Miramichi Spotlight

Miramichi, The Next Comedy Scene?

Miramichi has been the home of many important events and festivals over the years. From the Rock and Roll festivals to the Tall Ships to Irish fest and the Walter McDonald Memorial Concert, and many more. Thousands of Miramichiers gather together to celebrate this great city and what our community has to offer.

With countless bands and artist showcasing our entertainment industry in Miramichi along with big time events, myself and many like-minded individuals have felt there has always been a missing piece in the puzzle of Miramichi.

A portion of entertainment that hasn’t been touched in our great community, a thriving act that contains laughter, good times and pleasant memories, the art known as comedy.

With cities such as Fredericton and Moncton New Brunswick, the comedy scene has been thriving throughout the years with sold out shows and stand up artists coming from all over Canada to promote their acts, and to share their comedic views of the world with those who are willing to listen.

As of 2012, Fredericton, New Brunswick has been a thriving stand up comedy scene that has picked up in viewership steadily over the years. Rogers Cable TV has since picked up on the scene and has created Comedy In The City, a local televised program in Fredericton NB that features stand up comedians at various venues throughout the city, as well as exclusive interviews with local upcoming comics and national touring headliners.

Saint John NB is home to one of the most famous comedy franchises in Canada; The Yuk- Yuk International Stand up Comedy. A staple of the comedy scene that spans over 14 cities in Canada, the Yuk Yuk’s comedy franchise has been a deep root in the foundation of many well-known comedians that varies from Dave Foley, Jim Carey, Norm MacDonald to Dan Aykroyd and many more.

Miramichi is already a thriving source of entertainment but that boundary can be pushed even further through the support of our community. We could have limitless amounts of concerts, theater productions, art galleries and stand up comedy shows and events.


Recently I had the chance to sit down with local comedian Joe Butler also known as “Big Love” at our local coffee shop, Creative Grounds Cafe. Joe expressed his interest in comedy at a very young age, and wanted to assist in the creation of the comedy scene in Miramichi NB. Through devotion and working with great members of our community. Joseph is able to achieve his goal of a comedic scene in Miramichi NB.

joe 2

Joe Butler was born and raised in Miramichi NB and has been practicing comedy for the last year now. Being well-known on stage through theater productions and starring roles and playing with live bands, Joe always had his eyes set on comedy. Determine to make his mark in the comedy industry, Joe set out to perform his first show was at the Wilser Room in Fredericton New Brunswick. He recalls being Nervous as he contacted the owners of the establishment and asked to try his routine during an open mic night.

With positive vibes and a passion for comedy, Joe came out victorious that night and was one of the most highlighted acts of the show. With compliments pouring in from people in the crowd, Joe felt an over-whelming feeling of joy and accomplishment that fueled his desire to be a comedian.

Joe B: “I remember the first joke I told on stage and they laughed at it, that’s when all my nerves went away, If they wouldn’t have laughed at my first joke I would have been a wreck! But after they laughed, I knew it was going to be okay and what I wanted in life. It was an amazing feeling!”

This writer was interested and surprised to learn that a comedy show, specifically a stand up comedy act, cannot be compared to a musical concert or a theater production. That a comedy show has an entirely different viewership, an entirely different crowd.

Joe B: “Comedy is different! It’s a different platform, it’s unique! it’s not like a musician where if you make a mistake, the crowd is very forgiven because they are enjoying themselves or their dancing, even in acting, they are very forgiving. They are not forgiving in comedy! your instrument is them and if the jokes you are doing and the sounds they are doing isn’t laughter, everyone in the audience knows! Sometimes it can be very uncomfortable and awkward”

Joe shared his passion of comedy and what he wanted to give back to our community.

Joe B: “Were very fortunate enough that we have the vogue theater and a couple other great venues in Miramichi. We have had a few other comedy shows over the last couple of years but we don’t get it very often. We have such  great venues and we have all these different things but the one thing we don’t get spoiled on is comedy. I want comedy to be expected in the community. I want the scene to grow. I want to help create a comedy scene in Miramichi, that’s my main goal. I want to contribute. Creating this comedy show is my way of giving back to this great city.”

In September of 2017, The Vogue theater held its comedy debut hosted by Miramichi’s own Joe Butler featuring Shane Ogden with comedic acts by Sam Laidman and Matt Keenan. The show was a sold out performance and the talk of the town. With radio interviews and local news paper articles, Joe had achieve his dream of blossoming the comedic scene in Miramichi NB.

Comedy Show

This writer was interested to find out what local members of our creative community had to say about the blossoming boom of comedy in Miramichi NB.

I immediately spoke with the 2017 Music NB, Fan Choice Award winner; Dillon Ryan, who is an active member of the music scene in Miramichi NB. I asked Dillon what he thought of a comedy scene in Miramichi would be.

Dillon R: “Miramichi can only grow to be an arts driven city if it starts to support and encompass the idea of all different mediums. Not just music or not just painting etc There has to be a communal aspect to our city that invites all forms of arts. So I see bringing comedy into the fold as a huge positive for Miramichi”

Riley Harris of AfterSurf had this to say about the comedy scene growing in Miramichi NB

Riley H: “The Miramichi comedy scene gaining some traction – not a surprise to me. The original music scene is experiencing the same. Venues around the river are starting to really dig the original stuff again. I believe the 506 Festival being held in Miramichi last Autumn really helped that along. Miramichi deserves comedy shows – myself/everyone loves to laugh.”

I also had a chance to talk to Mayor Adam Lordon about his thoughts on the sudden boost of comedy sweeping over Miramichi.

Adam L: “It’s been great to see the comedy scene in Miramichi really coming to life lately. We’ve seen a flourish of arts and culture recently and it’s great to see comedy playing a big role in that!  Miramichiers are natural-born storytellers and have a great sense of humor. So it seems like a natural fit and it’s providing opportunities to locals to contribute on stage and behind the scenes.”

Taylor Sheasgreen of Lionsault also shared his thoughts  to the conversation.

Taylor S: “I love that there’s suddenly a comedy scene on the ‘Chi. It’s new entertainment for Miramichiers and after seeing the success of these comedy shows, we sorely needed it. Everyone owes “Big Love” Joe Butler for this and hopefully this will bring other Miramichiers out of the woodwork to pursue their passion and bring even more to the ‘Chi.”

With the support from local artists and booming venues such as the Vogue theater and Riverside Entertainment and local establishments such as O’Donaghues pub, The Well Bar, The Boulevard, etc. already helping and providing platforms for artist around Miramichi and surrounding areas, the possibility of these venues holding an open mic night for comedians could provide countless hours of entertainment and also a platform for inspiring comedians to practice their routines.


Miramichi has been slowly digging into the comedic scene for the past few years but it wasn’t until this year that comedy really began making its stride. On November 18th 2017 at 7:15 PM, The Vogue Theater will be hosting “Fishing For Laughs” featuring local comedian Jimmy Mackinley with comedic performances by Martin Saulnier and MC Matt Richardson.  The community of Miramichi is starting to see a rise of comedic shows being held in our area.

Also on December 2nd 2017 at 8:00pm, Joe Butler will be hosting another comedy act at the Vogue Theater, headlining for the show will be comedian Dan Hendricken with comedy acts by Ben McDonald and Matt Richardson. Tickets are $20 dollars and will be on sale at Creative Grounds, Millcove Coffee and can be purchased online as well.


Miramichi is a beautiful, growing city that supports its local artists, performers, musicians and of course our comedians. If Miramichi is able to grasp this comedic momentum and continue to run with it, I see the art of comedy becoming a staple of our creative community.

I would like to thank Joe Butler for taking the time out his busy schedule to talk to Modern-Typewriter, and be on the look out for an exclusive and In-depth look at comedian “Big LoveJoe Butler as he shares his stories and what thrives him to continue with his journey of being a comedian  in the future.

I would also like to thank Dillon Ryan, Riley Harris, Taylor Sheasgreen and our Mayor; Adam Lordon for providing such inspirational and positive quotes on the subject of comedy.

Thank you,

Regards

The Modern-Typewriter

Lucas Durelle

 

 

 

Miramichi Spotlight: Extra Life Miramichi with Kris Jardine

Video games have always been a rapid, growing industry with millions of people playing together. Either working together with your friends to fight the big, bad boss or going on a solo adventure, trying to over come the challenges and to accomplish completion of the game.

You may remember fondly in the early days of gaming, where siblings would fight over the better controller, friends would gather together either at the local arcade or at your best friends house. Staying up all night long and sitting comfortably on the couch with your favorite snack and a steady hand on the controller and participate in hours of fun and adventure with those closest to you.

As technology grew and modern video games became more advanced, gaming has evolved as well. With a steady internet connection and a membership to either a gaming console or a P.C. The gaming community is able to connect with millions of  other gamers across the world. For those who are passionate about gaming, services provided by streaming websites like twitch.com provides the ability to stream their game play for all the world to see.

The power of video games is growing rapidly, and with mega gaming industries creating tournaments and popular gamers gaining followers,  there is money  to be made. The average professional gamer makes around $2,000 to $5,000 dollars a month. Compare that to a top-notch professional streamer such as Pewdiepie who has reported an earning of $4 million dollars a year.

