At the Folk Music Ontario awards last week, a singer/songwriter, whose roots are in the Oak Lake community, was honoured for her contribution to Ontario’s folk music community. Roots Music Canadawebsite featured Tannis Slimmon as the 2020 Estelle Klein Award winner.
Virden resident Louise Leask, has seen Slimmon in concert. She notified the Empire-Advance of the story, saying, Tannis Slimmon “grew up in an Eaton house north of Oak Lake… east and south of us where we lived on the farm. She attended a country school in her area (Ryerson) until it closed.”
Estelle Klein Award-winner Tannis Slimmon is a source of joy for the entire community
By Huyen Nguyen, republished (extracted) with permission
This year is in need of some light and positivity, and this year’s Estelle Klein Award winner is known for just that. The 2020 winner of the award, a lifetime achievement award of sorts presented by Folk Music Ontario, is Tannis Slimmon –who has proven for decades that she is a beacon of joy and selflessness, a source of energy and happiness that can quickly spread within the entire folk music community with her passion and love for people and music.
Tannis grew up in a musical family in Manitoba. As a child, Tannis developed a deep and passionate love for music since she was always surrounded by the sound of singing and harmony. Her dad played the saxophone in a band, and her mom played the piano, along with playing the organ at their local church.
To Tannis, music is a “gift.” She loves the harmony of music, the feeling that everyone is coming together to celebrate their common interests, and the satisfaction that they are all in this together.
Despite being such a big name in the folk music industry, Tannis does not like to talk about herself and her contributions too much. Instead, Tannis likes to refer to herself as a “cheerleader,” someone who would work behind the scenes, cheering on new talents, passing on her passion, and helping young artists on their developing path. Liv Cazzola of the groups Tragedy Ann and the Lifers, the musician who nominated Tannis for the Estelle Klein Award, has the same opinion.
According to Liv, the thing that sets Tannis apart from the rest of folk music community is her very tight connection to the community as a whole. Tannis does not try to stand out, but she blends in with everyone through her energy and love, spreads joy and positivity wherever she goes. Tannis’ loving spirit is so “there” all the time, ready to support whoever that needs it.
Tannis’ favorite memory is of singing at a concert in Oak Lake, where she performed “Danny Boy.” She was just a kid who was singing her heart out because she loved to sing. However, after the concert, an old man came to her and told her, “You sang my favorite song.”
Recalling the moment, Tannis had tears in her eyes because the man was so touched, he was so full of emotion, and she could see the sincerity in his eyes.
“He was so moved, and I was just a little girl, you know?” said Tannis, “That was the compliment from someone I barely knew, but his words made me realize how important it was to share what you can to other people.”
Tannis Slimmon, with her gift of music, is truly a gift for the folk music community. With her endless energy, her selflessness, and her sincerity in helping other artists in the community, she has welcomed into the industry so many talents and proceeded to nurture their passion and love for what they do. To her, working with other people makes everyone stronger, and that spirit is what the folk music community needs to keep thriving into the future.