Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Earth Hour 2.0 at The Paisley Town Hall.

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Scatter the Cats were well into their set as the clock wound down to 8:30 PM. Before the lights went out they finished their number and moved themselves and their instruments off the stage and on to the floor. Then someone hit the switch and the Paisley Town Hall Theatre went off the grid. We were officially part of Earth Hour 2.0.

This theatre is big and airy. Its large windows, displaying a delicate tracery were designed to let in a much light as possible. And here we were turning off the lights to let in the dark. The architects of this fine Georgian/Regency style building would be scratching their heads. 


Previously charged by solar panels, a couple of lamps trained down on the band seated on the floor in front of the now dark stage. They started playing again. Hunched over their instruments in the darkness they looked almost primitive. Their un-amplified singing carried without the support of  microphones. The audience sitting at tables, squinted through the dim glow of tea candles and stomped their feet in time to the music. There was a cozy, campfire feel to the scene.

But Earth Hour wasn’t our only reason for being there. The Celtic Music Concert featuring Scatter the Cats and later, The Thogs, was a fundraiser for the South Grey Bruce Youth Literacy Council –

The Council and their friends at Back Eddie’s – – got one local Irish and one local Scottish band together, on the same stage, all for a good cause…to raise a little awareness and much needed funds for the south Grey Bruce Youth Literacy Council.

Scatter the Cats are regional favourites of the Fiddlefern Dances in Owen Sound, Summerfolk, Goderich Celtic Festival and town halls all over the county. These five talented multi-instrumentalists switch up on banjo, flute, guitar, acoustic bass, mandolin, fiddle, bouzouki, ethnic rhythm and percussion. They are great entertainers who appeal to the Irish in all of us.

The Thogs, regulars at the Kincardine Scottish Festival, generally misbehaved while conjuring up misty Scottish moors through the songs of Robbie Burns, old folk songs and songs about the Rock. Their mandolin player was a treasure…technically brilliant and heartfelt at the same time.

While the lights were still out the Pie Auction – pies and pastry freely given by local culinary artists – were going for as high as $45.00 each. The audience was doing their bit by contributing to a good cause while conserving energy. Does it get any better than that?

When the lights came on music continued to fill the concert hall from the stage to the floor and up to the balcony. Earth Hour had come and gone but no one could really tell if turning out the lights, at that point in time, made any significant difference in our lives. If Ontario energy consumption only went down 6% as reported, what was accomplished?

What the people in the hall realized, though, was that by supporting literacy the direct benefits would give individuals the ability to read and understand for themselves what the need to protect our environment through conservation is all about.
























Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

March 29, 2009 at 9:57 PM

Posted in Home Town, thoughts, Writing

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