Wintergreen Studios is proud to host any and all interested in learning more about one of our off-shoot sustainability projects, the Wintergreen Renewable Energy Co-op (WGC), on May 24th. Organized by the Community Energy Network of Eastern Ontario, you will be surrounded by lush early summer forests and ponds while you talk to caring and concerned individuals who want to protect just such an environment for future generations. WGC is making great strides in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington region. In partnership with the Horizon Legacy Group, a Toronto-based renewable energy and real-estate developer, the group has become a member of the Ernestown Wind Park project, the members of which have secured a FIT contract for a 10 MW project with 5 turbines that will be located partly in an industrially zoned piece of land. When it comes to the green energy revolution, there really is power in numbers. Whether you are in a position to donate time as a volunteer, or make a financial contribution WGC to assist with their flourishing activities, you will enjoy yourself on May 24th out at Wintergreen Studios. You will need to register for this retreat, which costs $25 for the day, by visiting the Community Energy Network’s page here.
Well, not exactly, but that’s how it feels when we see the sold-out numbers for the upcoming Gertrudes concert at Wintergreen. Our Facebook event and posts, our Tweets, and our excellent word-of-mouthing has really paid off and we are expecting more than a full house on May 11th. We have a wonderful meal planned which will include and not be limited to: a three bean and coffee chilli (vegan), a chicken chocolate chilli, corn bread, a big green salad with oranges, pumpkin seeds and red onion, quesadillas, and fruit crisp for dessert. Hooah! So what else will guests experience on Saturday? Well, the incredible sounds of The Gertrudes, of course. They are planning a mainly mellow show to complement the beautiful environment that Wintergreen provides. The sun will be streaming in the window as the end of the days are growing lighter and softer. Crickets will be accompanists as well as the sound of “spring peepers” from the small pond outside the kitchen window. The leaves, blossoms, tulips and wildflowers will be bursting into life next weekend, and the aroma of freshness will permeate the main lodge from the wide open windows. At Wintergreen, we believe that all of these natural elements are part of your experience, and we are sure that you will be as seduced by the woodland paths and fresh lake breezes as you are by the delicious food, delightful company, and uplifting music.
At 6pm on Saturday, April 27th, Lawrence Hill will be finishing up his residency and writing workshop at Wintergreen Studios. He will read from The Book of Negroes following a gourmet dinner from our cookbook, A Taste of Wintergreen. To fully set the stage, you need to imagine a celebratory atmosphere. Emerging and established writers will have spent a week thinking, writing and exploring new and better ways to express their experiences and ideas. Amidst the clink of glasses and cutlery, guests who attend the dinner will catch glimpses of faraway looks on the faces of workshop participants. They will still be dreaming of poems that need better endings, stories that need stronger openings, and personal essays that call out like sirens for more research, clearer language, better structure. The creative energy in the air will be palpable by the time dessert and coffee arrives and Lawrence Hill himself takes centre stage.
Lawrence Hill is the son of American immigrants — a black father and a white mother — who came to Canada the day after they married in 1953 in Washington, D.C. On his father’s side, Hill’s grandfather and great grandfather were university-educated, ordained ministers of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. His mother came from a Republican family in Oak Park, Illinois, graduated from Oberlin College and went on to become a civil rights activist in D.C. The story of how they met, married, left the United States and raised a family in Toronto is described in Hill’s bestselling memoir Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada (HarperCollins Canada, 2001). Growing up in the predominantly white suburb of Don Mills, Ontario in the sixties, Hill was greatly influenced by his parents’ work in the human rights movement. Much of Hill’s writing touches on issues of identity and belonging.
And belonging is just what you will experience at Lawrence Hill’s reading. The words of an author hail a listener, inviting you to enter into the world of their creation. As more than one author has said, hearing a writer you love read from their work is much like attending a live concert. “Yes, it’s true you could enjoy listening to your favourite music in the comfort of your own home but there’s something special about being in the presence of the artist as he/she performs”. (Daniel Olivas, The Book of Want).” At Wintergreen Studios, on several occasions this year, it will be the music of words that accompany our evening gatherings.
