In 2005, Mariposa Folk Foundation established the Mariposa Hall of Fame to honour those who have made important contributions to Mariposa’s storied past. Inductions are open to folk performers and festival volunteers.
Ken Rovinelli, Colin Puffer, John Sladek, Alan Mills
Jeff Weed, Jim Carnrite, David Warren
Gord Ball, Don Evans, Tim Lauer
This year, being the tenth anniversary of the festival moving back to Orillia, it was thought appropriate to honour the “three wise men” who made that happen.
The 2009 inductees into the Mariposa Hall of Fame are Tim Lauer, Don Evans, and Gord Ball the trio of folk aficionados who approached the Mariposa Board in Toronto to float the idea of bringing the festival back to its original home.
Then, once they’d done their successful selling job to the T.O folkies, these three threw themselves full bore into the project, and helped head the team of organizers who set up the festival at Tudhope Park. With their leadership, that group instituted many of the traditions and routines the organization follows to this day in order to bring off such a successful annual event.
This year we were pleased to honour these three marvelous contributors at the Festival. We did this because we wanted their many Mariposa and Orillia friends and supporters to have the opportunity to be present to help Gord, Don, and Tim celebrate this achievement. Congratulations gentlemen!
Estelle Klein and Ken Whiteley
On November 19, the Mariposa Folk Foundation inducted long-time artistic director Estelle Klein, and musician/producer/all-round wonderful human being, Ken Whiteley, into the Mariposa Hall of Fame. The event took place at Hugh’s Room in Toronto, a perfect venue for such an intimate ceremony.
Emcee Grit Laskin started things off with a few remarks and a song. Then former artistic director and sometimes Mariposa publicist Richard Flohil got up to reminisce about Estelle Klein and her pioneering work in modeling what all folk festivals across North America emulated. Toronto singer-songwriter Eve Goldberg also spoke about Estelle. Sylvia Tyson graced the stage and spoke eloquently about her friendship with Estelle and offered her congratulations to the late Estelle’s family. Mariposa Folk Foundation President, Catherine Brennan, presented Estelle’s son, Paul, with a plaque honouring his mother. Paul also addressed the audience, graciously acknowledging his mother’s love of the festival and its music.
The rest of the night was dedicated to performances by Ken’s close musical friends and family. Jenny, Dan, Ben and Jesse Whiteley performed a couple of numbers (joined by Uncle Ken as well) and Evalyn Parry sang a song which she’d done with Ken. Mose Scarlett provided a creative and entertaining Q & A – Mose asked a series of questions and Ken’s answers came in the form of sound clips from his various recordings. Al Simmons performed three hilarious numbers that had the audience in stitches. Holmes Hooke read messages from a variety of Ken’s friends and well wishers who were unable to attend the proceedings: Raffi, Tom Paxton, brother Chris Whiteley (emailing from England), David Essig (emailing from Thailand), Sid Dolgay (of the Travellers) and several others.
Fred Penner, a close friend and fellow entertainer actually wrote and recorded a brilliant song about Ken and it was played while the audience watched a slide show of Ken over the past 30 some years. Jackie Washington sent his regards via a short video clip, John Wort Hannam and Brent Titcomb performed songs that they dedicated to Ken and Colin Linden made a surprise appearance to play and also tell about how influential Ken has been in his life and career. That seemed to be theme that carried throughout the night. Mariposa Artistic Director, Mike Hill, presented Ken with a plaque to welcome Ken into the select crowd that includes Ian & Sylvia, Murray McLauchlan and founder Ruth Jones McVeigh. Finally, Ken was joined on stage by an all star cast of musicians for a final set that blew the audience away. Dennis Pendrith, David Wall, Pat Patrick, Bucky Berger, Caitlin Hanford and assorted family members joined Ken for several songs that left the audience wanting more.
Murray McLauchlan and Lynne Hurry
On Saturday, November 10th, Former Mariposa Folk Foundation President, Lynne Hurry, and singer/songwriter Murray McLauchlan, were inducted into the Mariposa Hall of Fame.
Lynne Hurry served many years as Mariposa’s president during intermitent stints. She led the struggle to keep the Foundation going when it fell on hard times, and she was a major force in seeing the Mariposa Folk Festival return and grow at its now permanent home in Orillia.
Murray McLauchlan ia Canadian roots musician who is also a household name. His songs such as Farmer’s Song, Down By the Henry Moore, Whispering Rain and Sweeping the Spotlight Away have added beautiful colour to the Canadian musical landscape. Murray’s connection with Mariposa began in 1967 when he auditioned for the weekly Mariposa-sponsored “hootenanies” at the legendary Riverboat in Yorkville. Murray used his art school training to design the program in 1968, and it was Murray who took Ian Tyson’s original sun logo and turned it into the whimsical sun face that is Mariposa’s iconic logo to this day. Over the years, Murray has appeared numerous times at Mariposa Folk Festival.
The evening induction ceremony began with a showing of the 1993 documentary film called Under a Stormy Sky, about Mariposa Folk Festival that featured a younger Murray McLauchlan singing The Berlin Wall.
Legendary Canadian rocker, Ian Thomas served as Master of Ceremonies.
Rick Fines and Suzie Vinnick played a medley of delta blues tunes as a special tribute to Lynne Hurry, and one of her close friends, Sheila Cuthbertson, gave a poetic and personal testimonial about this outstanding person.
