Sudbury: The Last YOTF Event, November 19

The 19th and very last musical and dramatic Year of the Flood Event took place at the Fraser Auditorium of Laurentian University on November 19, after the Margaret Atwood Birthday Dinner. I arrived at the auditorium not knowing what to expect, because for the Sudbury Event – alone among all of them – I had not been at a rehearsal. There was an atmosphere of suppressed glee, especially among the Banner-bearers: I would be surprised, this told me. And so I was.


After an introduction by MC Sherry Drysdale – a well-known CBC North radio voice – there was an Honour Song, excellently performed by Angela Recollet, manager of Native Student Programs at Laurentian. It said that the honouree had been guided by ancestral spirits, certainly true in my case. Then came the Banner Bearers (Andy Sekora, Stephanie Grant, April Passi, Sandra McPhee, Anthony Cecchetto, Meghan Juuti, Alanna Negssanti and Jennifer Preen), and the Singers of the Ariadne Womens’ Chamber Choir: Pat Bailey, Alice Brownlee, Patti Brace, Danielle Brinkman, Jan Buley, Marissa Charette, Kristina Donato, Mary-Jo Gordon, Amy Hallman, Marybeth Hickey, Leslie King, Shelbey Krahn, Kate McLaughlin, Charlene Mannings, and Hilary Welch). The three Readers were also in the procession: Adam One, played by Dan Lessard, another CBC voice and a good sport, giving vent to his inner pastor; Toby, played by Patricia Tedford, startling in a bright pink raincoat; and Ren, played by Pandora Topp, astonishing and lustrous in a sequined body-suit number topped off by a feather robe. These were accomplished actors who did full justice to their parts, and made the characters very sympathetic and believable.


But this was not the surprising part. It turned out that Sudbury was – through the musical director, Dr. David Buley – bent on full audience participation. For “The Holy Weeds,” Buley hopped back and forth like a ponytailed gnome, pulling two-part harmony for an underlying “Holy Weeds” chant out of the audience, while a solo soprano soared above them. For the Predator Day hymn, he led some serious “constant threat” chanting.


But his most impressive feat was yet to come. After an all-singing, all-clapping finale, and after the bows and waving, up on a giant screen above the stage flashed a giant head: mine! I was handed a scroll, and upon unrolling it, discovered a freshly-minted Birthday Ode, composed by the Margaret Atwood Hymn-writing Club (around a kitchen table, I was later told, at a session during which vinous beverages were not unpresent). The tune was that wonderful Welsh favourite, Cwm Rhondda, and the words were – well, inspirational. Or something. What can I say? (Full text from Rublemusic, 259 Maki Ave., Sudbury, ON, P3E 2PE.) Under David Buley’s direction, the entire audience burst into glorious song.


So there I was – very surprise, pleased as anything, and – for 10 bonus points – still alive. It was grand all round. But what will Sudbury do next year? They can hardly top this!







Filed under 1, YOTF Tour Blog

4 responses to “Sudbury: The Last YOTF Event, November 19

  1. Not a response to this site, but to a theme in “Oryx and Crake” and “The Year of the Flood”:

    The tech news site Gizmodo reports that scientists have synthesized pork meat without having to kill any pigs.

    Not sure what to make of this.

  2. Hello Miss Atwood!

    Well I just read your book and it is very good! I was! Unfortunately I read the book version so did not get to hear the songs – a fellow fan on Shelfari was listening to it on Audio and she said it had music like ‘oh happy days’ and I was like..?? I was surprised but then I always suspect you were a secret hippy…;-0

    And it was funny I had it on my bookshelf for a few weeks and only got to reading it last week (took me about a week) and lo and behold it was about gardening which I had just gotten into. I too now have a blog so you can see I have started a garden diary and mention that I am reading your book about psychotic vegetarians. I was afraid it was going to be like that movie that had just come out 2012 but it is WAY better. (jeez my grammar makes me sound like a teenager) but I think you captured the flood part really well and the idea that humans die out except for animals was really good. I was a vegetarian for 12 years so I sympathise.

    Anyway to cut a long comment short WELL DONE bravo and …

    right at the end when you mention the people who donated their names as characters in your novel? Well that was my idea! Didn’t I write you a letter about that once? Well anyway I’m glad you used it and those people must get a kick out of seeing their names in print in your novel.

    lots of love
    the crazy Cat’s Eye fan in New Zealand

  3. Just wanted to add to a the above post –

    -that was my first ever comment- please edit out the ‘well’s’ and the crazy fan part. I think I got carried away.

    Oh and Happy Birthday! Isn’t it amazing to be alive? We should celebrate being alive every year! lol

  4. Jennifer P

    Selina C: You CAN hear the songs – on the CD that is available. Check out Ms. Atwood’s website and look under the music link. The hymns ARE wonderful!

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