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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story by Beau Dixon

Next week's WTF! will be somewhat of a departure from our usual format. While we will still be featuring open mike slots before and after... on Friday, February 22nd, as part of Black History Month, we have engaged acclaimed Toronto playwright, musician and actor BEAU DIXON to perform his one-man show - Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story. Friday, February 2nd Chebucto Coffee 6:30 - 9pm Free will donation ************************** HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: On October 23, 1958, a massive "bump"—similar to a small earthquake—collapsed No. 2 colliery of the Cumberland mines in Springhill, Nova Scotia, trapping 174 men 3900 metres (over 2 miles!) underground. Rescuers acted immediately, with little hope there would be many survivors. Slowly they extracted men, alive and dead, from the ground. On the ninth day, they reached the last 7 to be found alive. Among them was Maurice Ruddick, a 46-year-old African Canadian, a slim man with a thin moustache who always pomaded his hair. When the miners finished a shift, it took an hour to ride to the surface in the trolleys. Ruddick would sing during the trip, blues, jazz or popular songs of the day. Some of the miners joined him to sing "Dem Bones" or "Don't Be Cruel" or "Bye Bye Love." As they ascended from the pit, their baritones rumbled up ahead of them, audible to the company men who worked on the surface. After the mineshaft caved in on them, the 7 men struggled to survive. Ruddick, despite a broken leg, helped his companions keep their spirits up by singing and leading them in song and prayer. Ruddick and the other "miracle miners" enjoyed public attention briefly after the disaster. For Ruddick, the only Black in the group, racism dimmed his moment in the spotlight. The 1958 mine collapse killed 74 men and ended Springhill's tenure as a large-scale mining town. The mines were sealed shortly after the Big Bump. Maurice Ruddick died in 1988, all but forgotten for his role during those 9 long days. ************************** BENEATH SPRINGHILL: THE MAURICE RUDDICK STORY This forty-five minute musical chronicles the life of Maurice Ruddick, "the singing miner", an African Canadian who survived the historic mining disaster in Springhill, Nova Scotia in 1958 and was awarded “Citizen of the Year” for saving the lives of his fellow workers. It recalls the events of seven miners trapped over two miles beneath a small mining town; the effect it had on their rural Canadian community; and the racial tension that surfaced as a result. BEAU DIXON'S tour here is supported by the playwrights guild and sponsored by the Government of Canada. For more information on Beau please see www.beaudixon.com or www.firebrandtheatre.com We are thrilled to be able to present this educational and entertaining story filled with tragedy, drama and comical - yet conflicting - moments of hope and bravery. This is a "MUST SEE" performance so to ensure seating... please arrive early. Margo and Cindy WTF! is an artistic outreach program of the Helen Creighton Folklore Society. We meet every second and fourth Friday of the month at CHEBUCTO COFFEE, 6430 Chebucto Road, corner of Chebucto & Kline in Halifax where Mike's extraordinary culinary fare is approaching legendary status. Come early for a bite and stay for the entertainment which starts around 6:30 and goes until 9:00ish. As always... admission is by free-will donation towards the Society's work.

Monday, February 4, 2013

WTF: What the Folk Celebrates 1 Year at Mike's!

You heard it right! We have been the benificiaries of Mike's legendary hospitality at CHEBUCTO COFFEE for one full year! You'd think he would have clued in to us by now and sent us packing but thankfully... he's a very good sport !! So... in honour of this momentous occasion... WTF! proposes that those of you who write songs, stories or poetry... write something in honour of Mike. You could be reverent with praise... OR... my personal favourite... you could slam dunk the doughnuts with completely over-the-top humour. But... if composing an ode, musical or otherwise, is not your thing... how about bringing something from the pantheon of pre-existing songs and stories that would fit the occasion from your point of view? Maybe something that mentions coffee? Or a song or story with a wildly memorable character? After all... Mike's sense of humour is legendary so... short of a full out "roast"... we must show our appreciation in a Mike-minded manner Margo and Cindy Friday, February 8th 6:30pm Chebucto Coffee, Halifax WTF! is an artistic outreach program of the Helen Creighton Folklore Society. We meet every second and fourth Friday of the month at CHEBUCTO COFFEE, 6430 Chebucto Road, corner of Chebucto & Kline in Halifax where Mike's extraordinary culinary fare is approaching legendary status. Come early for a bite and stay for the entertainment which starts around 6:30 and goes until 9:00ish. As always... admission is by free-will donation towards the Society's work.