Catherine Brennan, acting President of Mariposa Folk Foundation, described Lynne as the third woman in a ‘holy trinity’ at Mariposa who steered the festival through good and bad times. Ruth Jones started it; Estelle Klein developed it; and Lynne saw it return to beinga strong and robust organization. Lynne gave a brief but moving thank you and was given a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd.
Ian Thomas returned to the stage, this time as a singer. He performed a ‘Murray song’ that included some pretty elaborate finger picking and complex chord structure. The audience loved it! Ian then called up Brent Titcomb, a long-time friend of Murray. Brent was a member of the iconic folk-rock band Three’s a Crowd who were the first musicians to record a McLauchlan song. Brent played Coat of Colours, a beautiful tune that many in the audience had never heard before. Marie-Lynne Hammond, one-time member of Stringband and a CBC radio host at the same time that Murray was hosting Swinging on a Star on CBC, took to the stage next. She was flanked by Cindy Church and Suzie Vinnick as they played Don’t Put Your Faith in Men, a feminist number written years ago by Murray. Cindy Church continued the show. Her choice of material was Murray’s song Path of the Moon, loaning her beautiful voice to a beautiful melody. Seeing that it was the day before Remembrance Day, it was somewhat appropriate and fitting that Murray’s pal Vezi sang Murray’s song The Great War. It was a heartfelt and suitable rendition of a wonderful song. Liam Titcomb, Brent’s 20 year old son and a rising star in the Canadian music scene, completed the tribute portion of the evening by singing Burned Out Car. Ian Thomas made much of the fact that Murray had been 20 when he’d first appeared at Mariposa and that there was serendipity in the fact that Brent sang the first song of Murray’s that was ever put on record and here was Liam, singing a song of Murray’s that was to be found on record forty years later.
Twice during the evening Holmes Hooke, the velvet-voiced poet who inhabits Hugh’s Room, got up on stage to read messages from those not at the ceremony. Welcoming both inductees, Sid Dolgay and Ruth Jones-McVeigh sent their regards from Florida and British Columbia respectively. U.S. folk legend Tom Rush wrote a message, stating that he feels Murray has written “some of the best songs ever written – by anyone, ever.” Bruce Cockburn reminisced about how he recalled Murray introducing him to the Mariposa folks. Barney Bentall sent an email that touched on his personal travels and adventures with Murray as well as thanking him for “his music, his family and his friendship.”
Ken Rovinelli, a member of the board of directors for Mariposa, told of Murray’s many contributions to Canadian culture and his connections with Mariposa over the years. Murray was then presented with a plaque and a framed copy of the 1968 cover that he’d designed so long ago. It was then time for Murray to take the stage.
Showing the class and character that make him such a worthy inductee, Murray’s first song that he performed was not one of his own but rather Early Morning Rain, a nod to Gordon Lightfoot who was seated about 10 feet away! Murray then called up the other members of his group, Lunch at Allen’s – Cindy Church, Ian Thomas and Marc Jordan – to join him in various ways while he sang. Cindy joined him on Farmer’s Song; Ian’s mandolin playing enhanced numbers like Shoeshine Working Song; and Marc’s vocal harmonies were apparent on songs like No Change in Me. For a finale, Murray used those skills (“I’ll be the bouncing ball”) that he has honed over the years and led a sing-along version of White Water, a catchy tune that had the entire room singing with him. Following a very long and raucous standing ovation, Murray returned for an encore and sang an unaccompanied version of Whispering Rain to close out the evening.
Ian & Sylvia Tyson, Don Cullen
In the words of emcee Nancy White, it was “Canada’s version of a reunion of the Beatles.” It was historic. It was amazing. It was the reunion – for one memorable night – of Canada’s greatest folk music duo, Ian and Sylvia.
Ian and Sylvia headlined the very first Mariposa in 1961. Not only did they headline, but Ian was a key organizer of the inaugural event. He even designed Mariposa’s first logo. Both performers, since their musical and marital split in the mid 1970s, have graced the Mariposa stage a number of times as individual performers as well.
Also honoured in the Hugh’s Room event was long-time Mariposa supporter and ‘presence’, Don Cullen. Known to most Canadians as one of Wayne and Shuster’s repertoire players,
Don has been a key figure in Toronto music and entertainment circles since the late 1950s. He established the legendary Bohemian Embassy, where acts such as Ian & Sylvia often got their start in the music business.
A number of musical guests appeared on stage to pay their respects to the Tysons with words and songs. Nancy White, Aengus Finnan and Marie-Lynn Hammond sang historic Ian and Sylvia tunes. Toronto’s Good Brothers played Summer Wages and included Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor in their short set. Keelor and Margaret Good sang a version of Katy Dear which sounded eerily close to the original Ian & Sylvia version. Eccentric guitarist and singer David Wilcox, who played with the Tysons in their band The Great Speckled Bird, rocked the house with a couple of acoustic bluesy numbers.
Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker. Headlining the first Mariposa Folk Festival in 1961.
Gordon Lightfoot spoke off the cuff about his friendship and admiration for Ian & Sylvia and Don. Congratulatory telegrams came from the likes of Leonard Cohen, Nanci Griffith, Eric Andersen, Tom Russell and Ronnie Hawkins. Nancy White served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
Ruth Jones McVeigh, Pete McGarvey, Ed Cowan, Dr. ‘Casey’ Jones, Sid Dolgay, David Major, Ted Schafer