By Anita Grace –
On Sunday, September 15, more than 200 people gathered in McKellar Park to enjoy a free open-air concert.
“I think this is awesome,” said Amanda Thompson, who brought her two sons to the park from their home just a block away. “I like anything that gets the community together.”
Event organizer Patti Church said she had always wanted to bring music to this beautiful park. When her daughter Kayla introduced her to Craig Cardiff’s indie folk music, she knew that he was the perfect musician for this event. She also asked her friend and fellow Kitchissippi resident, singer/songwriter Lee Ann McLellan, to play the opening set.
McLellan kicked of the event with some covers and original tunes. She dedicated her set to India Buxton Taylor, a young girl who used to live in Kitchissippi and who has a rare terminal illness. Her family is raising money for medical research in hope of finding treatment and a cure.
“When people you know are hurting, you want to do something, anything to help,” the musician said. So after her set, a hat was passed around and $350 was collected for India’s family.
“We’re lucky to have people in the community that make things like this happen,” said Joanne Rampton, who was enjoying the music from the stage, as well as some frozen custard from the Merry Dairy truck.
“Mixing locals with a Juno Award nominee like Craig Cardiff is quite amazing,” echoed Shannon Murray of Kitchissippi’s Raven Street Studios.
River Ward resident Bev Hellman noted that it was nice to have the concert set up close to the park’s play structure so that adults could listen to the music while keeping an eye on their kids at play. Her four-year-old granddaughter was one of dozens of children swarming around the play area.
This is not the first time Patti Church has behind something that brings the community together. Along with Shawn MacDonell and Dwayne Brown, she is part of the Community Couch Project that brings a beautiful sofa to neighbourhoods around Ottawa (and to Music in McKellar Park), inviting passers-by to sit and interact with each other.
MacDonell was also at Music in the Park and he was enthusiastic about this new community initiative. He said part of the premise behind the Community Couch Project was that while we see people in our communities all the time, we don’t sit down and get to know them. He praised this event as a being another great opportunity to bring people together.
For Parkdale resident Nicki Bridgland, the event provided a perfect opportunity to rekindle friendships old and new. Being back in the neighbourhood of her old school, Nepean High, she bumped into more than a dozen old friends, some of whom she has known for over 25 years.
Westboro resident Laurie Foster-MacLeod said this event made up for not making it to the Folk Festival this year. “And it’s nice that it’s free,” she added, which was thanks to the local sponsors: Dovercourt, Coldwell Banker’s Cheryl Brouse, the Westboro Village Business Improvement Area, and Allegra Printing.
Check out all the other photos from this event right here.