Huron-Kinloss council has agreed to grant $5,000 to Byron Ballagh and the Homegrown Harmonies Show Chorus to assist with snow-clearing at the Lucknow Community Centre while the group practises there over the winter for its concert for the 2018 Lucknow Reunion.
In committee-of-the-whole last night (Dec. 4), Ballagh, director of the former “Soundsation” choir in Teeswater and now a resident of Lucknow, told council that the hope is to have 100 voices in the chorus, and perform two concerts at the reunion.
“I'm coming out of retirement to direct this special event for the reunion,” he said, “and we want to make it really big. So, we have to plan for practices.”
He said organizers chose the community centre in Lucknow rather than upstairs in the sports centre because it requires less hauling of equipment. “We acquired all the equipment from 'Soundsation' with the sole purpose of making it available to schools and local groups to inspire a love of chorale music in the community.”
The problem is, he said, the parking lot and entrance ways at the community centre, which is run by the Lucknow Lions Club, are not cleared of snow on a regular basis.
“We are asking council to help us with the costs involved for snow removal and minor cleaning of the hall after use of the facility,” said Ballagh. “We have been told the approximate cost is $1,000 per month for plowing and cleaning to use the community centre.”
He suggested perhaps the contractor who already clears the parking lot there could do a couple of extra clearings ahead of practice nights which are going to be Thursdays, beginning the first week of January.
Councillor Don Murray said the township has already granted $25,000 to the Lucknow reunion committee, but could add another $5,000 in bridge financing for this work, but it would have to be paid back after the reunion.
“I would have to take that back to the reunion committee,” said Ballagh. “We're going to sell tickets to the concerts, and we hope to pack the auditorium twice. We're going to be spending $5,000 just in music costs, and we're charging $50 per chorus member to participate, with 50 rehearsals planned.”
Mayor Mitch Twolan suggested using money from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) community betterment reserve as a grant to this group to put on the concerts.
“All the funds raised at the reunion go back into the community anyway,” he said. “These chorus members are paying $50 each and committing a lot of time and effort to do this.”
Council agreed, and approved a motion to that effect.
“At this event, you'll either be in it or at it,” said Ballagh. “I know there's a lot of talent in this community, I just have to kick the dust off it and showcase it.”