08 May

Grand re-Opening Invitation

Everyone is invited to join us for the Grand Re-Opening of Blyth Memorial Community Hall on Friday May 19 at 4p.m. followed by an Open House that runs until 7pm. The community is invited to hear about the improvements from the Renovation Committee and volunteers.

The $4.2M upgrade was made possible by the support of many Community Champions.

The project was lead by the Township of North Huron with Blyth 14/19 Inc., Blyth Festival, the Legion Ladies Auxiliary and Royal Canadian Legion Branch 420, Blyth. The lead architect was Jason Morgan from Allan Avis Architects in Goderich.

27 Nov

A Jazz Christmas, Dec 2015

For Immediate Release
November 27, 2015

Annie Sparling_smallAnnie Sparling & Friends
celebrate the season with A Jazz Christmas

Cozy up this holiday season and experience A Jazz Christmas – a special holiday dinner and concert benefit with professional songstress Annie Sparling, pianist Clayton Peters and special guest Jason Hunter at the Blyth Memorial Community Hall on Wednesday, December 16th, 2015.  Dinner will be prepared by our talented local chef Peter Gusso from the award-winning Part II Bistro beginning at 6pm with an 8pm start time for the concert.

A native of Taylor, Michigan, Annie Sparling grew up in a very musical home.   She spent a great deal of time performing many roles in community and university productions. While attending Wayne State University she became involved in their opera program, and was a featured soloist with many choirs in the greater Detroit area. In Canada, Annie has been an instructor of music for young children, a vocal teacher and coach, and a featured soloist and choir member of the Blyth Festival Singers. Sparling has performed special music in her home church in Auburn and across Huron County and has enjoyed directing musical productions in the community. Annie is very proficient in many genres of music, singing classical, jazz, broadway, folk and contemporary music although she feels most at home singing jazz.  Her low smooth sound offers a rich interpretation to many of the great Christmas ballads.

Clayton Peters, originally from the Niagara area, began his musical career in 2008 as a performing instrumentalist and music teacher. Pianist, percussionist, composer, and educator; Clayton spends his time refining his skills in enabling those he accompanies and teaches to succeed and amaze. Clayton’s improv piano style is a product of years of exploration into creative expression through jazz, soundtrack, and classical influences. In addition to his performance, Clayton records original piano improv compositions, capturing and shaping musical ideas in real-time.

Jason Hunter is a professional musician, playing both Saxophone and Clarinet.  In 2004 he returned to his native Kincardine after having been part of the creative music scene in Boston for nearly ten years. While there, he had the opportunity to perform with a host of jazz luminaries. He received his Bachelor of Music from Montreal’s McGill University.  Jason has performed with performed with Michael Buble, the Temptations, Barry Elmes, Lorne Lofsky, singer-songwriter Kate Schutt, and as a member of several local bands including Sploink, the Noodle Factory Jazz Orchestra, and the Stardust Big Band.

Guests will enjoy a unique culinary experience as Chef Peter Gusso (Part II Bistro) prepares a seasonally inspired 3-course meal featuring locally sourced ingredients.  Part II Bistro has recently been awarded Top Local Restaurant in Huron County and is Rated #1 in Ontario for Best Overall Restaurant on TripAdvisor out of 29,000 restaurants.

A Jazz Christmas is a benefit for the revitalization of Blyth Memorial Community Hall.  Dinner/Concert tickets are just $75 per person; concert only is $35 per person.  Doors open at 5:30pm for dinner, 7:30pm for the concert.

Tickets can be purchased at the Blyth Festival Box Office – online at www.blythfestival.com or by calling 519-523-9300 / 1-877-862-5984.

More information is available at www.ruralcreativity.ca.


Matt Armstrong, Social Media and Marketing
Blyth Arts and Cultural Initiative 14/19 Inc.