In 2008, an organization named Extra Life opened a charitable organization that helps children who are in need of medicine and medical help. In 2010, Extra Life became a prominent program with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. By 2011, Extra Life raised its first million dollars to help children in need, and by 2016, Extra Life had raised over $30+ Million dollars with the help from over 100,000 members who contributed their time and effort into the power of gaming and helping those in need.


I had the chance to sit down with Miramichi’s own Extra Life member, Kris Jardine. The founding member of Extra Life Miramichi and learn about his story and the passion that drives him.

Kris Jardine, who is also known in the gaming community as SnaggleJ, a  member of our community, is more than just a passionate gamer with a cause. He is a husband and a father of two. He is able to use the power of gaming to help kids and the families in medical need of the services that is provided by the I.W.K

Kris and Kids

Kris Jardine (SnaggleJ) With His Two Children

I asked Kris what extra life was all about!

Kris: Extra Life 4 Kids is a charity that benefits Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. It was founded in 2008, and since that time, gamers have raised over $30 million dollars. The premise of the charity is simple: sign up, pick a hospital and play games for 24-hours to help raise money and bring awareness to such an awesome cause. Some people play video games or board games, some people stream their games on YouTube or Twitch and some people just gather friends and family, but the spirit is the same. Use video games as a tool to have fun and raise money for kids.

Kris Informed me that he chosen to donate the proceeds to the IWK children’s hospital as his hospital of choice.

Kris: ” it’s an Atlantic Canadian staple. You don’t have to ask around very far to find someone who has needed their help and services at some point, and while I have been blessed with a healthy family, others have needed the IWK to get them through tough times. It was an easy choice”

The IWK has helped millions of families through its years of service. With top-notch staff and employees, The hospital is able to provide not only a sense of comfort but a sense of security and compassion during those times of medical need.  This writer could fill in page after page on what the IWK does and how it has helped not only my family, but the families all across Atlantic Canada and I would like to personally thank Kris and his team for choosing such an amazing organization. Thank you.


Kris went on to inform me that he was always interested in online gaming and streaming his game play. Being an active gamer for years, Kris informed me that It wasn’t until last year that he became an active member of Extra Life.

Kris: “I had seen other gamer friends of mine participate in Extra Life before and one day, one of them showed me how easy it was to sign up and get to work. I was hooked right away because gaming has always been a passion of mine. What Extra Life allowed me to do was put that passion to work and to show my 7 and 5-year-old children that no matter what you like to do in your life, you can use it for the power of good and to help other people”.

As I stated previously, Extra life has raised over 30+ Million dollars for children and families in medical need. Kris provided some stats from his first year with Extra Life.

Kris: “Last year I personally raised $477, and our team raised $5700. My goal, personally for this year is $1000”

Kris also informed me that 100% of the proceeds from Extra life goes directly to those who are in need.

“Because Extra Life is a Children’s Miracle Network initiative, they have an underwriting in place so 100% of the money donated goes to the hospital the participant supports. There are over 150 CMN hospitals in Canada, the US and Puerto Rico that are part of the program.”

With the 24 hour stream day approaching on November 11th to 12th at 9:00 am, I asked Kris how many hours does he take out of his busy schedule to practice gaming and to prepare for the upcoming event.

Kris: “Even though stream day is only once a year, I usually spend an hour or two a week talking to other Extra Lifers in the community, talking to developers about possible donations and working on the social media side of things. As November gets closer, I will often spend around 5 hours a week working on making sure I have everything in place for stream day.”

On November 11th to 12th, starting at 9:00 am. Kris will be participating in a 24 hour live stream of multiple video games being played by himself and his team. All proceeds raised during that stream will go to the IWK through the Extra Life Miramichi Division.

If you are interested in more on Extra Life Miramichi, the Facebook page can be found here. Feel free to message the page for more information.

His live stream can be found on twitch and if your feeling generous and would like to donate to the Extra Life organization, the link can be found here.

Thank you Kris for sitting down with Modern-Typewriter to talk about your passion as a gamer and the noble cause that you and your team supports.

From the millions of families that the IWK has helped as well my own family, Thank you for choosing the IWK as your choice for charity.

We look forward to watching you live on Twitch on November 11th to 12th 2017.

Thank you

Regards

The Modern Typewriter

Lucas Durelle

 

Miramichi Spotlight: Adam Lordon

In November of 2016. The people of Miramichi elected and voted for the youngest mayor in our city; Adam Lordon. While you are able to find hundreds of articles and briefings on his political standings and his agendas. I notice there wasn’t much on the man himself. Who he is and what he enjoys in life and the passion and energy he carries not only for himself but for our community here in Miramichi.

On August 19th, 2017. I had the chance to sit down with Adam at Creative Grounds Cafe, A small local coffee shop that loudly voices creativity in our community. Once the coffee was ordered and introductions were made, I began to ask Adam who he was and what his passions were for this city.


Adam Lordon was born on August 2nd 1984. He is a local grown boy, who grew up on the Gordon road in Miramichi. A former student of James M Hill High school and raised by his single mother Nancy Lordon. As a youth, He spoke fondly of riding his bike with his friends and playing road hockey with the neighborhood children.

In High school, Adam was very involved in student council, drama and different clubs. He spoke briefly about his time playing hockey in high school.

Adam: “I think I knew at a very young age, that I had no illusions that I was going to the NHL but I stuck playing hockey at semi competitively level though high school mostly for the comradery with friends and my mom was a die-hard hockey mom! You enjoy the road trips and stuff and when we were younger, hockey was all that we had back then!.”

After high school. Adam took charge of his life and he was accepted to Saint Mary’s University in Halifax Nova Scotia.  He earned a degree in business and majored in Marketing and ended up spreading the four-year degree over five years while working two jobs during those years to be able to afford for his education. While at university he was actively involved with his school, by not only being an event coordinator with the student union but also being a resident assistant for a few years.

Adam informed me about his uneasiness about leaving Miramichi for University in Halifax Nova Scotia, He was very nervous at first. Coming from a smaller city into a diverse area like Nova Scotia can be shocking to anyone at such a young age but as he started getting comfortable in Nova Scotia, he bravely made his way to Toronto to experience life in a bigger way.

Adam: ” I went to Halifax relativity sheltered I guess, we didn’t travel much as a kid, only during summer I guess but I hadn’t really left the maritime until I was 17-18 years old. Going from Miramichi to Halifax was quite a big change. The first year of university, I hardly left campus and while Saint Mary’s is a small campus, you eventually spread your wings.  After being in Nova Scotia for five years, I went to Toronto, and Halifax didn’t feel so big anymore.  Toronto felt so incredibly, infinitely large when I first got there but over time it became a community and I loved it!

University and College is an amazing time in a person’s life. Not only is your mind open to new ideas and suggestions but also you get to meet like-minded individuals who share a common interest. I asked Adam what he loved about his time during university.

Adam: “University was just an incredible experience and opens your mind, you get to experience different people, cultures and different view points and different ideas. When you’re exposed to diversity, it’s stimulating and being fascinated with people and cultural backgrounds. It was simply great to meet new people and have some fun.”

 

Toronto Photo taken by Adam Lordon

Photo Taken by Adam Lordon

When first arriving in Toronto, Adam arrived with a business degree in hand and drifted from job to job but it wasn’t until he realized that being in the heart of Toronto, he could live his dream job of working in Media and Television.

Adam: “Living in Miramichi, My dream was to always work in Media or on Television but it didn’t feel tangible, but as soon as I got to Toronto and realized that I could work in media, I applied for a post-graduate course at Humber College in television writing and producing and I got in and then I had to decided if I was going to go or not and I just finished my degree and I had a pretty good job by the standards that it paid well but I didn’t love it and I thought it was one of those moments, one of those decision moments in life where you ask yourself, If i don’t do this, I will wonder for the rest of my life..What if? and I didn’t want that regret. I knew that I needed and wanted to try that out. It was an obvious right choice”

After studying at Humber College in Toronto, Adam Lordon interned at MTV Canada and got his first job at “So You Think You Can Dance Canada” As a driver. He began to tell me in a humorous way that his primary job was to drive around dancers in a Mini-Van. After a shared laugh, Adam went on to explain how the entertainment industry works.

Adam: It’s one of those industries where you start at the bottom and work your way up and you have to prove yourself and work hard.”

From driving dancers in a mini-van, Adam worked his way through the industry as a Production Coordinator. Production Assistant. Audience Coordinator then over to the creative side of the network. Adam went onto explain that it took two to three years of proving his self-worth to the media industry before moving over to the Marilyn Dennis Show for the next 5 years.

Adam: “When I moved into the Marilyn Dennis show, is where I spent five years inside the network on C.T.V and that’s where I really moved up quickly because it was a new show and like a start-up business,  you’re really trying to figure out what works, who works, where do they work. I was fortunate at that show because there was so much turnover because it wasn’t right for them. I was able to move from coordinating and the logistics parts of the show into more of the creative side to produce and direct and I was good at it and they kept giving me more. So I moved up there pretty quickly. It was an amazing experience.

The Marilyn Dennis show is a mix of lifestyle and entertainment segments featuring experts and celebrity guests. Being unfamiliar with the Marilyn Dennis show, I asked Adam what it was and what he loved about working on a national network show.

