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Cadence aims to foster community of writers, musicians

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Cathy Dobson

Sharon Berg wants to see the local writing community flourish.

Having recently retired from a 14-year teaching career, she moved to Sarnia from Hamilton in search of cheaper housing, friendly new faces and a supportive writers’ community while she works on her own poems, novels and short stories.

To bring that community of creative people together, Berg has started a monthly authors and musician’s series.

Cadence, a salute to the rhythmic flow of words and music, has found a home at the Coffee Lodge at the corner of Exmouth and Capel streets.

Berg says the first two Cadence events attracted 20 to 25 people with very little publicity.

“I think Sarnia needs to be proud there is such a strong following, so much interest, in this kind of series,” she said. “I have no idea if we’ll get the kind of support something like this really needs, but we’re off to a good start.”

Berg has been a member of various author groups over the years, including The Bohemian Poet’s Embassy in Toronto where the likes of Margaret Atwood and Leonard Cohen once read their work before becoming household names.

Cadence is modelled after another Toronto author’s event called the Axle Tree Coffee House.

Each Cadence evening is broken into three segments. The first is an open mic where anyone can read work aloud for five minutes or less. The second and third sets include a featured musician followed by readings from a visiting author or local published author.

“In a sense, anything goes,” said Berg. “It can be humour, reading from a play or part of a story. Writing is meant to be shared.”

Weather permitting, Berg intends to bring visiting authors to Sarnia. They will often be writers who have never been here before, she said.

The first two Cadence events featured visiting writers Maureen Hynes and Stuart Ross, as well as local musicians Gregger Botting and Colin Graf.

Berg is also interested in co-ordinating various writing competitions and has already launched a limerick contest. (See details on the Cadence Facebook page @ SarniaAuthors. Deadline is Jan. 1).

Berg said she is in need of volunteers to sit on a board of directors, help her co-ordinate the events, photograph them and seek grant support. It’s her aim that Cadence will host two readings a year from the League of Canadian Poets and The Writers’ Union.

Anyone interested in assisting can call Sharon Berg at 289-808-1025.

The next Cadence event is Nov. 16. However, Cadence will subsequently be held the second Wednesday of the month.


WHAT:  November installment in the Cadence series features the work of poet Nelson Ball, storyteller Sharon Berg and musician Mike Blackmore. Open mic participants encouraged.

WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 16. 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

WHERE: Coffee Lodge, 400 Exmouth St.


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