25 Nov

ICE Program, Nov 2015

Team Building_Denny ScottSt. Anne’s students brainstorm ideas for CCRC


Approximately 40 students, as well as about a dozen organizers and guest speakers converged on the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity (CCRC) last Wednesday as part of an Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) program.
The program, which is part of the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) at St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School, saw local entrepreneurs and creative-industry representative go to the school to teach some of what they had learned.
The end goal of the day was for students, with the guidance of the guest speakers, to construct a program or conference that could be hosted at the CCRC by Blyth Arts and Cultural Initiative 14/19 in coming years.
Eight groups of five students each were tasked with creating proposals for either a conference or a program and 14/19 staff felt the program was a great success.
“It was a good day,” Rozalynn Schlosser, from 14/19 said. “The students were able to accomplish a lot.”
Project 14/19 Administrator Karen Stewart agreed, saying that there was a good structure in place for the program which helped the students work.
Matt Armstrong from 14/19 said that he felt the students were really engaged and worked hard, which helped them get a lot done. He said the calibre of guest speakers likely helped with that.
“We did have some fabulous professionals,” Stewart said.
The program welcomed local master gardener Rhea Hamilton Seeger; naturopathic doctor Angela Hanlon; musician, Goderich Livery Theatre general manager and Goderich Celtic Roots Festival and College Artistic Director Kate Johnston; musician Thomas Beard; local artist and teacher Greg Sherwood; former Benmiller Inn head Chef Spencer Vail; stilt walker Laura Astwood of the Ottawa Stilt Union; Rob Bundy of the Edge of Walton Challenge Course and Chris Lee of the Walton Raceway.
Stewart explained that 14/19 staff would meet with students to follow up this week but said that the feedback she has received has been positive so far, saying that students commented the different style of learning really reached them.
“We are seeing a lot of potential for future options for courses and conferences,” Stewart said. “The visual art show that was pitched shows promise and the fashion arts proposal could help grow the existing fashion arts program.”
Some of the ideas that came forward might be merged into parts of other conferences, according to Stewart, as a means of drawing more high school students to the CCRC’s programs.
Stewart was also surprised by several of the suggestions presented by the students.
The first surprise was that skills that students wanted to learn were the kind that used to be taught in programs like home economics.
“They identified these skills as being missing in school,” she said, talking about fashion design and culinary arts. “Those life skills just aren’t being addressed.”
The entrepreneurship group also provided a surprise that Stewart – a plan for conferences for the next year that was purely profit-driven.
“There was one student who was all about making money,” she said. “He was just all about the bottom line.”
The group, based on that student’s suggestion, had proposed tiered-pricing for conferences at the centre.
“It’s a really interesting idea instead of a one-price-fits-all system,” she said. “People attending the conference would pay a flat fee to get in and then pay for each additional course or speaker they were interested in.”
An example was having conference-goers talk to investors in a Dragons’ Den-style bidding session, which the attendees have to pay to get at. The “Dragons”, or venture capitalists, would not be paid to be there though.
“I thought that wouldn’t fly,” Stewart said. “However Chris Lee offered his knowledge and said that’s how things work. It was completely different than I thought it was going to be.”
Armstrong said the program was a good window to see what students were aware of in the county.
“It really helped us see how we can make students our target audience and reach them and it helped them to know about us,” he said.
Stewart said that the students at the event left her with a feeling of hope for the community.
“They were great kids,” she said. “They were socially responsible, bright and showed respect.”

01 Jun

Follow the Light, May 2014

The Sun Shone and Shines on 14/19

the crowd pauses to enjoy entertainment along the trail during "Follow the Light"

the crowd pauses to enjoy entertainment along the trail during “Follow the Light”

by Diva Gwen

Let me be clear; I love theatre, I love local talent, I love supporting grassroots initiatives, but more than that; I love being outside & moving! (as in not sitting, not as in packing boxes and saying goodbyes). So attending Follow the Lighton Friday May 30th was golden in every way, including the warm evening sunshine. 14/19 Inc. presented a creative way to showcase local talent, and to broaden our perspective about what “art” truly is. Set along a lovely trail in Blyth, groups were guided on a walk that rambled over hills, fields and streams, with frequent stops along the way. We enjoyed theatrical performances and wonderful musical offerings as would be expected, but the organizers also had the wisdom to include weavers, painters, kayak, canoe and furniture builders, and even a fly fisherman. It was such a pleasant evening to be active and outdoors, and to be reminded that art is everywhere if we choose to see it, and that changing a venue can let us see the familiar in a fresh way. 14/19 Inc. is a promising and energetic initiative that will support the renovation of the Blyth Memorial Community Hall – home of the Blyth Festival –  and will develop and revitalize the charming and artistic community of Blyth through arts and culture. They have more great ideas ready to roll out, so be sure to follow them on twitter or mark them as a favourite website. Blyth Arts & Cultural Initiative 14/19 Inc 197 Dinsley Street Blyth, Ontario  N0M 1H0 email:  info@blyth1419.ca