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2014 Winners of the VOICE!


Our winners each won a cash prize, beautiful flowers courtesy of Hidden Garden Floral Design and, of course, the title of VOICE of the Rideau…plus the bragging rights that go along with it!

After rounds of auditions, ten singers battled it out at the final round of the VOICE of the Rideau all ages singing competition. With 4 contestants from the child category and three in each the youth and adult categories, the talent on stage was both inspiring and fierce. The finals served as the opening act of the MUSICwestport Open Air Music Festival so singers made their final performances, not only in front of the WAC panel of judges, but also in front of a live audience. After fantastic performances from all competitors, WAC would like to congratulate the winners of the 2014 edition:

  • Adult: Stephanie Doornekamp (Westport)

  • Youth: Luke Young (Landsdowne)

  • Child: Madison Miernik (Perth) & Jillian Texeira (Ottawa)

Warm thanks goes out to all competitors who braved the stage, our panel of judges, and all those who came to support the final showdown.


Visit the WAC Facebook page for more photos.

2014 MUSICwestport Festival Line Up


Catch H’Sao at the Kick-Off Party, August 15 at The Cove.

Get ready! MUSICwestport is proud to announce the 2014 festival line up boasts a far ranging selection from bluegrass to country to rock and roll. Hosted on two outdoor stages in beautiful downtown Westport, the afternoon of free music runs from noon until 6pm on August 16. Don’t forget to join us for the kick-off party featuring Montreal-based H’SAO at The Cove on the evening of the 15th.

For more information or to listen to any of the bands, click the provided links. 


Kick-Off Party, The Cove, August 15. Drawing from gospel, traditional African music, as well as their Chadian roots, Montreal-based H’sao display clear soul, pop, and R&B influences.



Kevin Warren Quartet

A November 2010 tour to France, Italy and Belgium with the Rafael Zaldivar Trio marked the trio’s establishment as rising Canadian Jazz artists. In 2011, Kevin was awarded the TD Grand Jazz Award at the 2011 Montreal International Jazz Festival.



Alex The Folk Band

Alex the Folk Band is an eight-member, music-making cooperative that specializes in harmony vocals and fiddle-based instrumentals. The Orillia-based group has performed in concert for over 20 years. The band’s repertoire ranges from traditional tunes and songs to contemporary roots-based material, and their rousing gospel set has been featured twice at the John Arcand Fiddle Fest in Saskatoon.



“Sunfields sound like Wilco making out with Tom Petty in the back of Neil Yong’s van, while listening to Sparklehorse and dreaming of The Beatles.”
SUNFIELDS-2014-2We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Montreal based Sunfields  came together in 2009 but three of their four members have been playing music on and off together since they were teenagers, romping through their parents’ vinyl collection. Their songs draw on dreamy lyrics, disarming melodies, moody instrumentation and sonic undercurrents with elements of folk, indie rock and psychedelic undertones. Watch out Westport, here comes the Sun…

Bob Burtch Bluegrass

Despite spending much of the last 70+ Bob_Burtchyears playing the mandolin, Newboro area native Bob Burtch hasn’t lost that gleam in his eye when it comes to music. Burtch was born in Elgin and grew up near Crosby where he got into music at an early age. By the time he was 10 he was playing in a country band and by the time he was 14 he had his own, The Pacesetters, and they lasted 20 years.
Burtch got to test his talents with some Nashville musicians when he met up with Jesse and Jim McReynolds of the Virginia Boys. They invited him to play at a wedding for Mike Scott, a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and they stayed close after that. Their influence was part of the reason Burtch started playing more bluegrass along with the country staples.


missemilyEmily Fennell

Miss Emily is a truly gifted singer. Her voice is rich and soulful – she can slip from sweet and seductive to commanding and fierce and back again in the tradition of the finest blues and soul singers. –Rob Baker (The Tragically Hip)

In 2011 Kingston based ‘Miss Emily‘ received accolades from Gene Simmons (KISS) & Matt Wells (MuchMoreMusic), played to 25,000 people alongside The Tragically Hip, Sam Roberts Band & The Trews in Bobcaygeon.


