The Quinte Spirit Cultural Project was created in 1998 by me, Ralph Gentile, Kathy Medd and Cliff Trott to celebrate four cultural pillars of our community: Music, Art, Heritage and Nature.
Why was the Quinte Spirit name chosen? Greater Napanee (including Adolphustown), Deseronto, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and Prince Edward County together share the beautiful waterways of the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario. The four communities are tied together by a common history and the spirits of the first Loyalist and Mohawk settlers of Upper Canada who located here as refugees fleeing the American Revolution in 1783.
The project featured a summer music and arts festival from 1998-2003 with exhibits showcasing the local heritage and natural beauty of our region. Two CDs were produced featuring folk, country and gospel music that I wrote with over 35 local musicians participating. Amateur musicians and young budding musicians came together with professionals to create two unique recording compilations: The Quinte Spirit (1999) and My Window to You – A Tribute to the poetry of E. Pauline Johnson (2000).
The first songs ever written for and professionally recorded of Avril Lavigne are on the two CDs. The CD release party for The Quinte Spirit CD was held at Chapters Bookstore in Kingston in December 1999 where Avril was discovered by her first manager. This was the launching point for Avril’s musical career as an international pop star that made Napanee a town known around the world. Joining Avril on both CDs was Stephanie Trott, another surprising musical talent from Napanee.
The Quinte Spirit (1999)
1. The Nessie
The Nessie song was inspired by an outdoor theatre event in Napanee, Ontario featuring a Nessie monster that hatched from an egg tossed into the Napanee River by a young John A. Macdonald (Canada’s first Prime Minister). The idea was conceived by Max Christie and Cliff Trott (no doubt after a sip or two of single malt highland scotch) to liven up the cultural scene in Napanee. The Nessie is a symbol of the curiosity and sense of wonder that a child has exploring their natural world.
2. Touch the Sky (Avril lead vocal)
3. The Last Leaf (Stephanie lead vocal)
I wrote “The Last Leaf” for my Dad who succumbed to cancer at the age of 59. Although it was an emotional struggle to write the song, it was a joyful experience to bring the song to life in the studio in 1999 with so many talented musicians. Stefanie Trott, who was only a teen at the time, lent an beautiful vocal to the song and performs the penny-whistle instrumental that her Dad (and my dear friend, Clifford Trott) wrote.
4. World to Me (Me lead vocal; Avril backup vocal)
5. Cherry Valley
6. Underneath the Maples
7. The Quinte Spirit – shortened remix (Me lead vocal; Avril and Stephanie backup vocal)
My Window to You (2000)
1. Where We Begin (Stephanie lead vocal)
2. Temple of Life (Avril lead vocal)
3. The Songster*
4. The Song My Paddle Sings* (Stephanie lead vocal)
5. Two Rivers (Avril lead vocal)
The slideshow is of rivers and lakes in the Napanee region of Ontario, Canada. The third and fourth pictures are out-takes from a cover-shoot on the Salmon River at Forest Mills that didn’t make it on the CD. The musicians in the photo are: Jennifer Brant, Avril Lavigne, Stephanie Trott and Stephen Medd.
6. The Skater*
7. My Little Girl*
8. Your Mirror Frame*
9. My Window to You
10. The Last Leaf (Stephanie lead vocal)
The slideshow is of rivers and lakes in the Napanee region of Ontario, Canada. The music was written by Stephen Medd and Sylvia Rendell Gage and put to the poem “Goodbye” by E. Pauline Johnson
Music and lyrics written by Stephen Bruce Medd, except
* Words from the poetry of E. Pauline Johnson