Folk club founders set for 13th season

December 19, 2017

To interview amazing musicians and song writers like Valdy and Bill Henderson, Chilliwack front man, is an enjoyable thing to do, to say the least.

Tapping into my inner-shyness (yes, believe it or not, I do have it and was painfully shy as a child), I suggested to Bill Henderson that I could do the interview over the phone. He said it would be more fun if we met in person.

True. I couldn’t argue with that.

Here’s the resulting story:

Gulf Islands Driftwood

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Folk club founders set for 13th season

by Tanya Lester

There should be no problem spotting the Salt Spring Folk Club booth at the Salt Spring Fall Fair next weekend.

It will be the one with lots of guitars. Rumour also has it that Valdy, known throughout the entire folk music circuit as a legend, and Bill Henderson, whose strong musical energy was first infused in the rock band Cilliwack and then into the folk scene, will be there discussing music with those lining up to buy their season tickets.

Music and photographs of the upcoming season’s headline musicians will also be an integral part of the booth, said Trish Nobile, the folk club’s new artistic director. People buying tickets can familiarize themselves with those in the line-up they do not know and re-acquaint themselves with past favourites.

Heading into its 13th season, the 2009/10 season promises what club co-founder Henderson calls a “roar-from-the-audience” reception that characteristically greets the high-caliber performers at folk music concerts.

Opening the season…will be Corinne West who, according to her website, has “a voice to die for with beautifully crafted songs that are memorable both lyrically and melodically.” Valdy lauds her for being a performer who is “sensitive to the crowd.”

She will be accompanied by Doug Cox, who Valdy says is “a great guitar player.” He is the artistic director of the Vancouver Island Music Festival, a popular destination for Salt Spring Island residents each July.

Returning to the folk club stage… is Connie Kaldor, a “bring-down-the-house” artist when she previously did the Salt Spring Folk Club. Kaldor scored highest in the folk club survey as the performer the audience most wanted to return.

Henderson admires Kaldor’s quality of “being in the moment” with what is happening around her as she performs while having the quick wit to respond to it immediately with off-the-cuff humour.

While the folk club executive is still making final decisions about the December and January acts, a trio consisting of Barney Bentall, Tom Taylor and Shari Ulrich (who once resided here) — aka BTU — will hit the stage… Nobile points out that these are “three renowned musicians” who each offer high-caliber performances separately, so combining their talents should be extremely exciting to watch.

Henderson, who has performed with Ulrich, describes her as “engaging, likes to talk to the audience, connects with wonderfully written songs and is a neat fiddle player.”

The season’s grand finale, as always, is the Gumboot Gala featuring Salt Spring Island’s own Valdy and Henderson. Both indicate, in no uncertain terms, that they intend to perform for the folk club ad infinitum.

The club has a tradition of opening each evening with a local act. The executive is still discussing who will be selected for the upcoming season, but Henderson said there is no way they will ever run out of good island musicians from which to pick.

One of the strengths of the folk club atmosphere is that people watch and listen to the music instead of drinking and talking, said Henderson.

For some local musicians, this is the first time they have experienced this silent attention while performing , and Valdy and Henderson believe it’s an excellent experience for less seasoned musicians.

It is being up there “bare naked with your instrument,” Valdy said.

According to Ron Ateah, who is coordinating the folk club booth at the Salt Spring Fall Fair, there are many other good reasons for islanders to buy season tickets. The six evenings of folk music are held in intimate setting at Fulford Hall. Those purchasing the food (dubbed “five star” by Valdy) before the concert , dine at tables draped in white cloths with lit candles on them.

Holding a season ticket means getting a choice of the best seats and a good spot in the food line-up.

By supporting the folk club, the community at large is also supported. There is always a Copper Kettle representative there so those in attendance can assist people on low incomes living on Salt Spring, and the folk club usually gives a large donation to the upkeep of Fulford Hall each year.

Yet there is one thing that can be singled out above all else as the major reason to go to folk club concerts.

“The music is always spectacular,” said Ateah. “I have never been disappointed with any of the performers. It is traditional folk and beyond…It links Salt Spring with the rest of the world musically.”

More than 13 years ago, Henderson had been touring folk festivals and folk clubs across Canada when it dawned on him that if, for example, Calgary could boast five such clubs, that Salt Spring Island needed at least one. Lynn Strand, who had been involved with one of the clubs in Calgary, agreed.

Henderson knew any folk club on this island had to involve Valdy. The folk legend immediately agreed, having been part of an island club that held concerts in Ganges during the 1970s.

Thirteen years later the folk club has many good seasons behind it and is poised to continue well into the future…

— END–

For more blog posts on Tanya’s articles and other stories from past years when she worked as a writer, go to and

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew (both can be purchased from the author or from as well as Women Rights/Writes and Dreams & Tricksters.

Tanya works as a psychic nowadays with specialties in tea leaf reading, tarot, psychic channeling and some mediumship as well as gypsy card reading. As a reiki master, she instills healing energy into her readings as a bonus to her clients. She also housesits fulltime. To book a reading and/or access any of her services text/call her at 250-538-0086 or email her at  Her web site is :


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