Champney’s West Variety Concert to hit 25-year anniversary

Shows to grace the stage on March 24 and 25


Published on March 14, 2017

The Champney’s West Annual Variety concert is a staple in the Trinity Bight area, as audiences have laughed along for 25 years now.

©Ed Vincent photo

The Champney’s West Annual Variety Concert has always guaranteed one thing each year — hilarity.

The Champney’s West Annual Variety Concert has always guaranteed one thing each year — hilarity.

And this year, at the concerts on March 24 and 25, audiences will be treated to special incarnation of the performance.

This is because, the idea for the annual concert sprouted from an unlikely source 25 years ago.

Put together by a small group of volunteers from the Champney’s West “recreation committee and friends” after the commericial cod moratorium in 1992, the idea of having a few laughs stemmed from a time of uncertainty and tumultuousness.

Today, Champney’s West, known locally as “The Island” or “Down on the Island” is a community of only about 54 people during the winter.

Like many outport communities, the closure of the Northern Cod fishery in the early 90s was devastating, not only for employment, but also the way of life in rural Newfoundland.

“Like all communities who were hit hard and nearly devastated because of the cod moratorium, we have a story,” wrote Wanda Pippy in an email to TC Media. Pippy is one of the organizers and performers in the annual concert.

“In fact, we have a story — and a successful one at that — of a community who chose to survive because of the devastation and have worked endlessly to carry on in our beautiful community.”

She says, while the residents of Champney’s West are somewhat typical of all small communities, she describes the locals as unique, comical, hard-working, fun and adamant in continuing and supporting one another.

But the cod moratorium was a blow to many residents in the region, including the people of Champney’s West.

“Our community went into a state of shock and everyone was so upset and depressed as they tried to sort out what was to become of Newfoundland … we decided to have a spirit-lifter in that winter,” writes Pippy.

This “spirit-lifter” grew and evolved into the beloved Champney’s West Concert many eager spectators know today.

“It gave everyone a purpose and included anyone that wanted to be included.

“Our model has always been that everyone’s equal and every job to volunteer has equal value and worth.”

A simple mantra, but it has certainly snowballed leading up to the 25th annual performance later this month.

The performances will go ahead on March 24 and 25 at the local hall.

If you’d like to see photos and video from last year’s concert, click here:

 

Champney's West characters are another riot in annual variety concert