A friend from the Shuswap was given the stage during the Grant Lawrence and Friends show at Song Sparrow Hall.
Lawrence, the award-winning author, musician, past Word on the Lake Festival guest speaker and CBC Radio personality, and musical guests Danny Michel, Ashleigh Ball and Dustin Bentall, provided an evening of entertaining storytelling and song on Saturday, June 17.
Throughout the show, Lawrence shared stories from his books including his latest, Return to Solitude: More Desolation Sound Adventures with the Cougar Lady, Russell the Hermit, the Spaghetti Bandit and Others.
One of the stories involved the late Russell Letawsky, aka Russell the Hermit, and the harrowing journey he and then partner Audrey Stremick shared in 1977 when they hiked over the Coast Mountains from an area near Pemberton Meadows to the Malaspina Inlet where Stremick’s sister Linda had a homestead. At one point in the story, Lawrence welcomed Stremick, who resides in Malakwa, up to the stage. Stremick first shared “my side of the story,” elaborating some on the journey she shared with Letawsky, before taking out her ukulele and entertaining the packed house with a solo performance of Amazing Grace, sung to the tune of House of the Rising Sun.
Lawrence said he’d interviewed Stremick dozens of times but this was the first they’d met in person.
Lawrence shared other Shuswap shout outs, including one to Salmon Arm teacher Brook Roberts and Hillcrest Elementary for their successful video entries in the CBC Music Class Challenge, which Lawrence hosts. He also expressed gratitude to the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society, the Shuswap Association of Writers and Song Sparrow Hall for their support in making the Salmon Arm stop happen.
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