Join us for a splendid evening on Saturday April 13 (the freezing rain will be all gone by then!). Dinner is served at 6:00 pm, Triola plays at 7:30 pm. To secure a spot and purchase tickets online, click here.
After a tasty hot meal, you will enjoy an unusual evening of live music, as Triola becomes a “live” iPod shuffle, playing from a song list provided at each table and with an incredible range of genres including Baroque, blues, jazz, show tunes, opera, classical, waltzes, and Irish airs — you name it, they’ll play it! The Triola players — Gisèle Szczesniak(violin), Eileen Beaudette (viola), and Melinda Raymond (violin) — are professional musicians, and principal players of the Kingston Symphony. Collectively, they have trained at the Universities of Yale, Queen’s, Toronto, and at le Conservatoire de Montréal. Their individual performing credits include CBC broadcasts, work in the National Arts Centre, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Peterborough, Mississauga, Quinte Orchestras, commercial recordings, solo, and chamber work in Canada, the United States, and Europe.
We have just learned that our grant application to the Ontario Trillium Foundation was successful. We have received funding for a year’s worth of work on environmental education projects at Wintergreen and throughout parts of Southeastern Ontario.
We will develop and present environmental education workshops and tours at Wintergreen and in various local communities (e.g., Perth and Westport) as well as at St. Lawrence College and Queen’s University. We’re excited to have the opportunity to further our work in the areas of off-grid architecture, renewable energy, and local food production. Stay tuned for updates as the project takes root!
Our subsidy campaign aims to raise funds through Indiegogo to bring talented youth out to Wintergreen to take Lawrence Hill or Helen Humphreys’ writing workshop, has been rather successful so far! Hannah Ellsworth will be joining the Lawrence Hill workshop in late April, and it’s also looking very good for our second candidate, Ashley-Elizabeth Best. Read below about Ashley, and consider helping us seal the deal with a small donation to our campaign. With only two and a half weeks left, we are hoping for more help from our community.
Born in Cobourg, Ashley-Elizabeth Best grew up in the wilderness north of Bancroft. An internationally published poet in her early twenties, Ashley was shortlisted for the 2011 Matrix Litpop Awards and Prism’s Poetry Prize 2012. Recently she placed first for poetry in This Magazine’s Great Canadian Literary Hunt 2012 and was the poetry runner up for subTerrain Magazine’s Lush Literary Awards 2012. She has a chapbook published with Cactus Press called Slow States of Collapse. Recently, Ashley has been writing more fiction and relishes the chance to work with Lawrence Hill, saying, “this opportunity to learn from such an accomplished writer is incredible. He writes what readers deserve to know, and I hope to learn from his insights so I can fully branch out into fiction. I’m grateful Wintergreen has selected me as a candidate and thank all the generous people who have made donations towards my workshop fee, and that of the other candidates .” Ashley presently lives and writes in Kingston. The above photo is a picture of Ashley reading at our favourite local independent bookstore, Novel Idea.
We have almost raised the full amount to send Ashley out to Wintergreen. If you are as impressed by her as we are, please click here to get to the Indiegogo campaign where you can add anything from $10 to $1000 to our growing total.
With only 24 days left, our Indiegogo fundraising campaign is still going strong. We recently engaged another candidate for our campaign, and she will be profiled soon on our site and in our social media. But this post is about something else. This is our way of thanking all the generous supporters who believe in our mission to subsidize youth attendance at Lawrence Hill’s workshop, but who wish to remain anonymous. How do you thank the quiet, kind people who’ve donated on and off our Indiegogo site? Well, here is our equally quiet thank you, which we hope you will receive, from the bottom of our hearts. You are furthering the careers of at least two very talented and enthusiastic young women, and you are enabling Wintergreen Studios to do more in our community. Hats off to you, friends!
