Music in the Street
|Interview by Dave Brummit Some days, when your timing is right, you will hear the silky smooth sounds of the saxaphone fill the air as you walk down Market Avenue, in Grand Forks. These spontaneous tunes drew the OpenMinder to have a talk with JohnnyMack Williams, the “Music Man on the street”, who produces them..|
OM: Many people are curious about where you came from & how you began playing saxophone. JOHN: Well, basically I started playing saxophone just a little over a year ago. OM: That recent? JOHN: Yep. I have played clarinet ever since high-school. And I played harmonica throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Mostly at bars, and social events and stuff like that. Playing in country rock and blues bands. I was kind of kicking around, when I was hitchhiking around in the 60’s. I found it easy to pick up, and so I basically started out with the harmonica. But, music has been a big part of my life. OM: Did you grow up with it in the family? JOHN: No, I am an only child, and it is just something I picked up that I enjoyed and just carried on. OM: Obviously you have quite a talent for it. JOHN: I play by heart. I do not read music notes at all. I just play what is in my heart. OM: I hear you have created a character called “Hill-Billy Willy,” that is part of an act. Could you tell us a little more about “Willy”? JOHN: Well, Hill-billy Willy, he has been in existence for about 3 years now. And I started that when I began doing skits at our church and social functions that the church would put on and things like that. And, you know, a little bit of humor for adults and to the children. Just this past year, I took it out into the street, into the public sector, and I have gotten a good response from it. But a lot of my stories are really true stories of when I was a little kid growing up. I just put a hill-billy accent to them, and a characterization to them, to put a little bit of spark to them. OM: Are you considering putting on more shows for the public? JOHN: Yes, I am thinking of doing some. I am trying to get into the local schools to put on an act for the grade school kids. but they are a little bit skeptical, you know, a stranger and all. OM: I think they are probably overwhelmed with all the programs for schools too. JOHN: Yes. And they see me as a new person. Understandably, they need to be careful of who this new guy is. I told them though I would be willing to get an affidavit from the RCMP for them if they want it. OM: Did you grow up in BC? JOHN: Well, I mostly grew up in British Columbia. My father was a printer by trade, but he also had a habit of gambling and drinking that took him from one place to another, so we moved around an awful lot. My mother, she worked whenever she could and eventually worked her way up to an executive housekeeper in a hotel chain. I have seen a lot of BC and a bit of Alberta. I had a bit of a wandering start. OM: :You say “wandering start”, have you traveled more? JOHN: Pretty much, yeah. I have been over to France, England, Germany… then I went over to Egypt. I was stationed in Morocco for a short time while in the armed forces. I was in Cypress in the occupation there in ’74, you know. And I have seen a bit of Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan…I have been around quite a bit. OM: Did you play music in these other countries too? JOHN: Well the harmonica was my main forte. The only thing I could take with me so easily. And particularly in Ireland, the taverns close at 10:00pm. And the guys would be outside singing, so I pulled out the harmonica and started to play a little jig. They loved it. It was good, I enjoyed that time. OM: Did you find yourself meeting other musicians easily because of your ability to play harmonica? JOHN: Oh yes, very much so. Particularly in Germany, where otherwise there might have been a bit of a barrier, but music seemed to bring us together. OM: Music is universal. I have heard that Germans are very receptive to many styles of music. JOHN: Oh yes, well back in the ’60’s there was quite a bit of music from the English, you know, from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and that type of thing. And of course they had their traditional music too. There were lots of people playing accordians and other wood instruments. OM: So what are your plans in Grand Forks? JOHN: Well, I am seriously considering doing some recordings. Getting some instrumentals done. I just want to feel out the waters a bit. I have a couple of songs out under other people’s labels up north, and one down here now where I play a harmonica background. But we are still working on some of those. To get into a good studio hall that is equipped, their time and all, can get very expensive. So, I am looking into some local digital recording studios. OM: You mentioned to me once, quite a while ago, that you are a poet. Could you tell me a little about that? JOHN: Well, my poetry is wilderness based, I love the wilderness. It has always touched my heart. I also write a lot about things that would touch a Christian’s heart. My main heartthrob in poetry is the wilderness. OM: So you must do a lot of outdoor activities. JOHN: Oh I just love the area around here. I can hardly wait to get out there! I like to go out doing hobby gold panning. When I lived out in Quesnel, I used to do quite a bit of gold panning. I never got rich, but I have had a good time doing it. I was quite pleased to hear that the parks people preserved some area where people can enjoy the wilderness safely and an area for the grizzly bears too. OM: Have you had much time to get up in our wild lands around here? JOHN: Well, I came here in August, so I have not had a chance to really get out there. I went out to Jewel Lake though, and from what I saw it is very nice. OM: So, are you going to perform professionally?’ JOHN: I would. Eventually. I would like to feel out the community first. I want to see what the general attitude is. I am a little laid up physically, but I like to keep busy. OM: You were well received at the Granby Wilderness Societies coffeehouse. JOHN: Yes, it was a lot fun. I have been inspired by a lot of comedians. I suppose Red Skelton has been one of my favorites. And the Three Stooges, Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx and the brothers. So I took a little bit and then you develop your own persona. OM: Did you have a problem getting over any stage fright? JOHN: Oh, I have no problem at all, as a matter of fact, I have spoken in front of over 5000 people. I have no problem. From time to time I also do evangelistic preaching. I really love to lift peoples’ hearts. You get over your shyness eventually. I do not judge any one, I just take them at face value. OM: We are all pink on the inside, eh?! JOHN: You got it! We all have white bones! (he laughs).
