Countdown to IPM '17 - McCall pens theme song, heads entertainment committee
BY DENNY SCOTT
Sherry McCall, the entertainment committee co-ordinator at the International Plowing Match, has a pretty good pedigree for her position, including penning the event’s theme song.
McCall wrote the theme song because she wanted to establish a musical presence for this IPM unlike anything before it.
“I hadn’t ever heard of an IPM song, so I decided I should write one,” she said.
She had the idea to craft a tune and worked on it with her husband Murray. Several weeks after discussing it with him, the first verse, chorus and the outline of the story would eventually come to her.
“The inspiration just kind of came to me at 2 a.m. one morning,” she said.
“I wrote for two hours, and then, in the following days, wrote more verses,” she said. “It just sort of happened... but I sat on it for two months because I didn’t know what kind of reaction it would receive.”
She eventually approached IPM Chair Jacquie Bishop with the song, which was quickly adopted by the IPM.
The tune, called “Because We’re Farmers”, focuses on the preparation for the event and the agricultural activities that accompany the IPM.
McCall said the tune has been well received and that people are having fun with it. The song is sung by her brother Jack Storey, Amanda McClure (née Van Miltenburg) and Isaiah Sills, three musicians with whom McCall has had previous experience.
“I’m a member of the Huron County Cloggers and we’ve done shows to raise money to find a cure for cystic fibrosis,” she said. “Amanda, Jack and Isaiah would perform as part of those shows.”
After penning the song, McCall was able to turn her attention to the entertainment for the event, which will be two-fold with acts from across the country being signed to play as well as many more local artists taking to the stages.
Those local artists have been gathered by the entertainment committee and contacted and organized by McCall whose own musical and entertainment experiences stretch back to the 1966 IPM in Seaforth, known as the “Mud Match”.
Many of the artists, specifically those who will take part in the variety shows at the Huron County Showcase stage at noon every day, will be donating their time and their talent according to McCall. The list of acts to be involved includes live music, dancing and other art forms.
“There are seven stages throughout the grounds and four of them should have musical acts pretty much every day from 10 a.m. on,” she said. “We have square dancers, cloggers, line dancers, singers, and musicians on many different instruments.”
Local acts include the Clinton Wheeler Dealers square dancing group, the Huron County and Carry On Cloggers, Ballagh’s Dancers from Teeswater, Amanda McClure and Jack Storey who are featured in the IPM song penned by McCall, the Just for Fun group from Brussels including Don and Dale Chesher, Adam Cousins of Brussels, Blyth native Cappy Onn, Keith and Gloria Wilbee of the Walton area, Sherry and Sarah Young and guests, the Seaforth Harmony Kings, the HEET Barbershop Quartet, Huron Happy Harps and numerous local choirs.
“There are also lots of other acts from further afield,” McCall said.
While there are bigger acts which have been organized through the IPM committee and Huron County representatives, McCall said a real focus has been having local talent on the stages.
“We want to fit in as many local musicians, singers and performers as possible,” she said.
Huron County has answered that call, McCall said, and, unsurprisingly, done so with gusto.
“Everyone is so willing here to help all the time,” she said. “They volunteer their services and give of their time.”
While many of the IPM sub-committees have been working for the past several years, since the IPM was announced, McCall said the entertainment committee couldn’t really start lining up acts until the last several months.
“We were approached within the last four years, and just about two years ago, started meeting regularly,” McCall said. “Planning has kind of been on hold until we got the okay for scheduling people recently.”
The committee has been planning the event for the past several weeks, trying to finalize guests and prepare a schedule.
“It’s been very intense and we’re really getting to the point that the schedule is taking shape,” she said.
As for her own involvement in the events, she traces it back to being part of the entertainment at a fundraiser for the 1966 IPM.
“My mother was a local dance teacher so I was in the chorus line at the Grand Ole Opry entertainment evening that was hosted in Seaforth,” she said, showing a poster from the event during an interview with The Citizen.
McCall added that she appeared daily at the CKNX Barn Dance Show as part of the Storey Sisters performance during the 1966 IPM.
With the exception of the 1946 Victory Match, McCall has been involved in every Huron County IPM.
Her own experience, and the nature of the event, made her want to be a part of it.
“It’s a great community event and brings people together,” she said.
She said that when Bishop asked her to be a part of the event, she couldn’t say no. Part of that was due to her own experience with the event and her fondness for it and part of that was due to her proximity to Walton and the McGavin family.
“You can’t think of the McGavins without thinking of plowing,” she said. “They’re such a big part of that in Huron County and when Jacquie and Brian [McGavin] asked me, I was quick to say yes.”
Community and family are big parts of the IPM, McCall said, and for 2017 her family has pulled out all the stops to be a part of it.
She said her husband Murray has been very supportive of the planning of the event. Her daughter and son-in-law will also be part of the IPM.
Carali McCall, Sherry and Murray’s daughter, who lives in the United Kingdom, will be coming home to perform a live creation of a circle drawing.
A former Walton and Seaforth Public School student and graduate of Seaforth District High School, Carali studied art at the MFA Slade School of Arts in London, UK and received her PhD from Central Saint Martens, part of the University of Arts London, also in the United Kingdom.
Her circle drawing recently won Carali the Jerwood Drawing Prize which will see one of her pieces tour different galleries throughout England for one year.
Daniel Hughes, Sherry and Murray’s son-in-law, is a soldier, pilot and educator from London, England. He will speak in the education tent at the IPM on Sept. 21. In May, 2013, Hughes climbed Mount Everest and recorded the highest live video from the summit of the mountain.
The McCalls’ daughter Marcy and her family are also involved in the event. They have contributed to the Education Committee to help fund its programs.
The McCall family also contributed to the music video for “Because We’re Farmers” which was produced by FauxPop media in Goderich.
For more information on the entertainment schedule or to check out the IPM 2017 song,
watch the IPM website at www.plowingmatch.org