A new project by the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association (AAA) will have the community celebrating jugs, or at least jug band music.
The Walk Right in Jug Band Project, funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizon for Seniors Program, is a year-long program of music classes, rehearsals, performances and instrument-building for all ages and abilities.
To date the program has had members of the Phil Harmonic Jug Band Orchestra (featuring seasoned musicians in the area) teaching classes in guitar, banjo, ukulele, harmonica and percussion along with jugs, washboards, spoons and kazoos.
Local musician Gerry Barnum is the artistic director for the project and was also one of the instructors, along with John Hamel, Kerri Brown, Doug Maclean and Nick Hornbuckle.
“We’ve been pushing for more fun than finesse this whole project,” said Barnum, saying the music is easy to learn, hence the tongue-in-cheek name “Phil Harmonic Jug Band Orchestra.”
“We’re definitely low brow,” he said.
Barnum said the lessons have been a real confidence booster for people as they realize they can play this music. And the enthusiasm has been incredible, he said.
“They want to get here early and stay late, that’s a good sign,” he said.
The participants have now gone on to form their own groups: Popin Jay’s, Kast Aways and Jugger Notes and will be performing at community events like the Coombs Fair.
Marilynn Sims was instrumental in bringing the project to life and said one of the mandate’s of the AAA is to foster community spirit and make sure old things are not lost.
“It’s been fun, it has brought the community together and it actually has got tentacles going out with these jug bands into their various communities and bringing people together.”