Home Feature Heather’s 2020 holiday love letter to the Roots Music Canada community

Heather’s 2020 holiday love letter to the Roots Music Canada community


It’s hard to know what to say about 2020 that doesn’t sound like a cliché at this point.

Like many of you I’m sure, I sometimes find myself feeling as though I’m limping toward the finish line of a bizarre endurance test, my energy cells drained from a lack of live music, social contact and non-virtual community – hoping that 2021 delivers on the promise of a return to folk festivals, folk clubs, music conferences and hugs, dammit.

And yet, as I take the time to reflect on this year, I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for you, my Roots Music Canada family.

When the pandemic hit us back in March, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. Our site is written by volunteers. Would people still have time to write if they were struggling to find paid work? Our site is primarily funded by artists, fans and small businesses. How would they be able to fund us if they had no work to pay the bills?

This has been the first real test of Roots Music Canada as a community-supported media outlet, and despite everything we’ve all been through this year, here you’ve been, by our side through this difficult time.

Yes, some of you have had to lower or withdraw your financial support, and of course, I understand. But some of you have also jumped on board for the very first time, sometimes pledging $1 or $2 a month in the name of doing whatever you can (and as I’ve said many times, there is nothing we’d love more than 1,000 people donating $1 a month. Funding doesn’t get any more stable than that). Some industry people have joined us as organizational patrons at much higher sponsorship levels, recognizing the value of a site like Roots Music Canada at a time when artists have fewer options to promote themselves. Truthfully, we probably have more support now than we did before the pandemic. I cannot thank you enough for helping us inch toward our goal of full financial sustainability even at a time like this.

When it comes to writers, once again this year, I’ve had the joy of working with several wonderful new voices, including Jeffrey Barrett, Huyen Nguyen and Shaelee Stearns. Ruth Schweitzer, formerly of the Canadian Jewish News, has contributed some items for us since the paper closed down last spring, for which I’m incredibly grateful. I was also honoured that Carleton University Masters of Journalism student Erika Ibrahim chose to use one of her internship placements to volunteer her time with us (please check out her wonderful essay on how streaming services are meddling with musical tastes). And I’m grateful to have the continued support and friendship of long-time writers like Paul Corby, Elizabeth Szekeres and Ian Tamblyn. These connections are part of what makes running Roots Music Canada so very rewarding.

Having this incredible community around me has meant that I’ve been able to invest energies into using the site to try and help in return – through initiatives like our audience survey early in the summer to help artists with career decision-making and our recent Secret Santa gift exchange to help bring some connection over the holidays.

I am incredibly grateful to each one of you who gives me the privilege of doing this each day. As I said last year, if you read us, you are the reason we do what we do. If you write for us, you are the heart and soul of the site. If you support us financially, you’re the reason we are able to do this day after day. Without you, Roots Music Canada wouldn’t exist. There are not enough words to express my thanks. Please have the best possible Christmas you can in this strange time we’re living in.

Roll credits!

The founders: Andy Frank and David Newland

The funders:

  • Adrian Gross
  • Alma McDonald
  • Arthur McGregor
  • Barrie Martin
  • Bernie Finkelstein
  • Beverly Kreller
  • Bill Werthmann
  • Ben Sures
  • Chris White
  • Christa Couture
  • David Frisch
  • David Newland
  • David Storey
  • Dirk DeBoer
  • Doris Folkins
  • Elizabeth Szekeres
  • Eric Alper
  • Eve Goldberg
  • Geoff Kulawick
  • Geri Horsford
  • Heather Daley
  • Howard Gladstone
  • Jamie Oppenheimer
  • Jason Schneider
  • Judi Jaeger
  • Kate Hamblin
  • Kele Fleming
  • Ken Whiteley
  • Keri Latimer
  • Kimberly Sinclair
  • Lenka Lichtenberg
  • Linda Andaloro
  • Lindsay Hancock
  • Madeleine Clin
  • Mark Watson
  • Mary Milne
  • Michelle Fortier
  • Mike McCormick
  • Monica Lee
  • Pascale Gemme
  • Paul Jorgenson
  • Paula Danylevich
  • Rachel Barreca
  • Rebecca Emms
  • Richard Flohil
  • Robert Kitching
  • Rod Paul
  • Sandra Smith
  • Sarah French
  • Shari Ulrich
  • Steve Edge
  • Steve Kenny
  • Tannis Slimmon
  • The Bombadils
  • Tom Coxworth
  • Toronto Blues Society
  • Valley Hennell
  • Grit Laskin

The mascot (and titular editor): Gordy the Moose

The writers (past and present):

  • Gary 17
  • Julian Abraham
  • Leslie Alexander
  • Meaghan Brackenbury
  • Zoe Buscho
  • Shari Campbell
  • Liv Cazzola
  • Ashley Condon
  • Brooklyn Connolly
  • Alison Corbett
  • Paul Corby
  • Val Cormier
  • Tom Coxworth
  • Nicole Lisa Craig
  • Levi Cuss
  • Annette Donaghy
  • Katerina Dulay
  • Jane Eamon
  • Christophe Elie
  • Lindsay Ferguson
  • Ted Ferris
  • Richard Flohil
  • Doris Folkens
  • Michelle Footz
  • Josh Forbes
  • Howard Gladstone
  • Troy Greencorn
  • John Wort Hannam
  • Deborah Holland
  • KC Hoard
  • Jennifer Ives
  • Meral Mohammad Jamal
  • Sean Leahy
  • Bob LeDrew
  • Lenka Lichtenberg
  • Sarah MacDonald
  • Mike McCormick
  • Arthur McGregor
  • Linda McRae
  • Bayleigh Marelj
  • Jim Marino
  • Bob Mersereau
  • Joanna Mills
  • Keith and Heather Nicol
  • Jamie Oppenheimer
  • Leonard Poole
  • Mike Regenstreif
  • Penny Rose
  • Sylvia Siemens
  • Elizabeth Szekeres
  • Ian Tamblyn
  • Lauren Trelford
  • Broose Tulloch
  • Meaghan Walsh
  • Yael Wand
  • Lillian Wauthier
  • Sarah Williscraft
  • Jenny Whiteley
  • Adam Hunter
  • Jeffrey Barrett
  • Erika Ibrahim
  • Shaelee Stearns
  • Huyen Nguyen
  • Ruth Schweitzer

The designer: Amanda Rheaume

The developer: Jessica Wong

The Gordy the Moose illustrator and logo creator: Michael Hepher






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