We've Been Tagged

Well here's an interesting development. The Grateful We're Not Dead blog has been tagged by a Plurk friend, JimBob51, in Australia. The first thing I have to do in return is to shout his blog: AOEDE. As explained on his blog header, "Aoede is one of the three original Muses. She is the Muse of Song or Voice. It is also the name of one of the Moons of Jupiter". Jim's blog is his spot to muse on just about anything and it can be an interesting read. So drop by and have a look.

This tagging of the Grateful We're Not Dead blog resulted from my interaction with my friends on Plurk. Plurk has become my main vehicle for building up a social network of friends and acquaintances around the globe. Now as I understand the rules of tagging, I have three tasks to complete:
  1. Shout your taggers blog
  2. Write 5 Interesting facts about yourself
  3. Tag six more blogs
I completed Task #1 in the first paragraph, so on to the remaining two.

Since the Grateful We're Not Dead blog is dedicated to the music and the comings and goings of the band I guess I'll say a few things about my musical background pre-"Grateful We're Not Dead". You may not find these interesting, but I have to write something.
  1. I started playing guitar in 1956 when I was 13. The old guitar that I used to learn on had strings that were at least 1/4 inch above the fret board and the pain from playing was almost enough to bring tears to my eyes.

  2. The first time I ever played in a band was New Years Eve, 1958 in Lanark, Ontario. The band was the Mississippi River Boys, a country dance band that played throughout Lanark, Renfrew, Carleton and Frontenac counties in Ontario. My first job was as a drummer. If I remember correctly we were paid $40 each for that night. For regular dances we usually received $5 to $10 for the night.

  3. My first electric guitar was a H44 Stratotone by Harmony Guitar. I bought it and an amplifier in a pawn shop in the Byward Market in Ottawa in 1959.

  4. The most interesting place I ever played with the Mississippi River Boys was Rideau Hall, residence of the the Governor-General of Canada. This was for the staff Christmas Party in 1965. The Governor-General, Georges P. Vanier, and his wife were in attendance and appeared to enjoy the country music, especially the fiddle tunes..

  5. I played with the Mississippi River Boys from 1958 until 1985 when we disbanded.
Now the final and most difficult task: Tag six other blogs. Hmmmmm. I'm thinking, thinking, thinking.... OK, some may have already been tagged, but here goes in no particular order:
So with this final task completed I'll go back to sleep until inspiration hits me with an idea for the next Grateful We're Not Dead article.

Mike Shea: Musician and Gentleman

We'd like to offer a big THANK YOU to Mike Shea. Mike, a well known Ottawa musician for many years, has been downsizing and donated his sound system to Grateful We're Not Dead. The equipment includes an AudioPro MicroMix SP8 mixer/amplifer, Elite Micron 160 speakers and an assortment of microphones, stands and cable.

Now a bit of information about Mike.

He started his musical career 47 years ago at the age of 16. He performed on a regular basis until 1993 when he stopped entertaining professionally. During his career as a musician he was a member of an Ottawa band, The Counts, for 8 years. He also entertained at the former Skyline Hotel with a band called The Beggarmen for 1-1/2 years. For 20 years Micheal entertained, on a volunteer basis, for the Children's Hospital Foundation of Ottawa. He received a Citation from the Children's Hospital in recognition of his volunteer contribution.

In addition to the above, Mike entertained in senior citizens homes throughout the Ottawa Valley for his whole career, also on a voluntary basis. For five years of this time, he joined forces with Bernie Carroll and entertained as Bernie and Mike.

So once again, Thank You, Mike. We do appreciate your generosity and will be proud to continue using this excellent sound system, hopefully for years to come.

And for the techies, some information about the MicroMix:
1987 marked the introduction of Micromix. Paul Ierymenko designed an advanced stereo mixer and a 250-Watt per-channel stereo amplifier then put them together. Voila - the Audiopro Micromix SP-8 (8 channels stereo, 250 wattsx2, fan-cooled), soon to be joined by the SP-12 (12 channels, same power). Both powered mixers were compact, console-style affairs with slick blue cosmetics, colour-coded knobs and loads of features. Each input channel had a gain control and clip LED, a monitor level control, 3 bands of EQ, an external effects level control and another for the internal effects system, a pan control and a slide control for main mix level. Masters included two ten-band graphic equalizers - stereo for the main PA and mono for the monitors - a stereo reverb/echo (a "first" for Yorkville), dual LED level meters and a pushbutton which enabled you to power the main speakers with one of the built-in amp channels and monitors with the other (another "first" for Yorkville). Naturally there were the usual master faders for sub 1 and sub 2 (left & right), one for monitors and another for the mono line-level output which resulted when the afore-mentioned pushbutton was depressed blending the sub 1 & 2 signals into one. Whew! Oh, and one more thing - a full-time stereo limiter in series with the power amp ensured that distortion would be minimal even under worst-case conditions.

Reference: Yorkville Sound History: 1963-1991 Published Feb 20,2002. Written by Mike Holman

Helga Voigt's 93rd Birthday Party


On September 6, Grateful We're Not Dead had the honour and pleasure of entertaining at the 93rd birthday party of Helga Voigt. It was standing room only for Helga's party with guests arriving from as far away as New Jersey, North Carolina and Germany. Helga's three surviving children, Peter, Evelyn and Veronika, were in attendance for the party as well. We have known Helga for a number of years and she is truly a remarkable woman and I hope we can entertain at quite few more of her birthday parties.

Helga VoigtPublisher presents 1st copy to Helga

In conjunction with the Helga's birthday was the launch of her book, Letters From Helga: 1934 - 1937: A Teen Bride Writes Home From East Africa. The book is based on letters Helga wrote to her family and friends in Germany after she left for Africa at the tender age of eighteen to marry Werner Voigt, a man she had never met. The three years worth of letters give a detailed, exciting picture into her life in East Africa. The letters have been translated and annotated by her daughter, Evelyn Voigt.

Letters From Helga is available from:

General Store Publishing House
499 O'Brien Rd
Box 415
Renfrew, Ontario K7V 4A6
1-800-465-6072

and can be ordered online as well.

60 Years in East Africa by Werner Voigt, Helga's late husband, is available from the same publisher.