WATERVILLE, NS - A Prospect singer and songwriter is working to raise awareness – and funds – for a group of artists on their way to an international competition.
Ruth Manning is one of eight artists making the trek to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in March to participate in the North American Country Music Association International (NACMAI) competition.
Six of the artists, Manning, Fraser Newcombe, 12-year-old Lucas Whitehead, 11-year-old Xuan Trzebiatowski, Lucy Flemming and Geraldine Graham, were on hand for a concert at the Waterville Fire Hall on Feb. 17. The other two going to Tennessee are David Burbine and Jacqueline Kellock.
Manning said that Newcombe is president of an organization called Atlantic Music Promotions, a chapter of the NACMAI. She offered to help get the chapter established and they started holding shows in the Dartmouth area this past fall.
Those artists who came out had the opportunity to audition for the group and join the ranks of those competing in Pigeon Forge. The group is leaving on March 12 for the week-long competition, which is broken down into several categories for youth and adult performers. Manning will be competing in the song writer category with a couple of her original songs.
“It would be nice to bring home some awards, we’ll see,” Manning said.
Along with her own songs, Manning performs mostly traditional country music. She is in a band called Ruth Manning and the Prospectors – named after her home community – along with Joel LeBreton, Graham Moorehead and Al Fitch. They performed at the Waterville show and served as the backup band for the other acts.
Manning said it’s a lot of fun performing with and backing up the other artists in the group. She particularly enjoys watching younger performers such as Whitehead and Trzebiatowski grow and improve.
“It’s just a fun group and I think we’re going to have a good time when we go to Tennessee,” she said.
Manning grew up in a musical family. With three older sisters who performed together, Manning was literally born into the group. They sang at variety shows and other events in the Valley for many years.
Manning started pursuing her own musical goals later in high school and in college. She attended teacher’s college in Truro, at the same time that fiddler Natalie MacMaster and a number of other musically talented individuals were there. She has been part of several bands over the years.
Manning said she is at a stage where she wants to take advantage of any opportunities that come along, so she jumped at the chance to take part in the NACMAI competition.
“I’ve been to Nashville to record a couple of the CDs that I’ve done,” Manning said. “For me, it’s about making connections with new people and new things.”
Since January, the Atlantic Music Promotions group has put on a number of shows throughout Nova Scotia to raise awareness and funds for the trip to Tennessee, including the Waterville concert. There are more planned with the next scheduled for the Gaetz Brook Royal Canadian Legion east of Dartmouth this coming weekend.
Aside from attending one of the shows, Manning said another way that people could help support them is to become a NACMAI member. She said you don’t have to be a singer to join and help the organization grow.