Two Small Parks with too Much Pressure Dave and Lillian Brummit “A Management Plan is a public document. BC Parks prepares a Management Plan with a high degree of public involvement” -Ministry of Environment, Lands & Parks, BC Parks Division. Many of you may not even have heard about the work BC Parks & many groups & individuals have put in the last few months. In fact, there was a public forum on the 23rd of February regarding the plan proposals for the Granby & Gladstone Provincial Parks. Unfortunately, the BC Parks representatives were not aware that our local newspapers are not published daily. Because of this, they went in on Tuesday, only to find out they wouldn’t be able to promote the meeting to the public until the day of the meeting. However, there was at least one announcement on our local radio station on Wednesday as well, and this is where many people found out about it. It was the opinion of many of the people who came to the meeting, that these ads were insufficient & the public should have been notified at least one week prior to the meeting in every media source available. Fortunately, Nadine Dechiron, president of the Granby Wilderness Society, had mentioned the meeting to the Bulletin’s editor & the meeting was announced on Monday as well. All of the issues raised by the people present, were in themselves very solid arguments. A few people raised the issue that there is no complete official plan to protect the Granby grizzly, yet we are planning uses for the park anyway. We cannot possibly know the long-term effect our uses have until it is too late. We are putting pleasure and profit over the existence of our fellow creatures. The most important thing is to have wilderness areas left. BC Parks representatives stated that the parks are designated, not just for conservation, but also recreation. They have concluded that these uses are allowable activities, but with a conservative approach. One participant retaliated that it is sad that we can only preserve areas for personal greed. Another claimed “this is a pro-people plan, not a wildlife protection plan- with a total disregard for preservation. Others expressed concern on how the BC Parks intends to enforce the zoning within the parks’ boundaries when access to them is not necessarily limited to the roads. They responded by saying there is no budget for enforcement, but they are letting people know about the restrictions & zonings. They are also hoping that people will report violators. Don Gough, from BC Parks, stated that “The parks are far enough away from large populations that access is not easy for people. We think that there are really not that many people who use the area because of this. I mean, they have a long drive to get them there, & even then, they have to leave motorized vehicles outside of the parks.” Snowmobiles are allowed only in the recreation zoned areas & only between December – April 1st, when there is the least disturbance on hibernating bears. This actually deprives the snowmobile enthusiasts of some prime recreation in March & April. There also were conflicts of opinion, such as whether hunting should even be allowed in an area where these animals can have one of the last secluded, relatively safe areas to go to. Without the proper budgeting, how can we accept that hunters will comply with the new zoning laws? BC Parks have done their best to please everyone, & they have had a tough job in doing so. We must give them credit for not allowing timber harvesting, or mining, or motorized vehicles with in the parks. Would a better turnout at the meeting have affected the outcome of any decision making? BC Parks representatives claimed the public’s comments do indeed have an impact on the assessment of the prepared draft. If so, would it not make sense to re-schedule the public meeting to a later date so that ample notice could be given? Not knowing what standard protocol is used for giving notice for a public forum, we decided to do some investigating, which led us on a 3 hour wild goose chase from one government office to another. Luckily we did it on the phone, with most of the numbers being toll free. From Inquiry BC, we were told they had no information regarding the issue and it was suggested that we phone the Ministry of Parks, Victoria. The receptionist there told us they have only general guidelines for the meetings and that it is up to the local city by-laws to determine public notice given. The City of Grand Forks said there is no such by-law, but their own in-house rule states a minimum of 72 hours of posted notice for their public meetings. They suggested that we contact the Ministry of Parks!! In frustration, we found a number for the BC Park Kootenay District Office and explained what we were looking for. They referred us to the Ombudsman, who then informed us that they were the department for filing formal complaints. A number of offices have yet to return our calls, and one even stated they were not even sure they would have time to return our call! After all this, we still did not really receive an answer to our question. This leads us to think that maybe in the confusion, some mis-communication has led to an improper public forum. Obviously, there are a lot of issues at stake in this very special wilderness area. There are a lot of questions still to be answered concerning the grizzly population, the sub-alpine flora & fauna, the old growth forests & the First Nations interests. In Canada, we have so much wildlife & forested land to enjoy. Is it not possible to put aside the needed areas to preserve the beauty rather than arrogantly feeling we have to put our footprints everywhere? We only have to look south of the border to see how over-used some backcountry areas have become. For those of you who would like to make your ideas, comments or questions known, you will need to do so before March 31st-the deadline for public input. Mail them to John Meeson, Senior Planner, Ministry of Parks, Box 399, Summerland, BC V0H 1Z0 Fax: 250-494-9737