Adam: ” The show is a lifestyle show and it crosses over a lot of different subject areas! food segments, home improvement and decor, fashion, gardening and outdoors, adventures, health and if your only working on one of these areas it can be repetitive but because there was such a broad subject matter I was able to work in a different areas and was able to work with many different people like Mike Holmes for home improvements.

Despite meeting and working with a lot of celebrity people, Adam strongly remembers the people that he met from day-to-day during his time on the Marilyn Dennis show. I asked Adam what segments he was apart of during those five years on a National Network show.

Adam: “A lot of what I did was home make overs and yard make overs. All the people that we chose for stories and make overs really had their own story to tell. We were always choosing people who were in need of help. If we could help someone, that’s the goal.

Adam shared one of his greatest moment that he fondly remembers while working on the Marilyn Dennis show.

Adam: ” We did a Christmas special for the network where a 4-year-old boy survived leukemia and he had been going to the hospital over the previous Christmas doing treatments. So we surprised him and turned his entire house into the North Pole! We had real reindeer in his driveway and the Hamilton Tiger Cats were the elves and there was thousands of lights on the house. That! is the ultimate most fulfilling experience. Making this incredible memory for this 4 year old boy with cancer and his family will forever be one of the highlights of my career!

After Adam shared his story and wiped a tear from his eye, I could tell that this was a man filled with humanity and compassion. A man who sees the world in a lighter light.


After some small talk about Modern-Typewriter. We moved onto his life outside of being a producer/director and the Mayor of Miramichi. While down time and moments of relaxation does not come often to his busy life, Adam shared his hobbies and interest outside of work.

Adam: ” The rare moments that I actually have downtime, I enjoy cooking, I really do! but also I just love being outside, I love to go hiking and going to the beach, just relaxing and hanging out with the amazing friends I have made.”

Earlier in the article, I mentioned that Adam didn’t travel much during his youth, but fortunately by working hard and being determined, he was able to travel and experience the world through the Marilyn Dennis show but ultimately he credits one person for his sense of travel; His mom.

Adam: I have to give credit to my mom for this! When I was in High School, they had this thing called travel club and Mr.Cameron was the teacher adviser, and a lot of my friends were going and I remember Mom felt it was really important to go on this trip and to get a sense of the world out there. So between grade 11 and 12 we went to southern Europe and we did Spain, southern France and Italy.

Adam went back to Europe years later with colleagues from university and explored even more from London England to Ireland making his way to Sweden Denmark, Germany Berlin and finished his trip at Oktoberfest.


As we sat in that coffee shop talking about life and personal achievements, I noticed throughout the conversation Adam talked a lot about a certain individual who has a close place in his heart; His mom. Nancy Lordon.

Adam:It’s no question that my mom represents to me the definition of selflessness. Putting other people first and I will never be as good as it as her, she will always be the role model that I inspire to be. If I can be as half as compassionate as my mom then I know that I would be in a good place. Shes my hero. I take all my cues from her.

Nancy Lordon was an executive assistant in the administration department at the Miramichi Regional Hospital. She also sat on Miramichi City Council and was the first female deputy mayor in Miramichi.

In the summer of 2014, Adam’s world was shaken when his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and in the fall of 2014, she had passed away from her battles with cancer.

Adam Lordon Nancy Lordon

Adam Lordon and his mother Nancy Lordon on set at the Marilyn Dennis Show.

With a Nancy Lordon council seat vacant, Adam stood up and campaigned to take over his mothers position on city council, to not only honor her name but to finish what she had begun. Adam Lordon won in a by-election from 2015 to 2016 then ran again in 2016 for city council and won with the most votes to become the deputy mayor. He ran in 2016 for the position of Mayor of Miramichi and won with the most votes.

Adam Lordon Mayor

Adam Lordon being sworn in for Mayor of Miramichi. New Brunswick.

In a span of 18 months, Adam Lordons life had changed from one extreme to another and while many would find this hard to believe, Adam focuses all his energy and passion into not only living life to the fullest but also lending a helping hand in creating and developing a greater Miramichi each and every day.

 


I asked Adam what his favorite memory of his mother was and as I watched Adam take a deep breath and really ponder the question that I had asked. I could tell right away that his mind was filled with pleasant memories of his mother and I was grateful and lucky enough to hear what his greatest memory of his mom was.

Adam:  There are so many but… When I was in Toronto and my mom came to visit me, it was the first time she ever came. I took her out for a 5 hour walk through Toronto and she was a good sport about it and being myself, I expanded her mind. My life allowed her to broaden her horizon, She came to Toronto, she came to a taping of the Marilyn Show and got her picture with Marilyn. And when Marilyn Dennis was telling my mom how much she loves me and how much she appreciates me, I knew that was a great moment for my mom.

Adam shared a fond memory which he truly believes is one of his mother’s greatest achievements.

Adam: “The other moment was when she had won her first election with the most votes to become deputy mayor and that was the happiest I have ever saw my mom! It was a moment, and I believe the only moment in her life that was actually about her and that’s why I loved it so much, It couldn’t be about anyone else but her!”

Adam Lordon and His Mom

Adam Lordon sitting with mother Nancy Lordon


As we finished our coffees and were about to part ways, I asked Adam what his vision of Miramichi is and I’m going to end the article with his quote because I believe that together as a community, we can easily achieve this dream to turn it into an actual reality.

Adam Lordon: “I think we need to be the best version of ourselves. We have to be authentic, we have to be who we are. we have to take the best of us and always carry that with us but also we need to grow, evolve and change. My vision for Miramichi is a thriving beautiful waterfront city. We are artistically vibrant, we are culturally vibrant. Miramichi is built around small businesses and entrepreneurs and also tourism. We accept everybody, its foundational.  Being apart of an open and inclusive community, we have to embrace all cultures, all backgrounds, all religions. The progress we have made for the past two years as a community has been phenomenal! When you move here, you are a Miramichier!

I would like to thank Adam Lordon for taking the time out of his busy schedule and for showing interest in such a small thing like Modern Typewriter. I believe our city is in good hands and I know the good-hearted people of Miramichi believes that as well.

Thank you

Regards

The Modern-Typewriter

Lucas Durelle

 

 

Miramichi Spotlight: Miramichi S.P.C.A

Over the past week, I have expressed some interest in a local non-profit organization that does everything it can for the animals of our community. An organization that provides a safe and temporary shelter for animals who are waiting to be adopted in a loving and caring home.

The Miramichi SPCA is one organization that deserves all the attention it can get and as a community we should stand behind our local non-profits because without the men and women who give up hours of their own time by volunteering and devoting their lives to helping the community then our own community would be a lot more colder.

I recently spoke with Jennifer A. The woman behind the Miramichi SPCA, being apart of the SPCA since 2008, she took on the role of manager in 2014 and has been a unstoppable force and voice for the animals of our community.

Jennifer: “The Miramichi SPCA is an animal shelter. We house abandoned, abused, unwanted and stray animals. We give them a place to temporarily call home until they find a family to love them. We provide a place to sleep, food to eat, toys to play with, medical care and love until a family comes forward.”

The Miramichi SPCA has been in this community for over 18 years and is a no-kill shelter and is directly funded by one small grant through the city and through multiple fundraising in the community. The Miramichi SPCA is in no affiliation with NBSPCA and is a completely stand alone shelter for animals.

Jennifer: ” We want people to know that we are a completely separate organization from the NBSPCA. Although our names sound the same, we do not share the same responsibilities or money. They do not fund our shelter in any way. They strictly do animal cruelty and neglect investigations. They inspect our shelter once a year to give us a license to operate.”

Without recognition or funding from the province, the staff at Miramichi SPCA has to constantly battle the tides of closure by running multiple fundraising events and community awareness.

I was shocked to learn that it cost approximately $7,000 to $10,000 dollars a month to run the Miramichi SPCA which is $120,000 dollars a year for basic necessities such as hydro, food, salaries, etc and over $2,000 to 4,000 dollars a month for veterinarian bills alone which can add up to close to $50,000 dollars in itself. You can now see why it is predominantly important for our community to rally together in order to help our local Miramichi SPCA when fundraising is available.

Jennifer: “Fundraising is an ongoing struggle as well. To find fresh ideas people will respond to but are also budget, time and volunteer friendly is hard. We have our Kitty Kash draw now, but we also do things like BBQ’s at local businesses. Online auctions, bake sales, Pet Pictures with Santa, raffles. We also are fortunate enough to partner with such wonderful people who help us hold fundraisers or even do them on our own. We have several businesses and individuals who come up with creative ways to help us raise money all the time and we are so thankful to everyone! We invite people to watch our Facebook page and website for upcoming events”

(A few selected photos of fundraising over the past years)


Over the past year, The Miramichi SPCA came up with an excellent fundraising idea called “Kitty Kash” a weekly 50/50 draw paid with 2 dollars, half of the proceeds goes to the winner and the other half goes to the Miramichi SPCA to aid in the efforts of raising and housing healthy and adoptable pets for families willing to adopt.

