• James Parry

Hudson kicks off 150th anniversary with Arts Alive! Quebec


ELAN Executive Director, Guy Rodgers (fourth from left), welcomes the Hudson contingent at

the press conference in Montreal last Wednesday, May 6, officially launching Arts Alive! Quebec.

Coinciding with its 150th anniversary this year, and in what is hoped will become an annual touring circuit, Hudson is one of six small but major English-speaking communities throughout the Province of Quebec participating in the first creative and cultural program of its kind this summer.

It’s called Arts Alive! Quebec, it is being presented by the English Language Arts Network (ELAN) a not-for-profit organization funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the communities involved, in addition to Hudson, comprise - in chronological order of their festivities - Québec City, the West Island, Knowlton, Huntingdon, and Wakefield. At a press conference staged at the Rialto Theatre in Montreal last Wednesday, May 6, ELAN Executive Director Guy Rodgers stressed that each community had complete autonomy regarding programming, thus ensuring a wide variety and the highest quotient of local participation, all relying on a “veritable army of volunteers to organize, promote, and steer the numerous activities” that will run in total from June through October.

Said Rodgers, “This is the first time that artists and art lovers from major English-speaking communities in Quebec are joining forces to promote their own creative and cultural vitality. Some of the participants, such as Hudson, the Eastern Townships, the West Island, and Quebec City, have had long traditions of artistic activity while Wakefield and Huntingdon are just beginning to develop new venues. By linking them in this way, we hope that it will result, ideally, in a regular touring circuit in which everyone benefits.” Speaking at the podium on behalf of the Hudson delegation attending the press conference, Kalina Skulska, Executive Director of Hudson Village Theatre, described Arts Alive! as the “launch pad” for Hudson’s 150th anniversary.

Said Skulska, “Some 13 arts groups have collaborated to present their respective arts presentations over the weekend of June 4 to 7.” “Our intentions from the very beginning were to highlight the wonderful talented artists in the town of Hudson and, under the Arts Alive! banner, expose their fine works.”

The festivities will actually open on Thursday, June 4, when the Hudson Film Society hosts its first-ever Young Film Makers Competition at Hudson Village Theatre. The following day, and also at HVT for two performances, Lorne Elliott will stage his hilarious comedy, How I Broke Into Show Bizz. Also at HVT for performances on Saturday, Phoebe, a preview of a new play still in development, showcasing Phoebe Nobbs Hyde, a very colourful character who donated Greenwood, her Hudson home, to the community for use as a living history museum.

Also on Saturday, Arts In Action will be hosting an outdoor market and exhibition at the Hudson Mews, featuring a cornucopia of unique visual and culinary creations by local artists and chefs, and participating groups include the Hudson Food Collective, Hudson Artists, Hudson Metiers d’Arts/Fine Crafts, and Hudson Fair Trade Group. Over at the Greenwood Centre for Living History, there will be conducted tours as well as a StoryFest for youngsters with Sara O’Leary reading from her new children’s book. On Sunday, The Hudson Film Society’s Opera and Beyond and the Hudson Chamber Music Series co-present a live concert of operatic arias and duets, Broadway melodies and other popular songs by local sopranos Claire de Sevigné and Carolina Pla, accompanied by Brian Jackson on the piano.

And at Jack Layton Park, there will open rehearsals and a preview of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Hudson Players Club in advance of their upcoming performance in July. At night, three-time Juno winner Kim Richardson and the Hudson Music Festival will close the festivities with an intimate evening of R&B, Funk, and Blues at HVT accompanied by some of Hudson’s, and indeed Canada’s, best musicians.