January 2017


Dec 16/15Valley ‘Grass Tops the Province

Members may be pleased to learn that Valley ‘Grass appears to top the Province in a comparison of bluegrass clubs.  Our club has almost 200 registered memberships.  However, since these are family memberships and most cover 2 people, some more than 2, there are easily over 400 people in the community.  Financially, we are far and away the most stable club in Ontario.  There are more bands in our region than in any other single region.  And our festival list covers the whole festival season as follows:

Late March/Early April:                       Woodsmoke (Cornwall)

May:                                                    Eastern Ontario (Lombardy) – new in 2016

June:                                                    Galop Canal (Morrisburg)

July:                                                     Valley (Renfrew)

July:                                                     Twin Festival (Palmer Rapids)

August:                                                South Grenville (Spencerville)

September:                                           Jonas Street (Lyndhurst)

September Camp Out/Jam                              

And Quinte’s Isle and Emerald Isle are close by.


Dec 15/15: New Festival Planned for Valley ‘Grass Region

We have received word that the folks in CR5 Bluegrass are planning to launch a new festival during the long weekend in May at the Lombardy Fairgrounds in Smith Falls.  Watch for more information.  But, “something’s gained and something’s lost in living every day.”  We’re sad to hear the Findley Ridge Festival near Joyceville has closed down.  That’s what made way for the new one.


Dec 15/15:  Let Us Know Who We Lost From the Bluegrass Community in 2015

Every January, in “Grass Clippings” we try to remember those folks in the Ottawa Valley bluegrass community who passed away during the previous year.  Please email Kim Wallace at  Which individuals are eligible?  Anyone who loved bluegrass; notoriety is not a factor.


Dec 14/15: Open Board Position

As a result of a resignation there is an open position on the Board of Directors.  Under the bylaws the remaining board members may, by majority vote, appoint someone to fill the position until the next annual general meeting (December, 2016).  Those wishing to nominate someone (who must be a Valley ‘Grass member or a family member in the same household as a registered Valley ‘Grass member and willing to accept) and those wishing to volunteer should submit names to any board member by December 31.  Please note that a seconder to the nomination or volunteer offer is NOT required.  The person selected will assist in the general area of Jams, Concerts and Special Events.


Dec 14/15: AGM moved to December

As a result of the change in the fiscal year of the association (see below), the Annual General Meeting will be held each December from now on instead of in September.  It will occur at the Christmas Party/Jam and, judging by this year’s meeting, should not take longer than 40 minutes.


Dec 14/15:  Members Approve Change in Fiscal Year

At the special general meeting of members held at the Greely Legion on December 5, 2015, members approved an amendment to By-Law No. 1 to move the Association’s fiscal year end date from July 31st of each year to October 31st of each year.  This will allow the treasurer to include the financial results of the South Grenville Bluegrass Festival in the financial statements issued 3 months after the festival instead of those issued a full year after the festival.  The terms of office of Board members were extended by 3 months to coincide with the new date. 


Bob Johnston inducted into Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame – September 27, 2015

Here’s a story that we somehow missed when it occurred.  Credit to: “Inside Ottawa Valley” and “Renfrew Mercury”

[Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame inductee]

Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame inductee

Renfrew County’s own Bob Johnston will be inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame this Sunday, Sept. 27.

Renfrew Mercury

The former mayor of Horton who is host of one of the Valley’s most successful music festivals will be among four inductees to enter the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame this Sunday, Sept. 27.
Bob Johnston, who hosts the Valley Bluegrass Festival annually on his Horton farm, will join musicians Dale Ducharme and Kelli Trottier and the Palmer Rapids Twin Music Festival in the hall of fame.
The awards show and induction ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. at Centrepointe Theatre in Ottawa, Throughout the evening, the audience will be entertained by more than 20 of the best artists and musicians the Ottawa Valley has to offer. Included will be Bob Johnston’s talented songstress daughter, Jennifer Johnston.
The entertainers will be performing the latest country songs and some all-time favourites.
After the show, the audience will have an opportunity to meet and mingle with the 2015 inductees, many other Hall of Famers and the evening’s entertainers.
Reserved seat tickets at $40 per person can be bought online through Centrepointe Theatre’s website ( or by phone toll free at 1-866-752-5231.
Johnston is an educator, farmer, entrepreneur, politician and musician. 
He was born in Renfrew and was first introduced to music at Renfrew Collegiate Institute when he joined the Cadet and Lanark Renfrew Regimental Pipe bands. 
He is a founding member and host of the Valley Bluegrass Festival, which is a family-oriented festival in the friendly Ottawa Valley. It just celebrated its 21st year. 
The festival is held every July on the Johnston Farm on Castleford Road in Horton
Johnston has been actively involved in the community and served as councillor and mayor for Horton Township.
He is a founding member of the Countrymen Band, which for more than 50 years has played Renfrew Country, West Quebec and Eastern Ontario venues. 
Ducharme, grew up in Ottawa and to use a cliché, he was ‘raised on country music’. He was fortunate enough to have a father, Dan Ducharme, an aspiring country music singer/musician, to teach him the rules of the road when it comes to playing and singing. 
Over last 35 years, Dale Duchrme has had the opportunity to play with Valley notables such as Hi & Dri Country, George Essery, Ralph Carlson, Neville Wells, Gary Fairburn and Donna Moon, and Rick Thompson to name a few. 
He also served as the Hall of Fame Committee president from 2005 to 2008. 
Trottier’s music developed from deep Scottish and French roots, together with other contemporary and traditional music influences from throughout the Ottawa Valley. She has had a performing, teaching and recording career. 
Her talents have carried her to stages across North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Far North and she brings her crisp fiddling, angelic voice and fiery step-dance to all of her performances. 
She toured as a featured soloist for nine years in the Sensational String production, Bowfire, called the “finest line-up of fiddle and violin virtuosi ever assembled on one stage.”
She has been nominated three times as Fiddle Player of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association and has performed live and in studio with George Fox, Ronnie Prophet, Wayne Rostad, Lucille Starr, Tracy Brown, Randall Prescott, Bobby Lalonde and other stars.
The Palmer Rapids Twin Musical Festival came to be in 1980 when founded by Lloyd Fleguel.
Al Schutt has taken over the reins of the festival and has been involved since 1981. He bought the grounds in 2001 and the family festival has flourished. 
The aim, goal and objective of the festival is to keep the talent basically Canadian content. Each year over 90 per cent of the stage performers are from Canada, many from the Ottawa Valley