Kitty Kash Draw

Kitty Kash Creative Draw Box

Jennifer: “Kitty Kash is another fundraising effort we are trying. It’s a 50/50 draw. We seen how successful some of the other non profits have been with toonie draws and thought why not give it a try! You register by filling out a registration card, deposit the half with your information into our Kitty Kash box. You keep the other half for your records. You write your registration number on one of the white dots located on the Kitty Kash box, stick the dot on your toonie and put your toonie in the box. You play the same number every week. Deadline to play each week is Wednesday at 3:00 pm. Kitty Kash box locations along with past winners, rules and regulations and how to play can be found on our website at www.spcamiramichi.com
We are very pleased with the Kitty Kash fundraiser and hope we can continue to watch it grow every week. This week the winner received $846!!”

The Miramichi SPCA is currently located at 128 Dan Cripps Street in Miramichi. Although the facility is a decent size, I asked Jennifer if the situation was different and if money wasn’t an issue, would the Miramichi SPCA relocate to a bigger facility?

Jennifer: “We would absolutely love to relocate to a bigger, better building if we had the chance. However a bigger building would mean more animals which would mean bigger bills and more staff to care for the additional animals. Struggling to survive now, we don’t see this ever happening but I try to remain optimistic, you just never know what the future holds!”

While I truly believe that even though the SPCA is struggling to keep its doors open, I strongly believe with not only the optimism of Jennifer and her staff but the generosity of our community and a constant push from those who care about the Miramichi SPCA, that we, as a community can join together in a never ending effort to keep the Miramichi SPCA fully operational.

(Miramichi SPCA house animals from dogs to cats, rabbits and small rodents)


With a facility at full capacity, I asked Jennifer what measures are put into place if there is no more room for new animals.

Jennifer: “We serve a very large area. Our building fills up quickly because we are a no kill shelter. It is impossible to be able to help every animal due to building size restrictions, money limitations, etc. We do our best to offer advice to people when we can not take an animal. We have a waiting list for animals that need to be surrendered. We ask that people try to find homes for the animals through Facebook, Kijiji, etc. Or they may try shelters in other areas such as Bathurst or Moncton.”


In order to make room for new animals, The Miramichi SPCA currently has animals ready to be adopted by loving and caring families or individuals who seek companionship. Jennifer went on to explain the adoption process and how it works.

Jennifer: “Anyone wanting to adopt an animal must complete an adoption application. Some qualifications are: we must speak to the homeowner if you are renting (landlord, family member, etc) Animals already in your home must be spayed/neutered unless there is a valid reason. The animal chosen must suit the family (a very nervous cat will not do well in a loud rambunctious home). We look at past pet ownership. The person must be willing to provide veterinary care for the animal’s life. It’s all common sense stuff. Once the person is approved they must sign a contract and pay the adoption fee for the animal.”

Adoption Fees

Miramichi SPCA Adoption Fees

Even though running the Miramichi SPCA can be hard at times, I am inspired by Jennifer and her staffs commitment and dedication and optimism to not only this community but for the animals in our community who cannot speak for themselves. The animals that have been left behind, that have been forgotten or unwanted, that are struggling with illness can be treated and loved by the amazing staff at Miramichi SPCA.

Jennifer: “If there is one thing I have learned in all my years at the shelter it’s to take things day by day. To remain optimistic. We have a very dedicated staff who care for this shelter as if it’s their own family. Our whole group including our board of directors will face each challenge as it comes. In a perfect world we will be bigger, and better and helping even more animals in the future”

Anyone in our community can get involve with the Miramichi SPCA  through many things, I asked Jennifer what can the community do besides fundraising to lend a helping hand?

Jennifer: “Want to be involved with the shelter? Come see us. There are so many ways you can become involved. You can adopt, foster, volunteer, fund-raise, or join our board of directors. Stop by the shelter Tuesday to Saturday between 12-4, give us a call at 622-0645, email us at sheltermanager@spcamiramichi.com or check us out on Facebook. We’ll be happy tell you how you can become involved. We love meeting new people and telling them what we’re all about!”

The Miramichi SPCA is a one of a kind facility in our community, with a dedicated staff and manager, I believe great things can be done by these kind, caring people and with the constant support of local businesses and members of our community, I feel we can ease the minds of those who are constantly battling to keep Miramichi SPCA afloat. While at times, it may seem like the organization is asking a lot from the community, we have to remember what this organization is doing for our community in return, Providing a temporary safe, friendly and caring shelter for the animals of our community that have no other place to go. Feel free to stop in the SPCA and lend a hand, even if it’s for an afternoon or a few hours of your day. Stop and see all the cute fur faces that fill the Miramichi SPCA and thank your local volunteer groups for putting in the time and effort to keep Miramichi the amazing community it is!

I would like to thank Jennifer for taking the time and answering my questions and feel free to check out their Facebook Page and their Official Website as well.

Thank you.

Regards.

The Modern-Typewriter.

Lucas Durelle.

 

 

 

 

Miramichi Spotlight: Over The Cove Zip-Line

Are you ready for Miramichi’s most newest and exciting attraction? An experience that not only allows you to take in the beautiful view of our local French fort cove park and river but also a thrilling, adrenaline rushed experience that can be enjoyed over and over again? Then you need to check out the second longest zip-line in New Brunswick, Over The Cove Zip-line. A fast two-line adrenaline filled ride which travels directly above Miramichi’s famous French Fort Cove park. The zip-line is approximately 100 feet above the water and gives a bird eye view of the beauty and stunning environment of French Fort Cove.

Recently I had the opportunity to meet Patrick and Shauna Hiemstra. The Family that runs Over the Cove Zip-line.  Shauna’s Father; Milton Steward created and spearheaded Over the Hill Zip-Line.

Shauna H: “We are the owners/operators of Over the Hill Zip-line which is located just outside of Miramichi. We’ve been open for seven years at that location, and the City of Miramichi approached us last year with questions regarding the construction and operation of a Zipline as they looked in to the possibility of creating one within city limits.”

French Fort Cove is a multi season park with walking, hiking and biking trails. Along with a fully operated children’s playground, French Fort Cove also offers it’s visitors a chance to test their courage during the months of July and August by offering a popular event called Dare the Dark with the Headless Nun adventure. during the winter months, French Fort cove also holds annual pond hockey tournaments for the community.


I was surprised to learn that before Over The Cove Zip-line was built. The Hiemstra family ran Over The Hill Zip-Line and it was initially  was a hobby for the Hiemstra Family until they were asked by the city of Miramichi to build one for French Fort Cove.

20170729_183421(0)

Shauna H: “When we originally built our first zip-line it was just for family use, for the kids to play on. We didn’t realize at the time that it was longer than any other zip-lines in the province. From there, we built a small business on it. We were always thinking bigger and better, and many discussions around the family supper table were had about the amazing zip-line we could have over French Fort Cove, all we needed was the city’s approval.”

Over The Cove Zip-Line was opened on July 27th/, 2017 which an impressive turn out of over 120 people the first day, over 140 people the second day and over a 180 people the third day and each day the numbers get higher!

Over The Cove Zip-Line is open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM on weekends and holidays as well as 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM throughout the week. For children the ages of 18 and under or seniors over the age of 55, The price of admission is $15.00 dollars and $20.00 dollars for Adults which is reasonably priced if you were to compare other zip-lines such as Treego Moncton or Zig Zag Canada Zip-lining.


As I followed Patrick H up the winding stairs to the first line, he informed me that the first zip-line is about one thousand and fifty feet long which is over 320 meters and the second zip-line is twelve hundred and fifty  feet long which over 380 meters long. As we stood there for a second, I couldn’t help but be memorized by the beautiful view of French Fort Cove Park as the sun danced across the water. It was perfect.

Over The Cove Zip-Line 

Over The Cove Zip-Line

We made our way back down the stairs and headed towards the second ramp to check out the second line. As we were walking, I asked Patrick where the interest for a zip-line came from

Patrick H: “My Father-In-law built a zip-line up river for the grand kids, it started out as something small but then it turned into a business called Over the Hill Zip-line and after running that for about six years, he was approached by the city on how they would build one for french fort cove. so we took some plans to the city and we made this and this is just the beginning!”

Patrick H shared with me that they wish to expand the zip-line by either adding more or doing something entirely different which is very exciting news for Miramichi.

While meeting Patrick H, He shared an amazing video of himself and his 2 and half-year old son trying out over the cove zip-line which lead the question, Is there an age limit?

Patrick H: “We have no age limit! We have harnesses for toddlers, and we have already had many seniors enjoy the ride. As for weight, our max is 275lbs. Single rider minimum weight is 100lbs – any less than that, and the child attaches tandem with an adult.”


Over The Cove Zip-Line  Rules

Over The Cove Zip-Line Rules and Regulations

Safety is the number one priority for the Over The Cove Zip-Line team! With high safety protocols and constant testing and fine tuning, you can guarantee a safe and enjoyable experience!

Shauna H: “Our safety precautions began with our gear – we use lanyards, harnesses, wheels and helmets – and the majority of those are rated to hold 20 kilonewtons – which is OVER 4000 pounds! We have no concerns about our gear being able to “hold” the weight of someone. The second safety precaution came with staff training. Although most of them are young people, we trained them extensively, always stressing safety. Staff training began weeks before the zip-line opened. A lot of us have been working at the other location, acquiring 7 years of experience, but the new staff has put in many hours, first at the Lyttleton location, and then at this location before opening. We train them with a hands-on approach, after being shown how to, and experiencing the zip-line for themselves, they then learned how to perform at each different function. The newer staff are all eager, bright young men and women, who have all caught on quickly to our safety standards and instructions. They communicate via radios, and no rider gets put on the zip-line without staff verifying that the other end is ready for them. Many of our staff have First Aid certification, as well as the “Working At Heights” certification.”

