Queen's talent shines in local music festival
By Meredith Dault, Senior Communications Officer
When Megan Hamilton isn’t keeping things ticking along in her role as an administrative assistant in the Faculty of Law, she can often be found strumming a guitar or penning a song. With four albums under her belt and another in the works, Ms. Hamilton is looking forward to playing some of her latest tunes for Kingston audiences when she performs at the folk venue as part of the sixth annual HomeGrown Live Music Festival on Saturday, May 10.
“There’s a genre for everyone,” says Ms. Hamilton, who is among a handful of Queen’s staff, faculty and students who will be participating in the festival. “It’s the kind of thing where you can just walk around downtown and check out different venues. You can start in the afternoon, and then go as late as you feel like going!”
Spread over 12 venues in Kingston’s downtown core, the festival caters to music lovers of all kinds. A total of 94 musical acts, playing everything from jazz and blues, to world beat and country, will play over the course of the day-long event. The festival also includes a venue dedicated to youth, called “next generation.”
But the festival is more than just an opportunity to shine a spotlight on local musical talent: it’s also a fundraiser for the Joe Chithalen Memorial Musical Instrument Lending Library (Joe’s M.I.L.L), which loans out its collection of more than 600 instruments to members of the Kingston community.
“We felt that the M.I.L.L was a good match with the vibrant local music scene that we have in Kingston,” says Tom Stewart, who helped found the festival and currently serves at its chair. “The lending library really helps make music accessible, no matter what your income is. It helps people enjoy the privilege of holding an instrument in their hand and making music.”
Though he won’t be performing, Matt Rogalsky, a continuing adjunct professor in the School of Music, is co-ordinating the festival’s electroacoustic venue at The Artel.
“I know it will be an exciting evening of live electronic music,” he says of a lineup that includes performances by Sequential Shutdown, Queen’s alumnus Robert Bertschi (performing as Doc Louis), and Fire Moss, a collaboration between David Parker, a graduate student in the School of Computing, and Kristiana Clemens, Operations Officer at CFRC Radio, who perform live improvisational soundscapes, often informed by accompanying visuals.
Dr. Rogalsky is also excited to hear Mike Lukaszuk, who does live programming on his computer to build layers of sound. “It’s a visual programming language,” he says, “and you can see what he’s doing as he puts the musical piece together. It’s really edge-of-your-seat performance.”
Also on the bill are Queen’s staff members Robin Moon (Marketing), performing as part of Giguère/Moon (folk venue), faculty member Lynne Hanson (Law), who is performing as part of The Calamity Janes ("psychedelic snack" venue), and staff member Ted Evans (Law), performing with his band Vorasek (rock venue). The Queen’s University Ensemble will kick off the music at the jazz venue on Saturday.
A festival bracelet, which includes entry to all venues, is $10, or $5 with a donation to the Partners in Mission Food Bank.