The following is a transcript of our interview! If you want to listen to the audio version of it, follow these links to Spotify, Google Play, SoundCloud or YouTube!
Google Play: http://bit.ly/AeolianPlay3
Hello everybody! Welcome back to episode three of the Aeolian Podcast! Today we have a very special guest who I always enjoy talking to, Scotland native Janice Mark. I talk about how Janice gave me the inspiration to start this podcast. As always, I appreciate any feedback or criticisms and love hearing ways to improve this show. I first came to Aeolian Hall in October of 2018, when I needed to find a placement for my high school’s co-op education program. I knew I wanted to find a place to work in London’s entertainment scene, so I found Aeolian Hall at the right place and the right time. This summer, I’ve been lucky enough to be back with the team as a part of the Government of Ontario’s summer jobs program. I have spent a large part of my life being in London, but am from Vancouver, British Columbia originally. I have plenty of family out there, so a quick shoutout to them! I appreciate everyone for listening to this, the third episode of the podcast. Janice began to speak incredibly fluidly right away, so I had to press record right after she started talking, because I couldn’t miss sharing it! That will explain the beginning better. Enjoy the show!
Janice: Because, being an immigrant and having had a big life from coming here [to London]. When I retired, I got bored, and needed something to and [my friend] Tom Seiss said “Well, you’re into music, why don’t you go volunteer at Aeolian [Hall]?” So I sent an email, blah-blah-blah, about me and what I have done. Clark invited me to come over and that was how it started, but for me it was about- I volunteered with a lot of different groups like the MS Society, so forth and so on because I feel it’s important to give back to the community and basically that’s why I volunteered.
Liam: So I guess that’s a good way to introduce our volunteer, Janice Mark! Thank you for doing that, Janice. How long have you been here?
J: 10 years.
L: So almost the longest tenured volunteer. There are some people ahead of you, but you’ve been volunteering here for a long time. Whereabouts have you worked before then? I’ve never asked you in all the time I’ve known you.
J: For the last 15 years of my working career, I was a condominium property manager.
L: One thing that stuck out right away and people I’m sure mention all the time in this city, is your beautiful accent. Janice is originally from Scotland. What city in Scotland? I’m sure some people would know [it].
J: It’s a town, and it’s called Irvine and it’s right- about 45 miles southwest of Glasgow.
L: How did you get here?
J: I came with my first husband, who wanted to leave because he was tired of the union nonsense that was going on in Scotland at the time. So, that was why we came. We came here because he had an aunt and uncle who agreed to sponsor us and so we had to come here on a sponsorship.
L: Where in town was that?
J: Where do I live? In the South End.
L: So how long ago was that?
J: 1973. I’ve actually lived here longer than I lived in Scotland.
L: That’s interesting! I can’t remember who I heard saying that accent stays with you the whole time, I don’t think it would ever change.
J: I think if you come as an adult- a bunch of my friends, we talked about it at one point and it was like, we decided the cutoff was about 14 because up until then, you wanted to fit in. Once you get passed 14 or 15 years old, you don’t feel like you have anything to prove anymore. So- this is me! Take it or leave it!
L: That’s true! I have to mention quickly. You’re kind of the inspiration of the podcast. I did this because I have had so many great conversations with volunteers, especially in the box office because I did the co-op here, the high school co-op [program] and you were always in the box office or even Wendy. People like that- people like you, always [having] great conversations with you guys. That’s the whole point of this, almost. I have to ask now, because I saw on the volunteer calendar, you are going to Celtic College (Editors Note: Sorry for the brutal mispronunciation!). I sound very North American saying that.
J: The Celtic College is up in Goderich and it’s been going for 26 years. I’ve been going for 18, and you take 4 days of classes, from 9:00 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon. You can choose from many different things. Singing and harmonies, singing in Gaelic, Scottish songs, Irish songs, you can do fiddle classes, piano classes, dance classes. There are some craft things that you can do as well. It’s a lot of fun, then the three days on the weekend they have a festival in the park. [People] come from all over for it.
L: So how long have you been going?
J: 18 years.
L: So basically an arts college?
J: Yeah. It’s just to kind of be with people who are like-minded as far as music is concerned and just learn some new stuff, and have fun.
L: Good! Do you remember your first show at the Aeolian? Watching or volunteering. I asked Wendy this last time, I always find it interesting.
J: A long time ago. Gee whiz, I have no clue. I really can’t [think] about what it could have been.
L: Even a favourite one? Maybe ones in recent memory.
J: Recently, Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida [Moon vs. Sun]. Amazing. It was such an emotional night because they were so honest about their situation and it really struck me.
L: I loved the dialogue they had all throughout. It was really a perfect touch.
J: That song, “I’m Going To Break Your Heart” was… ahhh.
L: I cried a couple times. Any favourite memories? I know I’m asking you to reach into your memory.
J: It was like I said, Tom Seiss was instrumental in bringing me here in the first place. I met Tom and Anne less than a year after I immigrated to Canada, and we’ve been friends ever since. I have a lot of good memories about him and just– I miss him. The memories I have here are mostly about people, and volunteers in particular and how everybody pulls together and it’s like family. It’s kind of like an extended family for me, not having any family here. They’re all very supportive and try to help each other through bad times and I just love it here, that’s all!
L: I guess this is a bit of a right turn but- I’ve never asked you this, because I always hear you listening to music in the office and it can always be [different], but what’s your favourite music to listen to?
J: Folk music is my heart, my soul because that’s what I grew up with. I grew up with Robert Burns, and for me, folk music has always been a big part of my life. I was also a folk dancer, dancing for many many years.
L: Do you have videos?
J: Don’t know about videos. I’ve got a lot of pictures, but I don’t have videos per se. I’m sure there are videos online somewhere. But, music and dance have always been where my heart is and it’s always been mostly about traditional music, although I enjoy other kinds of music. I like classical music, I like jazz, I would sing in my choir at church so I like choral music.
L: That’s it for my questions. I’m sure I could have more to talk about, because I could talk to you for hours, but I have to cut it short, and I suppose your box office shift is done, but I want to thank you for being on here, I know it’s probably weird to be interviewed, but thank you for your time.
Thank you for listening to this week’s podcast! Wanted to once again thank everybody for selling out two of our 4 Save Our Stage Concert series shows this week! Clark Bryan on August the 7th is sold out, and so is Sarah Smith on the 14th! We still have tickets available for the concert with Sarina Haggarty on August 28th, as well as the one that sees Brian Gloyd and Sonja Gustafson perform together on August 21st! You can buy tickets at aeolianhall.ca/events or at our box office at 795 Dundas Street or 519-672-7950!