The Kennedy Memory Gardens committee held their annual Music in the Park July 30 to a crowd of over 50 attendees.
This event is usually held off until this time of year to behold the fragrant flowers in full bloom and admire the combination of annuals and perennials of all colors, shapes, sizes and textures that delight the senses.
Alan Daku very capably acted as MC for the evening. Mother Nature also co-operated and provided just the right night to enjoy some outdoor entertainment.
Three entertainers were lined up for the evening show, including a couple of performances by local Kennedy talent.
Kennedy Cogdan performed a few well-known songs, including one of her favourites since she was little – Suds in the Bucket by Sara Evans.
Jean Sostorics, also of Kennedy, played guitar while singing chosen songs about flowers.
The crowd enjoyed some homemade pie and refreshments during a short intermission and had a chance to visit amongst each other.
The feature entertainer of the evening was the very talented Ainsley Friesen with her unique musical style and authentic lyrics. Music has been very important to her as she decided to make music her career.
Friesen studied at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design to earn her degree in fine art in 2006.
She augmented her degree later by studying voice and composition at the Brandon University School of Music. Life as an artist has its challenges but the guest has used ups and downs of life to strengthen her songwriting, musical and vocal skills.
Friesen has entertained mostly as a solo musician for more than 20 years across this vast country. She debuted an album in 1998 entitled Scattered…Inspired, which garnered mixed reviews. Undaunted she has worked as a musical therapist in Brandon and continues to hone her talents and skills, releasing several EP’s and recording numerous collections of unreleased songs. She taught music for nearly a decade and recently opened her own studio in Whitewood, where she teaches voice, piano, guitar, ukulele and songwriting.
Daku commended the crew who maintain the Memory Garden and keep it looking so vibrant and lush with the perennials and annuals, and by keeping the thick green grass cut and watered.
Thanks to the president of the club who organizes and keeps the crew going, but two exceptionally hard-working volunteers were acknowledged – Halina and Gerry Hourd – for the dedication they put towards the garden.
Hats off to the entire volunteer committee who keep the Memory Garden looking so inviting to just sit awhile on one of the many benches to take in its beauty.
“We’re ever so grateful for a small community like Kennedy to support a lovely facility like the Memory Garden,” comments Daku.
The Memory Garden started about 20 years ago as a place where local families could remember loved ones who have passed away. Daku shared some meaningful poems with the crowd, including The Broken Chain.
What started as an empty lot on Kennedy’s Main Street which no one had ever planned on doing anything with, it sparked an idea in some members of the community.
Clair Dorrance, president of the Memory Garden, explains: “We thought we’d try something with it. It started off slow with planting just a few flowers here and there.”
At Christmastime, the garden is lit up with colorful lights around the trees.
“Alice Cox has always been supplying us with the flowers to plant every year,” explains Dorrance and adds, “I don’t know how many flowers are planted, but Alice brings flat after flat after flat.”
This year volunteers have had to water, water and water some more due to the hot, dry days with no rain in sight.
“We do have some underground sprinklers,” says Dorrance, “which does save on a lot of time spent watering.”
“There are a lot of families who come home and see the garden and want to add a personalized plaque or ornament or plant a perennial in memory of a late family member.”
There are a lot of people who just stroll through and sit and admire the beauty while enjoying a picnic lunch.
The funds raised at this year’s event will be put towards general maintenance and upkeep.