Personal Banking Winston Churchill Imagine there is a bank which credits your account each morning with $86,400, carries over no balance from day to day, allows you to keep no cash balance, and every evening cancels whatever part of the amount you had failed touse during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course! Well, every one has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,000 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the records of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing out against the “tomorrow”. You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today… To realize the value of ONE YEAR: Ask a student who has failed his final exam. To realize the value of ONE MONTH: Ask a mother who has biven birth to a pre-mature baby. To realize the value of ONE WEEK: Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper. To realize the value of ONE DAY: Ask a daily wage labourer who has ten kids to feed. To realize the value of ONE HOUR: Ask the lovers who are waiting to meet. To realize the value of ONE MINUTE: Ask a person who has missed the train. To realize the value of ONE SECOND: Ask a person who has survived an accident. To realize the value of ONE MILLI-SECOND: Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics. Treasure every moment that you have, and treasure it more because you shared it with someone special enough to have your time….. and remember time waits for no one. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
Dear Betty Ann Landers eat your
heart out! Betty is local and Betty is vocal. Betty will be a
regular contributor to the OpenMinder & with the many lives of
experience she has, she will be ready to answer your question.
If you would like to hear Betty’s advice send your question to
Dear Betty: My husband and I have been happy together for 3 years now, and never have been separated for more than a day or two. Recently, we agreed that he take a temporary job offer in Alberta, although, my fear is that the separtation will put a stress on our relationship that might end it. I love him very much, and don’t want to lose him. Signed Insecure.
Dear Insecure: No matter how good your marriage is, these types of arrangements can be a relationship minefield. When I went through this my husband was working in Princeton. In those days the cost of communicating more than once a week, for us, was too much. We made it our 20 minute Sunday ritual. I suggest the best security blanket for you is to keep those communication lines open, and always remember why you two are together. Signed Betty.
fit for heart! Each year the Grand Forks Recreation Department sponsors “Fit for Heart”, an energetic fundraiser for the B.C. Heart and Stroke Foundation. This year, the event is going to be a little different and a lot of fun! On Wednesday, March 15th you are invited to come out for two hours of “Foot Stompin’ fun” from 7:00 to 9:00pm in the Perley School Gym. Join dance instructors Roy and Jan McNeil who will teach you Line Dancing, Country Two Step, and East Coast Swing. You’ll get your own heart rate up while you raise funds for this worthwhile cause. You don’t need a partner and beginners of all ages are welcome. Admission is by pledge or donation to the Heart Fund and pledge forms are available at the Recreation Office and Aquatic Centre. Pledge earners are eligible for some fabulous prizes, which are on display now at the pool. There will also be several draw prizes for participants. For more information call Grand Forks Recreation office at 442-2202
Canada’s largest Doukhobor organization, the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ recently concluded a successful AGM held February 26/27, 2000 at the USCC Community Centre in Grand Forks. Over 50 delegates representing member communities in the Kootenay Boundary region, numerous standing committees of the organization, and for the first time officially accredited delegates representing USCC members residing in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, the Thompson-Okanogan, and the Calgary area, gathered for two days to review an eventful year during which the Doukhobor community marked one hundred years of life in Canada. Delegates heard reports on the successful tours of USCC youth and women’s choirs to Russia, Georgia, and the Ukraine, the establishment of a Peace and Human Rights Award available for the first time this spring to students enrolled at Selkirk College, the opening of a Heritage Retreat at Whatshan Lake, the construction of a training facility near the Brilliant Cultural Centre to teach traditional Doukhobor wood and textile handcrafts, and the placement of memorial plaques at Doukhobor cemeteries across western Canada. Also discussed were ongoing centennial projects including the restoration of the old Brilliant Bridge scheduled for completion and