Weight requirements tend to change due to the weather of each day, when high wind is present it creates a stopping force for riders, pushing against them which is corrected by adding more weight to the rider by riding in pairs. Regardless of what the sign says at the booth. The minimum weight restriction can be altered by the day if need too, in order to ensure maximum safety for riders and the team at Over The Cove Zip-Line would like to apologize for the confusion

Shauna H: “When people don’t meet our minimum, they risk having their momentum stop short of the landing deck. It is fairly minor, and a quick “rescue” for the customer, but it is a lot of extra heavy labor for our employees. When we have a customer who is not able to meet our minimum weight requirement, we simply pair them up – child with parent, siblings or friend groups. If ever there is a rider who doesn’t have a buddy, we have friendly staff who will accompany them! To riders that are just barely above the requirement, we suggest that they run off the platform, to gain that extra boost of speed.”

To make note of as well, The landing can be a little frightening for some people, in that it is an abrupt stop, a snap noise, and a little bit of a jerk – Shauna H made a point to inform their customers that they are trying to get better at explaining that to each person and that it’s all about the experience.

Over The Cove Zip-Line Signature Braking System

Over The Cove Zip-Line Signature Braking System

With all safety measures in place, Patrick also informed this writer that the structures are well-engineered. Miramichi’s City engineers worked alongside the design team as well as the construction team and a lot of testing was completed before any human was able to ride across the zip-line for the first time.

Over The Cove Zip-Line is an amazing experience and fun for the whole family, no matter the age, the team at Over The Cove Zip-Line will accommodate any request that is possible in order to ensure a safe, adrenaline thrilled family fun adventure for your family. Feel free to check out Over The Cove Zip-Line and say hello to the friendly staff at French Fort Cove and you can check out their Official Facebook Page here! I would like to thank the Hiemstra family for being so opening and willing to answer my questions! I believe it is safe to say thank you to the Hiemstra Family and everyone involved in Over The Cove Zip-Line for bringing such a great idea and fun-filled adventure to our great city Miramichi!

Thank you

Regards

The Modern-Typewriter

Lucas Durelle

 

 

 

 

 

Miramichi Spotlight: Escape Miramichi

Are you ready for a fun-filled adventure? one that can boggle your mind and flare up your frustrations! Are you ready to team up with your friends and put your collective minds together and attempt to escape a locked room in under an hour?  If your feeling up for a fun date night or a good time with your friends , you need to check out Escape Miramichi! A place where you can work together with your closest friends and co-workers to race against the clock and out your minds together and escape one of the 4 rooms!

I had the pleasure of meeting Kim H ,Jacqueline P and Samantha F. the masterminds behind Escape Miramichi for an interview with Modern-typewriter!

Since the announcement of Escape Miramichi last year, I heard nothing but good things from co-workers and friends about how exciting and thrilling it is to participate in one of the rooms held at Escape Miramichi. I was shocked when I asked the group how Escape Miramichi was created and founded and was immediately impressed by the determination of these women to keep their organizations alive.

Kim H: “In 2014, a group of non profits got together and formed Change Miramichi, 5 organizations that are working together to raise funds to help each other in their efforts. When we began fundraising, we wanted to do something bigger! What we ended up with was  Miramichi Escape! The five groups tallied their resources, took the money we made for the first year we were together and we opened Escape Miramichi. So the 5 organizations are running the escape room plus our own non for profits at the same time.”

I would like to take a moment to include that Non-Profit organizations are the back bone in a structural society. Many non-profit organizations are run by a committee of people who are simply trying to improve the life of the community around them and sacrifice a lot of time and devotion to aid the community. In Canada alone, non-profit organizations employ over 2 million people. I asked Kim what were the five non-for profit organizations that ran Escape Miramichi

Kim H: “Volunteer Miramichi, Camp Sheldrake, Miramichi Youth House, Glenelg Youth Alliance and the Miramichi SPCA”


Inspired by their admiration and devotion to the community of miramichi. I sat back and listened to what these women had to say about their organizations outside of Escape Miramichi.

Since 2014, Kim H has been working with Change Miramichi; A collective group of non-profit organizations who have joined together to raise funds and promote positive change within the Miramichi. Jacqueline P works on behalf of Camp Sheldrake ; A non-profit camp that runs eight weekly programs through July and August for children and youth from ages of 8-17 and provides the youth of Miramichi memorable experiences in camping! Samantha F works on behalf of the Miramichi Youth House; A positive environment that assist at risk youth. Allowing the youth to grow up in a stable and healthy environment.

Unfortunately the other two women were not able to attend the interview but I was able to find out who they were and their roles in the community.  Karen A runs the Glenelg Youth Alliance and Jennifer A who runs the local S.P.C.A;  A private and independent non-profit organization that provides a safe and nurturing environment to stray animals.

These five organizations are working tirelessly together to keep their own organizations afloat. With a 20 dollar entry fee per person, each ticket sold at Escape Miramichi is actually benefiting own community by providing funding to these five non for profit organizations.


With collective minds, the group of women have done extensive research in other escape rooms in places like Fredericton and Moncton to help inspire their creativity in creating an escaped room. I asked Kim how many escape rooms were available to participate in

Kim H: “Right now we have 4 rooms running plus we have a mobile unit that we can take to festivals and events! Each room is an hour-long and the mobile room is 15 minutes.”

With the Tall-ship festival over the past weekend here in Miramichi, The girls created a pirate themed escape room! 20170713_165449

Kim: “Our newest room is pirates treasure that we opened up last weekend during the Tall ship Festival. We have Virus, Cabin Fever and Down the rabbit hole. Down The Rabbit Hole is our longest running room and is probably going to be the next one we will close.”

I asked Kim what “Down the Rabbit Hole was about?”

Kim H: “Your essentially Alice in wonderland!, and your going down the rabbit hole and its all Alice and wonderland themes with the tea party and everything!”

20170713_170531

Samantha went onto explain the next room called Virus!

20170713_170254

Samantha: “Virus is about, the city of Miramichi has been taken over by a virus and your objective is to find the antidote!. So you have to put different chemical components together to find the solution that is ultimately going to save yourself and your friends!”

The Last room is entitled “Cabin Fever”

Kim H: “Cabin fever; your essentially in the mountains and in a cabin and there’s an avalanche and your stuck in the cabin! so you have to figure out where you are so you can radio for help..”
Samantha F: “It’s based around coordinated and survival!”

20170713_170738

The Girls expressed interest in generation 2 to include and Host Birthday Parties and to create a kid friendly room!


I was provided with statistical evidence on the rate of escape for each room.

Sam: ” Virus would have a 32% escape rate…Cabin would have a 30% escape rate..Down the Rabbit hole has a 46% rate and Pirate treasure is too new to figure out!

The Girls were confident that I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to escape or leak clues when I started exploring each room and I have to say, They were right!

Kim H: “You can walk into the room and you’re not going to figure out 1 thing!, the rooms are very bare you really have to think

Samantha F: “The Game is really focused on critical thinking and working as a team”

Jacqueline P: “It’s risk taking! When you go into the room, you really have no clue what to do, there’s no starting point!”

Creating a room can be very difficult and challenging, Kim added a humorous note when asked how a room was created

Kim H: “I always say, oh my god, a bunch of middle age women working together creating escape rooms! how did this happen?”

After a shared laugh, she continued to explain the process of creating an escape room!

Kim H: “When it comes to themes, we build the room around the props that are available. “

Although Escape Miramichi is a fun-filled adventure, there have been incidents where participants have been rowdy and asked to leave

Samantha F: “One issue we have run into is people being destructive to the rooms, tearing down the walls, I don’t know if when there in there and the frustration is mounting and they can’t escape on their own and they figure they are going to deconstruct the room to escape!”It’s not survival, it’s about critical thinking!

Kim also added that during the clean up of each room, One item is almost always found.

Kim H: ” When they are going into the room to reset them, they often find hair clips or bobby pins on the floor to pick the locks! We ask participants not to do that because it takes away from the fun of the game and also could potentially damage the props as well!”

Escape Miramichi has a promotion right now until August 10th where you can purchase 3 tickets and receive a fourth for free!

Escape Miramichi is an amazing night of fun-filled adventure! so get your friends together and attempt to beat the clock and escape one of the 4 rooms! and remember with every ticket purchased, you are helping your local non-profit organizations that keep our city and our communities alive.

I would like to thank Kim H, Samantha F and Jacqueline P for sitting down with Modern typewriter and expressing interest in the article!

Thank You

Regards

The Modern-Typewriter

Lucas Durelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miramichi Spotlight: Gig & Groove

You want the latest updates on your favorite local musicians? A place where you can find all the latest gigs, artist info and stunning photos of all your local celebrities and everything in that matter with just a few simple clicks? If there is something musical happening on Miramichi, You can bet your ass that the first place you will hear about it, is through Gig & Groove.

