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Regular and anniversary shows planned as Yarmouth County musical event SARMU hits the 40-year mark

There is always a lot of fun on stage as musicians Nicholas Pothier and Caylee d'Entremont demonstrated during SARMU 37.
There is always a lot of fun on stage as musicians Nicholas Pothier and Caylee d'Entremont demonstrated during SARMU 37.

YARMOUTH COUNTY, N.S. – A popular Yarmouth County event that showcases young musical talent is reaching another milestone, as SARMU is held for the 40th year.

Chelsea Nickerson belts out the lyrics to the Alicia Keys song This Girl is On Fire during SARMU 36.

The regular SARMU show for 2017 will be presented May 14, 15 and 16 at Drumlin Heights Consolidated School, to be followed a few days later – May 19, 20 and 21 – by a special 40th-anniversary show in the Père Maurice LeBlanc theatre at the Par-en-Bas school in Tusket. Show time for all six dates is 7 p.m.

Rachel Surette accompanied by Julian d'Entremont singing Dust in the Wind at SARMU 37.

SARMU began in 1978 at the former Ste-Anne-du-Ruisseau (SAR) high school. Over the years, organizers kept the event’s original name, even though the SAR school was closed in 2001.

Coincidentally, a member of the last class to graduate from Ste-Anne-du-Ruisseau is Andre Surette, one of the producers for this year’s 40th-anniversary reunion show.

Surette said 51 people are involved in the anniversary show – including singers, musicians and tech people – and he says spectators can look forward to hearing a wide variety of music.

In addition to his role as producer, Surette is one of the drummers for the anniversary show. His fellow producers are Andre Surette (yes, same name, but about a decade older and he plays the piano) and Simon LeBlanc (bass). All three will play in the reunion show.

Joanne Surette-Muise, who died in December 2016, is pictured in March 2016 during the unveiling of a community painting in the Père Maurice LeBlanc theatre in Tusket.

Organizers are dedicating the show to the late Joanne Surette-Muise. A local resident who died last December, Surette-Muise had been involved in SARMU in its earlier years. While there likely would have been a 40th-anniversary reunion show anyway, Surette said organizers were thinking of Surette-Muise when they made up their minds definitively to put together a special SARMU show. “We said ‘we’ve got to do this for Joanne,’” he said.

Once word was out that a reunion show was being planned, it didn’t take long to hear from people who were interested, Surette said.

From his perspective as a producer of the show, he said,  “We’ve got a really good group of people that are easy to work with, so it makes it easy for us ... The show kind of works itself out. Everybody has their own job and knows what it is, and it just comes together.”

This is the eighth SARMU show Surette has been involved in. His father-in-law, Wendell d’Eon – a well-known local musician – founded SARMU four decades ago when he was teaching at Ste-Anne-du-Ruisseau.

Meanwhile, as far as this year’s regular SARMU show is concerned, event spokesperson Renette Bourque said things were coming along pretty well, although they did miss some practice time earlier this year because of winter storms. There are around 25 participants in this year’s show, she said, compared to maybe 17 or 18 a year ago.

Bourque – whose fellow producers are Alexa d’Entremont and Lauren d’Entremont – said organizers extend special thanks to Karmanda Murphy, who, though not an official co-producer, helped them with the show.

Angela Spinney, Ally Greene, Rachel Surette and Kenzie d'Entremont-Harris during SARMU 36.

Bourque said organizers of this year’s regular SARMU show also have Joanne Surette-Muise in mind and that her contribution to the event in its earlier years will be acknowledged.

SARMU 38: Shane LeBlanc.

Andre Surette said Surette-Muise’s death was a huge loss for the community and for the many people who knew her.

“It was a tough thing,” he said. “She was in everything, not just music. She was involved in a lot of different things.”

Referring to SARMU, he said Surette-Muise would be happy to know that a local musical tradition born four decades ago – one she was involved in for a good number of years – lives on.

Planning to go?

SARMU’s regular show for 2017 will be held on three nights, starting Sunday, May 14, and concluding Tuesday, May 16, at Drumlin Heights Consolidated School in Glenwood. Show time is 7 p.m. and admission is $15.

Lindsey Spinney performs during the 36th annual SARMU.

The SARMU 40th-anniversary reunion show also will be presented three times – Friday, May 19 to Sunday, May 21 – in the Père Maurice LeBlanc theatre at École secondaire de Par-en-Bas in Tusket. Admission is $20. To purchase tickets in advance for the reunion show, call 902-648-2253 or visit and follow the prompts for SAR reunion tickets.





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