nicola Valley Arts and Cultureencompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts.

So, culture is the big concept, …

A definition and opinion from Study.com: …Think about what makes you and your family special. What language do you speak? What traditions and beliefs do you have? Do you enjoy special foods and wear clothing to represent your family or history? The culture of a group of people is the traditions and beliefs that they practice in their daily lives. 

This gives us a wide range of topics to write about! Social habits! Language! Benefits of cultural diversity!

But a second meaning of culture suggests the direct interaction with social and artistic expressions, as the following quote suggests…

Huffington Post: If you can count on one hand the number of times you’ve gone to a museum in your city, a theater performance and a concert, you’re missing out on the enriching world of culture that is there to be enjoyed. Why should you turn off the TV for once and get out there to take in some culture?

“Take in some culture” like a museum tour, a concert, a theater performance, or art exhibit. It helps us absorb or comprehend our lives and experiences. And it’s fun!

What is Art?

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture

Joel Reid

What is Art? Always a lively discussion!

There are lots of quotes on this question. Lots of answers.

So art is one of our earliest expressions of culture. It helped early humans to organize their lives, to understand the world around them, and to communicate those understandings. And that is what art does for us. It helps us to understand how we feel about things and helps us to organize our world. SVCC

(I am definitely adding a reason to engage with art…get more organized! How about you?)

“Art is an expression that transcends religion, culture, country, people and time.” Amit Ray

And discussions on this question are endless, everywhere.

We often have these discussions ourselves during afternoon teas at the Courthouse Arts Gallery on Nicola Avenue. “Is this art?”

“No? How come?”

“Yes? Why? What makes it art?”

Pour another cup of tea and we’ll figure it out.

Where is the Nicola Valley?

Nicola Valley is in the southern interior of BC, near the west coast of Canada.

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture

Bev Veale

The town of Merritt, in the Nicola Valley, is the center of the Coquihalla highway system, with easy four lane access to large and small communities, a regional airport, and two international airports.

In this central location we have quick access to many cultural experiences not only in our own valley, but also over the mountains to other communities with engaging arts experiences.

The Nicola Valley is sunny and dry ranch country, surrounded by rolling hills, lakes, and creeks. You’ll see Ponderosa pines, sagebrush or rabbit bush, and bunch grass as you come in to our valley.

We are…

  • on the Gold Country Tour
  • part of the Route Blue (music and art) Tour
  • close to the Shuswap valley
  • and just a short and breathtaking drive to the internationally-known Okanagan Valley, with its famous wine tours and art galleries.

The Nicola Valley is a hub of BC highways, and a growing hub of musicians, artists, and performers…

And What Is Nicola Valley Arts and Culture?

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture

janohphoto

Our valley inspires original country music, landscape paintings, and sculptures made from natural stones and branches.

Street benches that look like wagon wheels…

We are the home of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, the Walk of Stars, and the country music and western themed murals of artist Michelle Loughery. First Nations pictographs and stone structures are overlooking our lakes and creeks.

We also host the Bass Coast electronic music and art festival, Home Routes concerts, and put on school wide SD58 Arts Festivals.

The Nicola Valley arts and culture style is full of variety, against a background of pine trees and golden grasses. From stilettos to cowboy boots, chainsaw carvings and beaded earrings, to flute concertos and banjos, the Nicola Valley is a center of creative expression….

Come and See For Yourself!

Experience Arts and Culture in the Nicola Valley!

Stop downtown Merritt and get oriented. Follow the Walk of Stars route, check out the murals, visit theNicola Valley Arts and Culture museum. Spend time in the Courthouse Arts Gallery and gift shop, with goods like local tea and honey, guitar string bracelets, hand weavings, art on the wall.

If you come in July, tour our Art Walk with artists displayed in twenty downtown businesses and civic centers. or attend our country music “Rockin River Fest”.

Here in late November? Join us for Country Christmas and our Festival of Trees.

And if you are here on a Friday, drop into our Open Mic Night at the Kekuli Cafe. Bring your instrument, or favorite poetry.

Get in touch with us to discover dates for our Coffee Houses with featured musicians at the Country Music Hall of Fame or in our outdoor Spirit Square.

Maybe we can set you up with an arts tour!

Complete with local refreshments, of course…

  • Want to see the newly opened Nlakapmux Creations Gallery at the corner of Nicola Avenue and Voght Street?
  • And next see the Michelle Loughery murals? And hear the community story of their origin?
  • Want to get a taste of our local music scene, with the likes of Bobby Garcia and Al & Denise?

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture awaits!

Visit the Nicola Valley Arts Council website for the lowdown on all things art in the valley.

Or contact me at experiencenicolavalley.jano@gmail.com.

We’ll see what we can do…

Love the arts!

Jano

Nicola Valley Arts and Culture

 (All media here by permission)