Throughout the course of Modern-Typewriter, I have talked to many local musicians and there is always one name that gets thrown my way to do an interview with, and that name is Wynn Curtis! While I was searching through Facebook, I came across his page called Gig & Groove and was immediately amazed by all the hard work and effort that Wynn has put into his magazine.

I published my first article on Dillon Ryan and was immediately messaged by Wynn Curtis and was complimented on my writing styles, I was amazed and flattered that such a well established writer took the time to contact me. Naturally I began chatting with Wynn about Gig & Groove and if he was interested in doing a spotlight piece, sure enough he said yes.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to meet at the time due to conflicting schedules, so we had our interview conducted over messaging.

To kick things off, I asked Wynn what G&G is all about?

Wynn: “G&G was officially born on Nov 23, 2015, after a couple of years of writing about & promoting original gigs through my own personal FB page, we went onto creating a Facebook mag page that’s aimed at individuals on the move, socially and in their way of thinking. It’s a gig info page, both for artists and for people looking where their favorite artists are gigging.

G&G is set up to promote the art of music. I find it inspiring. So I want to help to get “the word” out there. G&G is also a forum for passionate writers of gigs & music releases, experiences, etc. to get their written word “out there” for all interested readers to see.

I love to write about & photograph artists so the above was my initial idea. But it’s sort of taken on a life of its own, due to what’s available, material-wise, money-wise and time-wise.”

Jack B (operator of Music Miramichi) gave me the final push to get G&G up and going, during a “gigs ideas think tank meeting” that he & I had in the Fall of 2015. The “Downtown Live” series was also conceived out of that meeting”

Downtown Live was a series of original artists showcases that happened over the Winters of 2016 & 2017. In total, over 20 bands & artists played the Saturday night gigs.


After searching through post history and noticing numerous notifications from G&G, I was shocked to find out that for the time being, Wynn Curtis is the sole contributor to  G&G.

Wynn: “Unfortunately, for the time being…. Yes, it’s only I that runs G&G, with a bit of assistance from my partner, Sandra S, from time to time. The initial idea to draw in a group of writers & photographers together as a like-minded team didn’t really take off. But G&G has intermittently shown the works of photographers such as Doug M & Sandra S. And written word by Dre P, Modern Typewriter, Sound Bites, Dillon Ryan & Terry W, in the past, to name a few.”

Wynn also added that even though G&G is solely ran by himself and is very time-consuming, It is his passion and he puts forth the effort that G&G deserves.

Wynn: “I know it doesn’t look like it but, like being a hard-working artist, G&G is a non-stop gig. Our week typically starts about 5-6 am, Monday. Paddy Q could back me on that one, I’m sure!. F**k knows I bug him enough. Ha-ha! Compiling gigs/other info goes on all week-long. We begin updating the new week of postings early Monday or Tuesday, depending on my work schedule at my “other” job. Everything is checked. Appropriate pics are collected & the new gigs schedules are posted, accordingly. I write continuously, every chance I get. It keeps my chops up to par.

Wynn went into detail on how a working day operates at G&G and like a well oiled machine, this writer has nothing but the utmost respect for Wynn Curtis for his time and effort put into G&G.

Wynn: “Typically, there are only about 8-14 postings on a weekly basis but it’s the compiling and writing that takes up most of the time. Researching is very time-consuming, too. I’m sure that we miss a lot, but it’s our goal to include as many new gigs in our weekly listings as possible. To stay on top of things, we double-check and update listings on a daily basis. All in all, it keeps us quite busy. Besides that, we try to get to as many gigs as we can, when time, schedules and funds work out. Our goal is to always do more. Mostly, it’s a time thing. And usually, if I feel that an artist is matched with the right venue it makes it all the more exciting to attend.

Wynn Curtis is also a talented photographer as well, and during many gigs and live performances he is able to capture amazing and stunning photos of live performances

(Photo Credit:Wynn Curtis) Artist From top  to bottom – The DiBiases–Taylor S in Lionsault.  Kortni N in Lionsault. John Adams in Moose-knuckle. Jessii The Artist and Andy Brown


When time is not of the essence, G&G will also write spotlight articles on selected artist to provide promotion and help shed some light on up and coming artist.

Wynn: “When the opportunity arises I’ll write an article on select artists, depending on what they want promoted.”

Wynn went on to explain the  “Groove” portion of Gig & Groove.

Wynn: “I also search the net for stories or new music that I think fits the idea of G&G. I also like to keep readers updated on any new tech equipment that’s available for listening to music. That’s the other side of the coin for G&G, a plan that was there right from the start. Hence “Groove”.

Starting out from nothing can be a scary experience but also very rewarding. The constant pressure of producing good quality work can be very time-consuming and over whelming but fortunately, if you believe  enough in the initial idea and give life to something, It will grow and with the help of community involvement. It allows the community to gain insight in the daily workings of what you are providing. I asked Wynn how important community involvement is to a growing business like G&G.

Wynn: “As Brian E says, “Something can grow out of nothing. Everything starts at nothing”. That’s pretty much been my motto right from day one. But it takes a lot of really passionate people to make a real splash, create that hype that it takes to keep a “scene” alive. I believe that one person can start from nothing but it takes support from community support to grow any idea. That’s the real challenge. So community involvement is a must, at all levels, to achieve success. The best example I can think of is, the obvious success of Music NB’s ‘Festival506, which was held here in Chi, last October. I was involved in that party and It was so awesome to witness downtown come to life and support a lot of artists that many of the attendees never heard of before. That’s community. We need more of that in Miramichi.”

After countless interviews, number of community involvement pieces and time-consuming research, I asked Wynn what his first article in music was and I was surprised to find out that we shared a common ground.

Dillon Ryan G&G

Dillon Ryan G&G (Photo Credit: Wynn Curtis)

Wynn: “I believe the first real sit-down interview was with the amazing, truly gifted writer & multi-instrumentalist Dillon Ryan. I love Dillon. He’s an artist that gets “It”. And he’s getting “It” more an more every day. He’s an artist on the move. Nothing better.”


From personal experiences, creating a publication and finding content is the most fun part of the job. By simply meeting new people, hearing the stories they are telling and sharing experiences with one another. You get to meet a lot of creative people, witness new places and connect with those you are talking with. I asked Wynn if there were moments that stood out for him over the years of G&G

Wynn: “There have been a lot of cool moments for the short life of G&G, so far. Sometimes it can be simply capturing a particular photo in the exact way you had envisioned it. That’s happened a few times (i.e.: a few Dillon Ryan photos, a couple of Lionsault, The DiBiases, Metric and others. It can also mean having an article/interview turn out in the way that the original conversation came off, natural, concise, interesting. It can sometimes be tough to pull that one off. So when it’s good, it’s really good. That’s a couple of examples from my personal moments as a writer & photographer.  It’s a really emotional ride with all of these amazing artists.”Wynn went on to tell me a personal moment of triumph for him. a moment during the history of G&G where everything felt right. 

A simple moment or gesture can bring over whelming joy and can be a precious memory to reflect back on through time. Wynn shared a personal achievement of his. One that reflected

Wynn: “I’d have to pin point it down to when The DiBiases’ Dre P was vacationing at Disneyworld, a few months back. He sent the coolest pic of a Gig & Groove tee on the sandy beach of a little island. From a personal point of view, that was the real moment when I thought, G&G brand really means something. Maybe not to a lot of people. But it means something to some. And that’s better than nothing.”

20614773_10154544407295213_864547434_n (3)

(Photo credit: Dre P Castaway Cay, 2016)


There’s not enough pages to write on to capture Wynn Curtis essence as he divulges deeper and deeper into the creation of Gig&Groove. Tirelessly researching content and posting daily and working hand in hand with local musicians and those who are passionate about music. I can’t even begin to describe how hard-working and determined this person is! If anyone deserves a spotlight in this community it should be Wynn Curtis. You can find the official Facebook page here 

Thank you

Regards

The Modern-Typewriter

Lucas Durelle

 

 

 

Miramichi Spotlight: Vince’s Opry Music Store

Miramichi. A lovely community that thrives on music! A place where local artist can emerge and discover who they are and where they stand in the music community. If there is one place that all local and visiting musicians stop at for the latest gear, accessories, instruments or a friendly chat. That place is Vince’s Opry Music Store!

Recently, I sat down with the Co-owner of Vince’s Opry Music Store, Melita Mullin. We met at Vince’s Music Store and with coffee in hand, we began chatting about the history, the services and the inspirations of Vince’s Opry Music Store.

Melita: “It’s originally the Opry music store, but due to the fact that Opry is such a niche for one thing, we decided to keep the Opry involved in the name but call it Vince’s Opry Music Store…to keep it simple..everyone knows Vince, so by word of mouth its Vince’s music store but its technically Vince’s Opry music store”

Vince Mullin, A musician born and raised in Miramichi has been playing instruments for over 3 decades. He enjoys the simple things in life. When he’s not working tirelessly on repairing guitars and running a business with his wife Melita Mullin. Vince enjoys the company of good friends, playing guitar and riding his motorcycle.

Music has not only been a passion in Vince’s life, but also his destiny. With his father being the famous Billy Mullin. A man who was well-known for his musical talents around New Brunswick as well as being inducted in the New Brunswick Hall of Fame. Billy Mullin also owned and operated the Miramichi Country Music Opry in Red Bank. Vince has not only been surrounded by music but deeply rooted by instruments, singing voices and nylon strings.

