Sunday at noon I received a phone call prompting me to make a spontaneous trip to attend the final evening of the Alberta Society of Fiddlers annual winter camp. I was once-upon-a-time on the board of directors of the ASF, and I used to teach at that camp, after some years of attending as a student-participant. However, my fateful “Sorry Mom…” video changed all that, as they turfed me out rather unceremoniously (see article). Even though I never discussed politics at those fiddle camps, my presence as a fiddle instructor and as a regional director was not desired anymore. The phone call was from one of my guardian angels, a regular camp participant and she was calling me from there.
My initial response was to decline, it was so unexpected and far away (three-and-a-half hour drive one-way). Well after a short walk outside to think on it, I ran back home and packed my fiddle and my bag and jumped in the car. It was very important for me to show my face there, happy, unbowed and proud, and I am indeed so glad I went. I immediately received some very warm and genuine hugs. There were some other mixed reactions as well, but none were hostile. Discomfort from a few yes perhaps, maybe even bewilderment or trepidation, but mostly relief to see me back, safe and sound.
There was the student concert (5 of my former private students were there, in addition to the camp regulars and my former camp students), followed by the dance (we can fiddle or dance, or switch from one to the other to suit our mood). So much fun! My drive home was punctuated with two frighteningly close calls with large wildlife on the road, moose and elk, but my guardian angels were with me all the way.
The irony of it all never ceases to amaze me, that the ASF tossed me out, yet it is the very type of thing that I am seeking to protect and preserve. The fiddle camp is a Canadian Culture mecca, where all ages from the very young to the very old are dancing and playing together. Grandparents enjoying good old-fashioned fun with their grandchildren.
These “country hall” types of events seem to be coming increasingly more rare. One of the camp instructors told me the story of how his high-school string program had been destroyed for no apparent reason and by devious deceptive methods. I cannot help but think that the same forces which are seeking to destroy our culture are those which deceive, then imprison us if we question their narrative. I remember Prime Minister Justin Trudeau making the bold-faced declaration that there is no core identity in Canada, in other words we are so multi-cultural that we do not have a core culture. They call it “post-nationalism!”
Update on the Busking Saga
I have written extensively on the busking saga in Jasper in 2016 and ’17, and so I will summarize here, and give an update on what transpired during 2018 while I was away on my state-sponsored extended visit to Germany.
Here just some of the articles I have written about busking in the past, for reference.
Busking Permit Denied – August 2016.
Addressing Town Council on Busking and Thought Policing – February 2017.
The Jasper Busking Story – my article from July of 2017.
Joyful Resistance – October 2017. That was a good time! My favourite.
Briefly: In 2016, the first summer that busking was legally permitted in Jasper (in no small part due to my efforts), they refused me a permit because of my “non-inclusive beliefs”.
2017: Many discussions, letters, and meetings later, convoluted rules created by them then all broken, again no permit was granted to me. See The Jasper Busking Story linked above. This did not stop the music! See the Joyful Resistance article linked above.
Alas, what happened in 2018?
Whilst in jail, I received a letter from a Jasper friend, in which she informed me that the Jasper busking audition process was completely nixed. Now potential buskers were invited to simply show up and purchase their permit for the nominal licence fee, and go out and play!
Ah yes… could it get any more transparent??? – Monika was now safely tucked away in the German jail, no more need for auditions or process, “just come and get your permit”. Indeed, I later learned that one of those faceless, nameless members of the auditions panel of judges told a visiting friend during the summer of 2018, that “only one person was ever denied a busking permit in Jasper…”