Next month country music lovers will flock to Carleton Place to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Ron McMunn Country Music Heart Jam.
The annual fundraising event for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute takes place in the upper hall of the Neelin Street Community Centre (arena) on Sunday, Feb. 7 from 2 to 8 p.m. Doors open at 1 p.m.
With close to two-dozen country musicians from across Lanark County and eastern Ontario performing, “it is a good show,” he continued, “and people know we try to do everything in a professional way.” White noted the event is also a dance.
The late Ottawa Valley music legend Ron McMunn, nicknamed the Silver Fox, started the event. “He was aided by the late Gary Spicer, a member of Family Brown,” White said. “I had the honour of working with Gary many years ago when George Jones came to Carleton Place.”
McMunn, from Clayton, was inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame in 1986. An inspiration to many, for a half-century he entertained millions of fans across Canada and the United States. In 2007 McMunn passed away from pancreatic cancer.
Before changing venues, moving to the community centre, the Ron McMunn Country Music Heart Jam was held for years at the local Army Navy & Air Force Club.
In addition to White, the other members of the organizing committee are Carleton Place Deputy Mayor Jerry Flynn, Lee Hodgkinson, Charlie Kitts and Judi Moffatt.
“Lee was a member of Smokey Rose with Darlene Thibault,” White said, “and Darlene used to be a member of the organizing committee, but she took a job in western Canada and is no longer involved.”
Other performers to grace the stage: Ray and Glen Adams, Cheryl Adrain Derman, Gord Barnes, Ed Bowes, Andy Clarke, Don Cochrane, Fred Ducharme, Bruce Golden, Howard Hayes, Dusty King Jr., Judi Moffatt, Marty McTiernan, Barry and Brad Munro, Don O’Neill, Unwound, Neville Wells and Dennis Whitty.
“It is a great lineup of entertainers – the best in the Ottawa Valley,” White said.
Inducted into the Ottawa Valley Hall of Fame: Hayes (1992), Wells (1994), Clarke (2002), Cochrane (2005), Ray and Glen (2005), Golden (2007), Ducharme (2010) and King (2012).
“Clarke, Ducharme, Hayes and O’Neill played with the Fox years ago,” White said.
Andy Bowes, a member of Carleton Place’s Bowes Brothers, leads the stage band. Wade Foster, Mark Lemieux, Brian Ostrom, Brad Scott and Maureen Young join him.
Food and refreshments will be available during the event, with Waterfall Catering serving up Dave Kleiboer’s famous roast beef on a bun as well as tea, coffee, desserts and more. The town will operate the bar, which opens at 1 p.m. and the Carleton Place & District Civitan Club are handling the 50/50 draw.
“They get the proper licenses,” White said, “and whatever they make they donate back.”
“There will also be some door prizes,” he added. T-shirts will be on sale to commemorate the show’s quarter century. “Again, all proceeds will be directed to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute,” White said.
Tickets, which went on sale on Monday, Jan. 11, are $15 each, and they are available at the following locations: Carleton Place Town Hall, Temptations (Carleton Place), John’s Barber Shop (Kemptville), Mark’s Cobbler Shop (Perth), Naismith Sports Pub (Almonte) and Nicholson’s Sundries (Pakenham).
“Tickets must be purchased in advance,” White said, “and there is a limited quantity – 400.” Guests are encouraged to make a donation during the show. Pledge forms will be available and tax receipts are available.
Too, “if anyone wants to make a $100 donation to sponsor one of the entertainers, you get an income tax receipt from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute,” White said. The Neelin Street Community Centre boasts plenty of free parking, an elevator for people with accessibility issues, and an ATM machine in the main lobby.
For more information about the Ron McMunn Country Music Heart Jam, call White at 613-253-5046 or Flynn at 613-257-4748.