A jaunt northward to Haileybury Ontario to celebrate a niece’s college graduation has given recent cause to remember a long-ago experience in Temagami, on the Victoria Day weekend, in the early 1980’s.
The owner of the Temagami Inn at that time was a fellow named Paul Leitch. He was an established businessman and known to many. After hearing my musician husband playing piano in the lounge of a North Bay hotel, Paul thought him a good choice to spend a weekend at the Temagami Inn and play for the patrons.
We arrived early afternoon and made the acquaintance of the hostess at the Front Desk. Directing us to the bar area we proceeded to set up and complete the sound tests for microphones, speakers and amplifiers. During those years I played the drums, and we performed pleasing renditions of easy listening music, including light jazz and some vocals.
At 4:00 p.m., dressed in our finery, we descended from our upstairs room to start the first set. Eyes were wide – ours and theirs! We had never performed for a truly workingmen’s audience, and the off shift miners had never seen the likes of us either.
Feeling somewhat tremulous, I gathered my brushes and we launched into a spirited rendition of Sweet Georgia Brown. Silence hung too heavy in the air afterward and we sensed there would be little or no encouragement.
We offered to take any special requests – and somehow managed to play through distinct feelings of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Friday night was a ripsnorter and as the suds took hold the awestruck miners from the open pit iron ore facility found a soft spot for our efforts.
Nearly thirty years later I vividly remember the incredulous and incredible audience of hard-working men from the Sherman mine!