Melita:”Vince started playing guitar at 10 years old…he gets the motivation from his father. He can pick up any instrument and just play!”

Melita, however was born in Newfoundland and left at an early age to find out who she was and to find her calling in life. She made a life for herself  in Ontario, going to school and working tirelessly as a single mother but as life happens and gets the best of us. Ontario was no longer an option for this self-made accomplished woman. With passion fueling her desire to accomplish something greater in her life, she made her way to Miramichi.

Melita: “I was born in Newfoundland! Then in my teenage years, I moved to Ontario and have done many things along the way…I was a journeyman 1,2,3 in book binding and printing…basically moved around a lot in Ontario but then in 2003, I needed a change for myself and my son, an being a single mom, we made it to Miramichi!”

In life, one common goal is to find your soul-mate, the one person you can share this world with and for Melita, that one person is Vince. She shared the story of her meeting him and how she was captivated by his charm, friendly personality and musical skills.

Melita: “When I got to the Miramichi and I got together with Vince. He asked me what can I do with a guitar..well I had the strumming right! (being right-handed, I only knew a few things from my father’s left-handed guitar) so he gave me a sheet of paper with chords on it and I went home and used my sons guitar and I was addicted! It’s funny cause I couldn’t keep the guitar in-tuned and I would keep purposely untuning the guitar just to keep going back and seeing Vince!

The classic story of humble beginnings, Vince and Melita Mullin, hand in hand, opened the Opry music store with Vince’s parents Billy and Betty Mullin in a commercial space on King George Highway while living upstairs of the establishment.

Vince and Melita worked tirelessly, day in and day out, spending the working day selling instruments and accessories, contacting big name franchises in an attempt to bring a variety of instruments to Miramichi. Not only did Vince and Melita create a business that provided excellent quality but also amazing customer service that made musicians and music enthusiast feel like they were at home.

Melita: “The Store is Vince’s baby! We were self-confident, that we would make it work..we were determined!, we wanted to have the music store here in Miramichi. We wanted to supply Miramichi with music.”

Melita shared an interesting fact when Vince and herself were just starting out.

Melita: “Vince started out in the back of that shop, on that highway with 3 amps, 2 boxes of strings and maybe 4 guitars back in 2005! ”

“We started out, living above the establishment, and running a 24/7 emergency service for musicians, basically we lived above the music shop for 6 years then we got our own home. Once we didn’t have enough space available, we decided to move to the New Castle area at 115 jail street”

Melita humorously added.

Melita: ” What a great place for a music store, on jail street!”

Melita added that like any small business trying to grow, it was tough at times.

Melita: “It was difficult at times because we had to wait for certain brands to show up, For the first few years it was nothing but no name guitars. Our work was put into the lessons and repairs..the other stuff comes afterwards. Their were times we had to take from our own pockets and to build what we have but it always paid off. there is nothing, nobody can’t do.”

Melita shared her milestone when she knew that everything was going to work out.

Melita: “Peavey and Ibanez is a brand, we will always be loyal too because they were always behind us from the start! an exciting moment for us was when we got our first Takamine guitars! after that, came the Gibson’s then the Fenders, they all came. We knew we were going to be okay!

With the a new location opening up on 115 jail street, Vince and Melita Mullin made the move in great strides. Providing the community with excellent services and tools that all musicians and events needed.

Melita: “Along with guitar lessons. We do in store guitar string changes. Guitar repairs. We also provide sound gear for events for downtown Newcastle.  If someone has a problem with putting their drums together, I will bring their drums to their house and put them all together! Also if somebody is moving out-of-town, and they want to ship their guitars, as long as they pay for the shipping and handling, I will properly pack the instruments and ensure that the instrument will show up in one piece.

I asked Melita if she had any exciting stories to share or any special encounters with musicians over the years of running a music store.

Melita:  “I actually got to met Blue rodeo because the guitar technician came up to my old store on king George highway and walked in and asked if we were going to the show tonight and we said we might not because we been working late…he offered VIP tickets and we didn’t believe it! we though he was pulling our leg! We decided to go anyways and sure enough, we had the tickets waiting! We were able to go on their tour bus and just hang out with them! It was awesome.”

Over the years, Vince and Melita have seen many faces and many customers have turned into lasting friendships. I have always found that Vince’s Opry Music Store provided a safe, judge-free zone for youth and adults who are interested in expanding their music. A place where all is welcomed! This writer has fond memories of visiting Vince and Melita when they were just starting out and I credit them, personally, as an inspiration and for coaching me during my journey of finding music.

Melita:  “It’s amazing, seeing all these talented people!, the people who come in and you finally get to hear them try something out and its amazing and what I find impressive, is that over the years at being a music store is like yourself. I’ve known you for years. I’ve watched you play music in high school, coming in and playing my junky old guitars that I had for resale or my used guitars and now I’m seeing you, grown up and I see your children getting into music and also having people like Taylor Sheasgreen (from lionsault) being my guitar teacher at my store….there’s people growing up at my store before my eyes and no matter where they are, when they come home..the first place they stop is my store, just to say hi!”

I asked Melita what’s next for Vince’s Opry Music Store and she shared a passionate dream of hers that I found quite exciting!

Melita: “I would love to have a music school! If I could have a music school. To be able to provide an area attached to the store to teach more people music lessons!, in order to have that I need the community to support it”

Melita delivered a message to anyone who is trying to achieve the impossible

Melita: “Basically don’t ever give up, it’s the constant persistence of things, it’s your goals, it’s your dreams..believe what you dream!,  it’s not always the easy way but it’s the right way!”

Vince and Melita Mullin successfully created and built a business with hundreds of positive feedback from customers, community members, everyone. I asked Melita if she could change one thing during the entire history of Vince’s Opry music store. She simply said…

” I wouldn’t change anything.. because everything is dear to my heart..”

I would like to thank Melita Mullin for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk to me for this interview, everyone can check out their Facebook page and also stop in and say hello to Melita and Vince at 115 Jail Street, Miramichi NB.

Thank You

Regards

The Modern Type Writer

Lucas Durelle

 

 

 

Miramichi Spotlight: Lionsault

Recently, I had the chance to sit down with local Miramichi artist Taylor Sheasgreen and Kortni Nicols, two of the founding members of the rock and roll group Lionsault. A kick- ass band that delivers hard-hitting distorted guitar and rage fueled vocals with effortless and passionate drum beats. Lionsault is blasting over local airwaves and social media.

I was invited over to Taylor Sheasgreen house to conduct the interview, upon my arrival I was greeted by Kortni and Taylor and was welcomed inside. We sat around the kitchen table and just caught up on the passing years before we conducted the interview.

With a name like Lionsault, they have been constantly asked what the meaning behind the name is and it’s very simple answer.

Kortni: “It’s a wrestling move by Chris Jericho, I’m waiting for the day, Chris Jericho serves us a fucking lawsuit..it’s either that or he’s going to ask us to open up for Fozzie!”

After we shared a laugh, Taylor and Kortni informed me that they were just a cover band. Before they were known as Lionsault.

Taylor: “we’ve been playing together for 8 years, around 2009. But Lionsault, us writing music and making our own stuff, was almost 2 years ago”

Kortni: “June 20th, 2014

During the first eight years of jamming and playing local gigs, Taylor and Kortni sat down with local musician James M to discuss the possibility of mixing and mastering and releasing their first album as Lionsault.

Kortni “We got bored with covers, so we started writing and we were talking to James about mixing and mastering for us and we said, yeah were gonna do an EP and he said fuck the EP thing, do a full album!”

Taylor: “We just hammered down and started writing songs, we pretty much set a mission of creating an album and we just did it!”

After years of playing together, Lionsault decided to stop covering songs and start writing their own material but was not set on their sound or the genre they were going to play on their upcoming album.

Kortni: “We tried different genres, obviously Taylor was writing metal stuff, I was writing shitty pop-punk stuff and we try writing those sort of genres and it just didn’t work until we tried bluesy-rock and then it felt effortless”

Taylor: “It changed when we discovered Monster truck, we seen them live and we didn’t know who they were and thought it was pretty cool and decided we should start writing like that.

Monster truck is an award-winning Canadian rock band from Hamilton, Ontario and has opened for big name bands such as Alice Cooper.

With the genre of Rock and Roll set in stone, Lionsault began working tirelessly on their first album. The 10 track album entitled “Are You Feeling Lucky?”was released on September 19th 2015.

Kortni “We wrote the songs, Taylor would come to us with a riff as an idea and we would work around it, I guess I would take charge in structuring it more I guess?, and then we would sit down and write the lyrics together. Taylor wrote most of the lyrics but I wrote all the melodies. Then we would record everything ourselves too. Once recorded, we sent it away to Under Tone studios in Saint John and It was mastered by a guy named Adam Dincorn

Taylor: “He did a really good job and were probably going to go back to him. When the first album was out. We sent it to all kinds of album review website and I probably sent out a shit-ton of them and probably like 20 different websites all came back super positive!

With Humble begins, I asked Taylor and Kortni, how they got into music and what their first instruments were?