Mikey & The Reelers

What started out as a bit of fun four years ago has turned into more of the same for Westport’s Mike Cochrane and his fellow angler-musicians. Mikey and the Reelers, and their self-titled album of fun fishing songs, is the result of playing, angling and the occasional pint. The album’s contributors got to know each other through years of membership in the exclusive Gan Fishing Club and the impromptu group released their album last year. CBC Radio listeners will be familiar with Peter Elkas, who joins them on the album, and brings to the band and extensive music background. Ryan Myshrall, who also contributes on the album, is an accomplished professional bass player, studio and touring musician. Catch (get it?) a listen here.


1336497513_DH_enjoys_an_Stevenbau_Xylo_soloPropelled by a steamroller of percussion and energized by jazz horns, Toronto’s Drumhand draws inspiration from the danceable circuitous rhythms of hot climates from Bahia, Brazil to Ghana, West Africa and from India to New Orleans. Listen here.


Meet the Artist: Sharon Benson

watercolour. mixed media. acrylic. paverpol.


Sharon Benson is a local artist and a member of WAC and the Rideau Lakes Artists Association.

Artist Sharon Benson says she draws inspiration from Westport itself. “Westport is a village filled with a large variety of artisans.  The camaraderie among artists is wonderful and inspiring. The lake, Spy Rock and the variety of trees and wildlife that it possesses…the village is an inspiration in itself,” says Benson. That inspiration is channelled into watercolour, acrylic, mixed media and sculpture using Paverpol.

“…the village is an inspiration in itself.”

Paverpol is a non-toxic, environmentally safe, 100% weather proof textile hardener. Using Paverpol, Benson exploits nature’s inspiration, creating a variety of figures including herons, elegant figures of women, and other garden decor. Along with sculpture, Benson’s 6 years of paint work include a variety of subjects but her portfolio is largely comprised of her commissioned work to paint homes, businesses and cottages which paints from photographs.

Benson shares her love of sculpture hosting 1 day Paverpol classes in her home. For small groups of 3-6, Benson provides materials and runs the class from 9:30-4pm. “No experience is necessary and you don’t even have to be artistic,” Benson assures. “At the end of the day you will go home with a beautiful, one of a kind, sculpture that you will be proud to show off.  I can guarantee that!”.

Visit Sharon’s street stall at the MUSICwestport festival August 16th.  For more information on Sharon, please click here.

VOICE Finalists

Stephanie Doornekamp (Westport) 18+ Age Category

Stephanie Doornekamp (Westport) 18+ Age Category

We sorted through applications.

We judged the auditions.

We selected the best.

The competitors were both nervous and confident but the energy in the audition room was electric. The first round of the VOICE of the Rideau all ages singing competition had selected singers audition in front of three judges. Our three judges, Kathy Doornekamp, Ann Savage and Angela Elster, then chose 10 finalists across the age groups. WAC extends warm thanks to all who participated and assisted with auditions and congratulates all finalists!

Finals of the competition will be live at The Cove Country Inn in Westport on August 16th from 10am until noon and will be the official opening act of the 8th annual MUSICwestport Open Air Festival.


12 and Under

  • Corinne Carbion (Elgin)
  • Maya Forbes (Smiths Falls)
  • Madison Miernik (Perth)VoiceoftheRideau
  • Jillian Texeira (Ottawa)



  • Colby Adrian (Westport)
  • Caitlin McKnight (Ottawa)
  • Larisa Robbins (Smiths Falls)



  • Stephanie Doornekamp (Westport)
  • Dave Riddell (Newboro)
  • Amanda Snider (Westport)

Totem Poles with Diane Black


Totem Poles at Rideau Vista Public School


464 slabs of clay, 116 young artists, 8 totem poles


There is a new art installation at Rideau Vista Public School, actually there are 7.  Guided by local artist Diane Black, the seven totem poles are the collective creativity of all 116 students at Rideau Vista.

Black spent the last week of May working directly with each selected class, from kindergarten all the way to the grade five students. Explaining the importance of the totem pole in Canadian history, the student were then invited to think about what symbols would best represent them on a totem pole.

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Each student was then given four slabs of wet clay to carve out their chosen totems. Many students chosen family, sports, and nature symbols. When all four pieces of clay were designed, Black helped the students assemble the individual pieces together to form a box shape with no top or bottom.

Black collected all the carved clay boxes and took them home with her to dry. After firing all 116 pieces in her kiln, Black returned to Rideau Vista to slide each piece on seven 4×4 wooden posts, one post for each class. DSC06751

Just before the end of the year, Black will return to the school and disassemble the clay totem poles so each student can take their piece home with them.