Tag Archives: Music

Cortes Island’s 2023 MicroGrants for Neighbours Program

The thirteen projects that applied to Cortes Island’s MicroGrants for Neighbours Program this year received a total of $6,000 in funding. 

“This was the first year we ran it in partnership with Neighborhood Small Grants, which is actually  part of the Vancouver Foundation,” explained Isabella McKnight, Executive Administrator of the Cortes Island Community Foundation, which runs the local microgrants program.”’  

“I believe that having this seed money and the ability to then rent a space, or buy supplies, or hire facilitators really helped to kickstart these events. Without even just a couple hundred dollars to pay for somebody’s time to run these events, I don’t think all of them would have happened. I’m really hoping that after seeing the success of the programs and the events that ran this year, we’ll have even more applications next year.” 

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The Blues Barn

A new music venue is coming to Cortes Island. The Blues Barn will open its doors, beside the store in Squirrel Cove, on Tuesday, October 31. 

“We notice there’s a lack of opportunity for community involvement on Cortes. We figured that since the last event we hosted, volleyball, is starting to die down, we need something new to bring to the community and to bring entertainment back to this side of the island. We figured that for the colder season, the Blues Barn would be a great opportunity to bring the community together and to have some fun,” explained Chase Cunningham, from the Squirrel Cove General Store.

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Ann Mortifee: Coming Home To Cortes Island

Conclusion of a 4 part series.

Hollyhock brought Ann Mortifee to Cortes Island. She was one of Vancouver’s leading singers, but had no previous teaching experience when they invited her to do a workshop. That was 40 years ago. 

“Martha Abelson convinced me to give it a go. I remember the first workshop I did. I went into a wild panic because I’m not a teacher, I’m a singer. I went to the library to find out how I could teach,” she explained.  “At the end of the first session in the morning, I told  Shivon Robinsong (a co-founder and Director of Hollyhock), ‘I can’t do this. I’ve used everything that I was going to use in the five days in the first morning. I have no idea what I’m doing for the rest of the week. I have to give them the option to leave. I’ll pay for everything that Hollyhock would lose.'”

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Ann Mortifee: A South African Pilgrimage

   Part 3 of a 4 part series

Ann Mortifee was born in Zululand. While she’s been in Canada most of her life, the first 10 years were spent on a sugarcane farm where she was surrounded by the Zulu and Xhosa peoples.

“My grandfather had been in Africa during the Boer War. He had stayed on and had become a farmer.  It was in KwaZulu, then called Zululand and I felt I owed a debt on behalf of our family,” she explained.  

“Apartheid was a terrible thing. In fact that’s why my father left South Africa.” 

The family moved to Vancouver, but Ann still felt connected to the land of her birth. 

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Kim Paulley (part 2): George Sirk, Cortes Island and the rebirth of her career

Part 2 of a 2 part interview, click here for part 1. 

Her singing career appeared to be a thing of the past, when Kim Paulley came to Cortes Island in 1992. The release of ‘Straight From The Heart’ had been promising, but she turned to Classical music. While there had been ‘fantastic’ moments between 1985-90, there was also the toil of auditions (and sometimes not getting the part). Her career was on hold when a friend  recommended the retreats at Hollyhock, where George Sirk was a naturalist guide.

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