Taylor: “I was 13. I wanted to play drums, just listening to Nirvana and Metallica and that kinda changed. My first instrument was acoustic guitar that mom had lying around but then I got a drum set and played that for a while then i stopped drums and got serious on guitar.

Kortni: “First instrument was a guitar when I was 13, it was my step-dads fathers guitar and it had like 4 strings on it and I would just play around with it when I was 11. So I use to listen to songs and figure out the melodies, I couldn’t play chords.” 

Being from a generation when high-speed internet wasn’t available and dial-up was prominent, musicians would have to learn on their own without the help of online tablature

Kortni “We had dial-up. We couldn’t go online to learn, I couldn’t do that. So I had to figure out things by ear, like I learned to play smoke on the water first, once I learn that I’d move on to other things. I didn’t get guitar lessons until I was 13 and started to play bass. I would bring a CD to the teacher and he would figure it out by ear and then write it out on white paper for me, the chords and everything.

Taylor “It’s funny that It’s easier to learn now, more than ever but no one wants too

Every band in the existence of music has always been inspired and influenced by other bands or singers. Kortni and Taylor shared their influences with this writer.

Kortni: “I saw School of rock when I was 10! ….No seriously, I never had any talents, like never, Then one day, one of my moms friends said I had a pretty voice and I was like I’m gonna roll with that and then I saw School of Rock and that’s when it clicked that I wanted to make a rock band. I don’t know? …. Anything I saw where girls were playing instruments, I said” “I wanna fucking do that

After a shared laugh, and all agreeing that Jack Black saved the day once again, Kortni went onto explain more of her influences

Kortni “Haley Williams, from Paramore, I was the biggest Paramore fan in high school. Like growing up when I was younger, it was bands like Blink-182.

Taylor: “I was always a big James Hetfield guy!

Being a musician is a very difficult job as well as being very costly. Even though the achievements and recognition is very rewarding.  The constant expenses of instruments and accessories, as well as lodging and fuel and dining out on the road can be very expensive. In order to fund their dreams and inspirations, Taylor and Kortni have to find the time to work in between the gigs and practice.

Taylor: “I give guitar lessons and work at a hotel”

Kortni: “Every time I do an interview, my answer changes. I do bookkeeping, I took a course in business accounting at a car dealership.”

With more recognition and more fans, the members of Lionsault become more prominent in the eye of the public and when I asked if they were ever recognized outside of gigs, Taylor shared a very funny moment that he experienced at work.

Taylor: “I was at work one night, and I was checking people in, and this one guy, he was like hey are you in a band?”

“And I guess he just asked that from the look of me so I said yes”

“And he asked me what band?”

“So I said Lionsault,”

“He goes OH! I’ve known Taylor for a long time!….”

“I just stood there for a moment and said..Me?”

“Luckily he saved himself by saying he just knew who I was. I should have played along with it.”

Over the last year, Lionsault has made significant strides in music with constant gigs all throughout the Atlantic provinces. Live interviews with local radio stations. Being printed in local newspapers. Creating music videos and winning the 2016 “New Goal Song” music contest that was held through MusicNb for the Moncton Wildcats Hockey team, entitled “In The Wild”, Lionsault performed live in front of 6000 people at the Moncton Colosseum.

Kortni: :We played in front of 6000 people, and we had no vocal monitors, our amps were on stage, we had no way of hearing each other, all we had was like an echo and we were just up there, it was tough because the red carpet was slippery.

Taylor: I was nervous, brand new song, on ice, slippery as hell, in front of 65 hundred people and we couldn’t hear ourselves, so it made me really nervous.

Kortni: “On top of that, they wanted us to get the crowd going and all that, it was rough”

Taylor: “But we got through it!, we just had to play a small part of the song and it was great!”

In April of 2017, Lionsault leaped even further in their musical career by winning the 2017 “Loud Recording Of The Year”

Kortni: “You apply for the E.C.M.A. Thankfully we had Don from Motorleague, and he sort of talked to Taylor about the do’s and don’ts and what to apply for. He told us It’s your first year, don’t expect to win anything, so we applied for some showcases and also applied for loud recording of the year.”

During the E.C.M.A, bands in each category, play a showcase, a half hour set to perform live. The E.C.M.A award for Loud Recording Of the Year is prominently for artist who specializes in the metal genre but that didn’t stop the members of Lionsault from giving it all they got.

Kortni: “At the showcase, we played a set, so were playing with Orchid’s Curse, Abysseral Throne and Last Call Chernobyl. All these super heavy and super tight bands and were just like, I felt out-of-place, I was saying guys, we don’t have a chance. so whatever, let’s just have fun. and then…. when we won! my grandmother screamed and like threw her scarf in the air…. like we didn’t see it coming…. we didn’t think we would win at all.”

An amazing accomplishment for a band just starting out, Lionsault Won the 2017 Loud Recording Of The Year and became a household name in Miramichi N.B and Recognized by the community.

Taylor: “Our phones were blowing up!

Kortni: “When we left the venue, and loading up our gear, everyone from the venue was like standing outside and we got this huge applause, I felt like the fucking queen of the E.C.M.A for a few minutes.

As we came to the end of the interview, I simply asked what any writer would ask someone. What’s next?

Taylor: “World Domination!….Just kidding, expect more material and tour dates very soon!”

I would like to thank the members of  Lionsault: Taylor Sheasgreen and Kortni Nicols for sitting down with me and sharing their stories with Modern-Typewriter. I look forward to all your music accomplishments in your career.  You can check out their Facebook page here and buy their first album here.

Thank you

Regards 

The Modern Typewriter

Lucas Durelle

 

 

 

 

A Night At The Miramichi Vogue Theater 

Over the weekend, I was invited to attend a blues and funk concert being held at the classic Miramichi Vogue Theater, I was thrilled to gain access to such an event. As I pulled up to the old vogue theater, The brightly lit neon sign read Roxy And The Underground Soul Sound and opening up for them was Jacob Strang And The High Class Hussies.

The crowd surrounded the entrance and the line up was out the door. I made my way into the building and was handed a ticket. I made my way past the usher and walked into the dimly lit theater that was filled with a talkative and excited crowd of people and a stage that was filled with instruments.

The Orange glow of the stage lit up the curtain that draped the background, as the lights dim, a silence fell through the crowd when a crashing boom of the drums echoed through the hall, the band started in unity as the electric sound of funk and soul filled the room in a hazy glow.

The lead singer Jacob Strang, ran onto the stage sporting a black fedora and grabbed the microphone. He captured a unique energy as he danced across the stage to the beating of the drums and hip swaying sound of the rhythm guitar as his vocals let out a whiskey soaked howl.

The Crowd went wild as the song came to an end and he introduced himself and his band members. The lead guitarist began to play a familiar riff as the crowd screamed with excitement, the drums soon followed as the bass let out a solid lead as Jacob Strang let out a raspy scream and immediately you recognized the song. “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. It was a surprising treat that sounded perfect.

The band went on to play a few more of their original songs then ended with a duet with the lead singer of the other spotlight band Roxy And The Underground Soul Sound. The room was lit up with energy as the band thanked everyone for coming and made their way back stage.

There was a brief intermission before the featured act of Roxy and the Underground soul sound. The crowd shared their excitement, others stepped outside for a quick smoke or to order another drink.

——————-

After the intermission, people returned to their seats and waited in anticipation as the headline act was coming in stage.

This is the first band that I experienced live that includes a brass section. The saxophone player blows kisses of sweet sorrow as the trombone player pairs nicely with the excitable lead guitar player as his fingers dance across the frets. You can barely contain your feet from tapping to the steady groove of the drums. I can only describe the sound of the band as a mellow vibe that hits your soul.
The lead singer, Roxy, has a voice that I can only describe as anger soaked with sadness with a reverb of soul and seduction but don’t let that fool you as she smiles and dances weightlessly across the stage as she moves with the rhythm of the guitars.

As the night went along, one song stood out that I can only describe as perfection. Entitled “Fought The Battle”, Roxy explained that she wrote the song to help her overcome a dark period in her life. “Fought The Battle” The song of sadness, a raw emotion is captured by Roxy as she softly sings a lullaby followed by crashing waves of instrumental pieces as she belts out painful lyrics that echoes throughout the vogue theater.  As the song comes to an end, she falls to her knees as she vocally holds a trembling note of sorrow, The crowd is silent and in awe of the performance in front of them. Perfection.
Encore! the crowd screamed as Roxy and the underground soul sound exited the stage. When the lead singer Roxy and her band the underground soul sound came back onto the stage, she invited Jacob Strang to accompany her on stage as they shared a duet entitled “Etta” A brilliant song that time traveled you back to a simpler time as it captured a unique chemistry between the two singers. It was an excellent ending to a perfect night.

As the crowd dispersed and the lights came on and the show was over. I made it back to my car and simply sat there in silence for a few moments to reflect on the night.

I wish everyone in Miramichi could have witness that concert and if those bands do return, I encourage all my readers to attend and enjoy a soulful night of music.

The vogue theater itself was an amazing, memorable experience. The atmosphere. The catering. The classic popcorn stand and the vintage vibe of the building itself, sets the bar quite high for other venues. It truly was an excellent night of entertainment and good music.

Thank you

Regards

The Modern Typewriter

Lucas Durelle