Gordon Thomas Ward is a positive and passionate singer-songwriter in a season when many artists are struggling to reach their audience. A restlessness drives Gordon if he’s not writing, composing, or performing, and after several planned tours were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he has pioneered new ways to share his music via FaceBook and live streamed mini-concerts. Drawing on Gordon’s well established and ever growing fan base, he has reached out to local craftsmen and small business owners on the Schoodic Peninsula that he and his wife Veronica, or Ronni, now call home. Offering the local entrepreneurs the gift of a free concert, held in their establishment, Gordon performs several of his past and new songs, intermingled with interviews with the artists and craftsmen while using his airtime to showcase their products. Painters, ice-cream vendors, makers of brass bells, purveyors of hand made soaps, jams and jellies, craft beer brewers, and even a “rock” have benefitted from Gordon’s concert, presence, and audience.
Since his high school days working with other musicians in his garage band, Gordon has continued to write and compose. His inspiration for song and story comes from several areas – a love of local history, concerns over climate change, the need for raised awareness of social justice issues as well as that intangible, indescribable muse that hits him from the ether. Calling upon his extensive fan base, built over years of performing, presenting, producing, and painting musical portraits that plumb the depths of emotions bringing the past to life, Gordon connects his audience with the community that he has recently embraced. The power of online ordering enables the local artists and craftsmen to reach these new customers.
This sharing of his gift and his audience with others in the community who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic is one of many reasons Gordon has received Schoodic Arts for All’s WOW award. An established artist, finding new and exciting ways to share his passion, Gordon is quickly becoming an icon of all that SAFA represents.
Deiran Manning is the artistic director of the Winter Harbor Music Festival. He is a concert pianist and a fine baritone. His family lives in Gouldsboro and Deiran had been living in New York City until the pandemic.
Deiran is an amazing pianist and has played many times in Hammond Hall and at the town park in Prospect Harbor. He teaches piano in New York. He is also an actor, singer, director, and organizer.
What made me think of Deiran, was that in this terrible time of the pandemic, he, a well known and accomplished musician, found himself stranded in Gouldsboro and made lemonade. I just returned from the opera he directed and starred in and I must say, after seeing many operas in my life, this was one of the best. He pulled together an orchestra of violins, violas, cellos, bases, bassoon, and piano, sang the lead, and organized the sound. The audience of 48 people yelled bravo and brava throughout the opera and his costar was Celeste Mittelhauser, one of our previous WOW recipients. He has taken a bad situation and turned it around to sing.