Joe Hill Rocks out The Miners’ Hall with Wicked Local Talent & Calls for New Volunteers

Allyson Kenning
By Allyson Kenning
March 23rd, 2011

Last night, the 23rd, Joe Hill Coffee House event at the Miners’ Hall was a rocking night of lively music indeed. The line-up included the Golden City Fiddlers, who opened the show with some foot stomping pieces, and ended with local folksters Dandelion and the Ditchweeds, who played an energetic set much appreciated by the crowd.

Between the opening and closing acts, local musicians like Salmo’s songbird, Kyla Hanna, Marti Daniel, Janet and Terry Marshall, and Dan Charron also took the stage. New to Joe Hill this month was Jen Jellet from Kaslo whose set included a blues song she wrote about her boyfriend’s addiction to the news; this brought a smile to everyone’s faces. Additionally, two dancers from Kootenay Danceworks showed off their talents. With St. Patrick’s Day having just passed, there was a distinct Irish flavour to the evening, with the Marshalls’ performing some traditional Irish folk songs and the Golden City Fiddlers rocking some Irish pieces as well.  Since the Rossland drama department is on spring break, and some of them in London on their long-awaited trip, the Rossland Radio Co-op ran the concession.  Joe Hill organizer and emcee, Mike Gifford, announced several times during the evening that Joe Hill is always looking for new volunteers, as this is a 100% volunteer-run endeavour.  “The secret for having something run by volunteers is to keep having more people, so you don’t use up your [resources]. Everybody can only do so much, and since it’s a monthly show, new input is always welcome. It kind of breaks it up,” says Gifford. This is Gifford’s third year organizing Joe Hill, and he is looking for someone to gradually take over his position as organizer so he doesn’t get burnt out–something any volunteer-run organization risks if they can’t find new blood. Ideally, Gifford would like to share the job for a year in order to break a new organizer in, then bow out completely the year after so he can concentrate on being a performer at Joe Hill.  “It’s not a lot of time, but it’s always there,” Gifford states, noting that the job doesn’t require a special skill set. Organizing Joe Hill on a monthly basis requires time to field emails and phone calls from artists and interested parties, including the media, and promoting the event in different ways. “Things are constantly changing, too, so someone has to have the role of overseeing the whole thing.”  Other jobs are more specific. “The sound people could always add more people to the team, so they don’t get burnt out,” Gifford says, adding that other volunteer duties include the greeters manning the door, stage managing, setting up for the event at 1pm the afternoon of the show, and promotion.  With this in mind, Gifford is hosting a short and informal meeting for current volunteers and people interested in volunteering on April 10th at 4 PM at his house, to be followed by a pot luck and a jam session. “It’s good to get together to share our success, too. Lots of people feel the same way I do, that [Joe Hill] has been such a great, positive thing for our community and  they’re proud to be a part of it. So I just want to make it open to the public that they too can be a part of this great community effort.”  Anyone interested in helping out with this monthly event, which is always the best $3 you’ll ever spend in the month, can email Mike at giffmus@telus.net or call him at 362-7170, and if you’re interested in the April 10th meeting, he can give you more details and directions to his house.  Next month’s Joe Hil happens on April 17th. See you there!

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