Lang may yer lum reek.

Coming from a Scottish family, where everyone except me was born in the ‘old country’, my recollections of the celebration as an old year ended and a new year arrived always focused on Hogmanay, as we called the night of December 31.

Just before the bells started ringing towards midnight, someone with a dark complexion (definitely not me, a redhead) would go outside to await the new day; after the twelfth bell rang, this first ‘footer’ entered our house, carrying a piece of coal, some coins and a slice of cake, with a declaration to everyone present, Lang may yer lum reek (Long may your chimney smoke). The greeting and the objects represented comfort (the coal), sustenance (the cake) and prosperity (the coins) throughout the arriving new year. And I can’t forget that music brought us all together with a hearty version of Auld Lang Syne to get the new year rolling!

It’s late December, 2022 as I prepare this note and I’m in a Hogmanay frame of mind, reflecting back on what the past year has meant for our music festival. I know that for many artistic leaders and their organisations, the twelfth month is generally the point for reflections about the past year, but for Huron Waves December was totally focused on our third seasonal video and that’s why my own December eblast focused on the musicale we released on December 20.

I hope you’ve seen Music Makes the Season Bright and enjoyed its variety of styles and settings. (If you haven’t, it’s still running on our festival website, on YouTube, and likely, for a day or two, on some of the five regional cable systems that carried the program throughout the holidays…thanks to them once again). Here’s a direct link to the program:

l-r Katy Clark and Terry McKenna record Hallelujah for the 2022 Holiday video. The Board and Staff played host this year: Board Member Jane Orr (at right) is recorded by Seth McNichol of FauxPop Media in the FauxPop Studio, Goderich.

A Flashback! Remember when, on March 10, 2020 at the White Squirrel Golf Club in Zurich, we proudly announced our inaugural season, only to have the pandemic shutdown begin just five days later. Thus followed two years when we simply couldn’t offer live programming…we couldn’t, it seemed, live up to the Board’s aim of bringing a variety of musical styles and performances not just to one location, but to various locations around Huron County. Then, an old word in one’s vocabulary – pivot – took on fresh meaning. Particularly through the support of our provincial government and with local business and community groups’ sponsorships, pivoting to video programming opened the way to bringing isolated performances together as complete programs.

With amazingly strong numbers of viewers’ visits (called engagements in the trade) to our December videos in 2020 and 2021, these online programs have continued. Then, in 2022 we also launched a season of live concerts, all aspiring to meet the festival’s original goals.

These recent steps are precisely why I’m so happy as 2022 concludes…why I want to acknowledge the work and dedication of both Board and staff who never gave up during the two discouraging years of the Pandemic Period…why I want to summarize what 2022 can claim:

Two one-hour videos in June and December were filmed in Blyth, Exeter, Goderich, Seaforth and Wingham with additional settings both on and overlooking Lake Huron itself; the dozen segments covered musical styles from classical to country, jazz to folk-pop to contemporary, featuring local and visiting Canadian artists whose talents were in brass and woodwind instruments, guitar, harp, 19-string lute, organ, piano, violin, vocal and percussion performances. Thanks to the support of our donors, all these artists were paid professional fees for their appearances and their expenses.

l-r On the bluffs of Lake Huron with Gimlet’s Fine, Spring 2022: Venabrass at the Salvation Army Citadel, Goderich, December 2022. Click the images above to see the Spring 2022 or Holiday 2022 Video. Filming by FauxPop Media.

June’s free events took advantage of the County’s location along the lakefront with morning sound explorations in four locations; the live concerts were in Exeter, Grand Bend, St. Joseph and Wingham, and included First Nations artists and LGBTQ2S+ orchestral musicians, as well as a benefit presentation of heritage music to support Ukrainian young people studying in southwest Ontario but unable to return home because of war in their homeland.

l-r (top) Morgan Toney, Queer Songbook Orchestra, Victor Mishalow,

(bottom) Bora Kim, William Prince and Whiskey Jack performed in Huron Waves’ 2022 season.

That’s what Huron Waves undertook in 2022…a good foundation for all that’s ahead. Indeed, we’ve plenty of exciting news to share with you, and it begins unfolding in edition #38.

As I thank and wish you – the music festival’s patrons, friends and colleagues – a Happy New Year in 2023, please permit me to close with a toast and a cheery musical excerpt from my own Scottish heritage:

May the best ye’ve ever seen

Be the worst ye’ll ever see.

May a moose ne’er leave yer girnal

Wi’a tear drap in his e’e.

May ye aye keep hale and he’rty

Till ye’re auld enough tae dee.

May ye aye juist be sae happie

As I wish ye aye tae be.

Lang may yer lum reek.

Till we’re together again…remember that Music Connects Us.

John A. Miller,

Artistic Director