AlgomaTrad Family Camp 2021 – Pandemic, Tornado, Power Outage, OH MY!

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And it was a success! AlgomaTrad held an in-person, masked-and-distanced, tornado-defying, everything-outside Family Camp from August 9-14 for close to 100 brave and hearty people of all ages. Unforgettable memories are always made at the AlgomaTrad Camp and this year was even more special as the edge of a tornado swept through the AlgomaTrad Centre while “the band played on”! Despite a few mangled tents, a lot of water, and 16 hours without power, music and dancing occurred, supper was served, and the resilient community of young and old pitched in to keep everything up and running and create yet another year of wonderful sharing, learning and celebration.

The AlgomaTrad 2021 Camp offered classes and electives in: fiddle, tin whistle, guitar, piano, cello, bass, banjo, uilleann pipes, highland pipes, ukulele, singing, Ottawa Valley step dance, printmaking, natural dyes and fibre arts, community arts, pyrography (woodburning), blacksmithing, and children’s music and stories programming.

Evenings were full of concerts, music sessions, no-contact dancing, and the awesome annual Staff Concert at the Centennial Grounds.

AlgomaTrad would like to thank first and foremost the incredible staff for this year, including: Québecois/Irish duo Sophie Lavoie and Fiachra O’Regan; Canadian Champion fiddler Kyle Burghout; Multi-instrumentalist and arranger James Stephens; fiddlers, multi-instrumentalists, and Old-time Canadian stepdancers Kerry Fitzgerald and Alanna Jenish; fiddler and multi-instrumentalist Lea Kirstein; piano accompanist Julie Schryer; guitarist and bassist Joseph Phillips; tin whistle, flute, and accordion player Eli Howard; Highland piper and tin whistle players Pat O’Gorman and Paul McClelland; singer, guitarist, printmaker, and visual artist Ian Bell, with singing partner Judy Moore; choir leader and children’s programming facilitator Shifra Cooper; artist and community arts leaders Miranda Bouchardnatural dye specialist and fibre artist Tuija Hansen; Blacksmith Denis Frechette; musicians Zach Lefebvre, Benoit Lefebvre, and Áine Schryer O’Gorman; and sound engineer Jason Sonier; as well as the heart and soul of the Camp, the kitchen staff – Jane Wildman, Yvonne Kulawic, Liam Murdock, Donna Forster, and a host of volunteers and worktraders.

Big thanks go out to the Board and Camp and Auction committees without whom the Camp could not happen, including Barb Willoughby, Sarah Fleming, Mary and Steve Schneider, Amy Reich, Gary Bloch, Karen Spector, Zach Lefebvre, Eric and Hannah-Lee Lawrence, Joyce Ervin, and Sylvie Tremblay. The online and silent auctions raised an amazing $7400, proceeds that support the Nicholas Missere Bursary Fund, a fund that helps make events and programs more accessible to families and individuals.

We had some wonderful support from our corporate sponsors, kudos to ONEKA,, Penokean Hills Farms, and Rentals2Remember, as well as Algoma Public Health, who were encouraging and instrumental in helping us to ensure a safe experience for all.

As usual, the St. Joseph Island community had our backs in every way, before, during and after the Camp – very special thanks go to the Tulloch Family, the Hodgson Family, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 374, Aaron Fisher,  Island Clippings, St. Joseph Township, Jocelyn Township, Albert Crowder, Jim Hachey, Algoma Power, the Forster Family, the Wildman Family, Gina Marie Wilson, Bob Pinder, all the other wonderful volunteers, and to everyone who supported the staff concert and online fundraising auction.

Finally, Artistic Directors Julie Schryer and Pat O’Gorman want to send our huge thank to all the pariticipants, who came to Camp from near and from afar, followed all the protocols, weathered the storm, and brought their excitement and good-humour with them.

See you next year!!