designation as a heritage site this fall, efforts to have the area in Georgia, where the Doukhobors burnt their weapons in 1895 designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and construction of a bakery-cafe at Yasnaya Polyana, the Tolstoy family estate museum complex, located 200 kilometers south of Moscow. These initiatives are close to the hearts of all Canadian Doukhobors, as they respectfully represent a tribute to the original Doukhobor settlers in Canada, form the basis of the Doukhobors’ pacifist beliefs, and because the renowned Russian writer, philosopher and humanitarian assisted their migration to Canada in 1899. Delegates unanimously expressed their gratitude to friends and neighbours from other traditions and cultures, local institutions, agencies, and organizations, municipal, regional, provincial, and national levels of government, and to other Doukhobors across Canada, the United States, and in the former Soviet Union for their participation in, and support of the centennial program. They look forward to building on the community partnerships the USCC has entered into over the last few years, and unanimously endorsed the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation that has been taking place within the larger Doukhobor community. Delegates were pleased to hear that the organization is beginning the year debt free and approved a budget ensuring responsible fiscal management. They also heard progress reports on plans for the development of USCC properties for recreational, agricultural and other uses at Champion Creek, and for the construction of affordable housing for members around the USCC Community Centre in Grand Forks, and the Brilliant Cultural Centre in Castlegar. A highlight of the convention was a tribute paid to John J. Verigan, unanimously re-elected to the position of Honorary Chairman, for his sixty years of service to the USCC and wider Doukhobor community, In addition, outgoing ISKRA editor Jim Popoff was thanked by the convention for the USCC and read in over twelve countries. Jason Harshenin, a native of Grand Forks, was introduced and welcomed by delegates as the new editor, who will assume his responsibilities at the end of March, assisted by Lisa Poznikoff from Shoreacres. The AGM also acclaimed a new USCC Executive Committee, consisting of Andrew Even, Harry Vanjoff, Fred Bojey, Andy Ozeroff and Leonard Markin (all from the West Kootenays) and Lucille Faminoff and Michael Strukoff of Grand Forks. Outgoing members Cyril Woykin and Laura Makortoff were thanked for their valuable contribution to the work of the organization. Acclaimed to the 2000 Revisory Committee were Alex Ozeroff, Peter Perepolkin and Marcia Strelaeff served ably as secretaries. Delegates and observers enjoyed three delicious meals served by the Grand Forks USCC Ladies Organization.
Editorial Borderline on the shelf There are hard decisions and then there are hard decisions. One of the second kind had to be made, and that was take the “Borderline” magazine out of production and put it on the shelf for now, so to speak. The reasons for the decision are too many and boring to mention here. Many of the stories that were being researched for the magazine will be finding their way into the up coming issues of the OpenMinder. I certainly wish to thank everyone who made commitments to advertise, write stories and help out with the Borderline idea. This area will have many new pieces of promotional material this year from the many people who are also involved in the Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee. Tourism is the fastest growing industry in British Columbia. Provincial Tourism revenues for 1998 reached $8.8 billion, an increase of $249 million over 1997. The estimates for 1999/2000 are over $9 billion. The tourism initiatives being undertaken by the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce and their Tourism Committee are well organized and directed. This committee believes that by implementing this plan to develop tourism in Grand Forks, our city, Grand Forks take a larger piece of the pie and will see economic growth, new job creation and a larger tax base for the City
Tax Tips -Did you know? Name Change! by Laverne Simpson Revenue Canada Tax Centre’s name has changed to Canada Customs and Revenue Agency effective November 1 1999. Basic increase! Effective July 1, 1999 the basic personal amounts increased to $6,794 for the 1999 taxation year and will increase to $7,131 for the 2000 taxation year.
Ten Things That It Took Me Too Many Years To Learn: 1.Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance! 2.The most powerful force in the universe is gossip. 3.The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers. 4.There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven. 5.There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.” 6.People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them. 7.If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be “meetings.” 8.The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them. 9.You should not confuse your career with your life. 10.No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously. Castlegar Citzen As this publication is going to print, so is a new paper in Castlegar, called the Castlegar Citzen. Employees of the Castlegar Sun, a Sterling chain paper, while on strike, are putting themselves back to work, but this time, it is for them selves!