Our initiative, to raise funds through Indiegogo to bring talented youth out to Wintergreen to take Lawrence Hill’s or Helen Humphreys’ writing workshop, brought us into contact with our first fantastic nominee. Hannah Ellsworth is the young person we all wish we’d been! A self-starter, Hannah’s dedication to the literary arts began early. She attended the LEAP program at Calvin Park Public School in grades seven and eight, and graduated with the Subject Award in English and the School Award for Literacy. At La Salle Secondary School she often delivered pieces of spoken writing at assemblies, and presented a poem dedicated to the class of 2012 at her graduation. She received the Kenneth Campbell Memorial Reward for Writing and the Domino Theatre Award, the Subject Awards for English, Graphic Design, Philosophy, Drama, and Writer’s Craft, as well as two Jeremy Hicks Salt of the Earth Awards for citizenship. She is currently enrolled in the Theatre Complete Focus Program where she studies playwriting and acting. She attends a weekly Dual Credit class at the St. Lawrence campus in Brockville to study Musical Theatre, and is completing her co-op placement with Kingston This Week four days a week after school. She is currently the Managing Editor of YAP, a Youth Arts Anthology project which is publishing the work of young local artists and writers and will be released this summer. In her spare time, she volunteers in the divisions of the Youth Diversion Program (YDP) and the Limestone District School Board (LDSB), delivering brief lectures about the importance of mediation processes and performing in community theatre projects with the program. She also freelances as a photographer, writer, and editor. Next year, she will be attending Trent University for her double major in Journalism and English.
She says of Lawrence Hill that he ”is a role model to so many writers; not only for his international acclaim, but because of the topics he chooses to write about. Hill addresses social issues that are difficult to put into words, and the fact that he does so is not only skillful, but brave. As a young writer who also seeks to tackle social issues in my writing, the opportunity to work with and gain insight from him is a once in a lifetime opportunity. As a writer and actress, I would also be honoured to work with a recipient of the Bob Edwards Reward for curiosity and expressionism, granted by Alberta Theatre Projects. I am a huge fan of his work, and view this opportunity as the chance to learn from him as a teacher. Hopefully this can become a reality!”
We have almost raised the full amount to send Hannah out to Wintergreen. If you are as inspired by this young woman as we are, please click here to get to the Indiegogo campaign where you can add anything from $10 to $1000 to our growing total.
Rena Upitis, our fearless leader of all things Wintergreen, formidable editor, excellent chef, musician and mother, is receiving the highest research award that Queen’s University offers for her work with, among other projects, the iSCORE project she initiated last year. The Queen’s Award for Excellence in Research will be proffered to the professor at a ceremony on Thursday, March 7th at 7pm in the Chernoff Auditorium. For many years, Rena’s work has been focused on the impact of music on the development of youth both in and out of the classroom. There are many studies exploring how learning a musical instrument improves cognition scores in maths and languages, and that the discipline required to learn technical skill serves students well in other areas of their life as well. Rena goes further, however, with her study of music in child and youth development. She sees connections between, for example, a child’s decision-making process following years of music training.
In her own words: “It is hard work being an artist, for our disciplines require a high level of technical skill and judgment. One of the things we learn from the arts is how to make judgments in the absence of clear rules. I am sure that every important life decision I have made has been done so in the absence of clear rules.”
Which is why Wintergreen Studios functions so fluidly and organically. Each member of the Wintergreen community functions like a member of an orchestra, and each contribution is recognized as being unique and important. We are so proud of our accomplished pianist this week, and every week!
For those of you who know the joy of having the time and space to write, or who know Wintergreen and know how important it is to experience the cicadas, the lake, and the wind in the trees, or for those of you who know a young person who is struggling to learn how to write but cannot afford to attend a writing retreat or creative writing course at a University – this campaign is your opportunity to help. Even a donation of just $10 will help us reach our goal.
Please share this post with friends and family if you think they might be similarly inclined. Thank you very much!