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Atwood readings and entertainment at Claude church will mark Earth Day

Friday April 17 2009
BY KAY MACDUFFEE, COUNTRY ROADS-more from this author

Earth Day 2009 (imagine a drum roll here and a cymbal crash). We could just let it go by like any other of the 364 days OR we could, with our families, make it memorable and meaningful. And without much planning or effort on our part.
April 22, international Earth Day, will be marked in Caledon this year in a unique manner, thanks to the imagination and commitment of Caledon author and performer, Andrew Welch.
Welch has teamed-up with Jay Mowat, station manager of Erin Community Radio, to assemble a tour de force of performers, and engage the participation of various local businesses and environmental action groups.
The concept is brilliant. Readings from Margaret Atwood’s latest book, ‘Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth’, will be the centrepiece. This book is being made into a documentary film that comprised her CBC Massey Series. It’s publication last October coincided nicely with the worsening of the global economic crisis.
In her final chapter, Atwood pens a version of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ featuring a modern day Scrooge encountering the spirits of Earth Day, past, present and future. Through the spirits, we look at the issues that are facing our planet today, but with an Atwood touch of clarity and quirky, dark humour.
Readers will include celebrated stage and screen actor, James B. Douglas (Old Vic and Stratford Festival), Theatre Orangeville Artistic Director, David Nairn, Andrew Welch, and special guest, Judy Maddren, host of CBC Radio World Report.
Most of us will immediately recognize Maddren’s voice as one of the first things that we used to hear in the morning when our clock radio clicked on for the 7 a.m. news. It was she who founded the acclaimed CBC community ‘A Christmas Carol’ readings that, over the last couple of decades, have raised millions for charity. And it was this fact that inspired Welch and Mowat to put together the Atwood piece to raise money for the environment.
Along with the dramatic pieces, the evening will include performances by well-known local musicians. Juno-nominated Eric Nagler (Eric’s World), Fergus singer/songwriter, Nonnie Crete, and Tannis Slimmon, the 2008 Canadian Folk Music Awards Contemporary Vocalist of the Year.
All of the above will volunteer their time and talent. Publicity costs will be covered by local businesses including Caledon Public Libraries, Claude Church and Book Lore (Orangeville).
I am always overwhelmed by the generousity demonstrated by so many artists and merchants the way they always say “yes” to a charitable fund raising. Two local environmental groups, Caledon Countryside Alliance and Green T Environmental Awareness (Green TEA) Caledon, will be the beneficiaries of the funds raised, and I cannot imagine a clearer win/win for the community. We are entertained and enlightened by phenomenally talented artists, perhaps even inspired to action, while providing funds for ongoing environmental support in our little corner of the world.
Earth Day 2009 - Payback will take place on April 22 (8 to 10 p.m.) at the Historic Claude Church at 15175 Hurontario Street, just south of Inglewood. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $15 from Book Lore (Orangeville), Forster's Book Garden (Bolton), The Village Music Store (Erin), Green TEA, or on-line (credit cards accepted) at www.TheValueCrisis.com/payback.
Tickets paid at the door will be $18, and may be reserved at the same web address.
Please support this remarkable one time event. This planet needs all the help it can get.

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