South Shore Shrine Club launches new season of country music

Sharon Rhyno and the South Shore Shrine Club are at it again -- more great country music is coming our way. If you like the sounds of traditional, down-home country, this is the place for you.

Country singer Sharon Rhyno is one dedicated Shriner volunteer. Each year, she organizes popular old time variety shows in Bridgewater, Liverpool and Chester.

She's been singing and yodeling for over 20 years and credits Wilf Carter and Hank Snow with inspiring her to make country music. "I've always donated my music to worthy causes," she says. "I was looking for a Shriner fund-raiser, I figured I had a little bit of talent to donate."

Sharon launched the Shriners busy month of October with music and laughter at the Bridgewater Legion. "Every season, we try to do something different," she says, "impersonators, comedy, country hall of fame. . . "

Later that month, the show headed to the Chester Basin Legion for Country Music Legend and Idols. Front and centre was the sweet-natured Godfather of country music, Smilin' Ivan Dorey. Anther highliner, also a Nova Scotia Country Hall of Famer, was Big Boots Langille.

Faithful Shriner supporters Dale Verge and Doin' Country were back along with Charlie Purcell and Friends, Three Positives and One Negative as well as Sharon herself with her good friend Arleen Hartman.

Lunenburg County country music is backed by strong, traditional roots. From left, Smilin' Ivan Dorey, Bruce Oakes and Little Buddy Hirtle.

"Despite his advanced years, Smilin' Ivan is a busy performer," says Jodie. "I interviewed the popular legend while covering Nova Scotia's Hank Snow Tribute. Before I could take his photo, we had to walk to the other side of the arena. I felt priviledged to be escorting royalty -- with each couple of steps, we were stopped by admiring fans. There was a genuine outpouring of love for this fine gentleman."

Joey Carver photo

November ... CD launch and more:

On November 27, at 7 p.m., Local Shriners are hosting an official CD launching and variety show at the Liverpool Legion. Dale Verge and Doin' Country will be the guests of honour.

Four years ago, Sharon was asked to sing at the Hank Snow Tribute in Bridgewater.

“I was looking for back-up,” she recalls. "Luckily, I got the best band around: Dale Verge and Doin' Country. It's really hard to sing alone after having such a great band. “

The Shriners are proud of, and grateful for, the popular group's ongoing support. "They perform at more than half of our shows and will back-up any singer,” she says. “They always look good on stage, and have won best-dressed at the Hank Snow Tribute several times."

Joey Carver photo

Lloyd "Big Boots" Langille -- another loyal music-making Shriner supporter.

Christmas is coming...

On December 12, back at the Bridgewater Legion, again at 2 p.m., the audience will get a festive boost of seasonal spirit with Country Music Christmas.

None other than Fiddlin' Jim Hamm, Little Buddy and Friends, Darren Arsenault, Sharon Rhyno and Arleen Hartman will be on hand to celebrate the season. So too will Riverport fire chief Clary Grondin and firefighter Regie Tanner. They're back by popular demand from October's Country Music and Comedy Fest.

"Clary was so funny," says Sharon with delight. "Everyone was screeching."

Joey Carver photo

Here's the funny man himself, Riverport and District Fire Chief Clary Grondin. He'll be back by popular demand for the Shriner's Country Music Christmas. You best get to the Bridgewater Legion early on December 12 for the 2 p.m. variety show.

Team effort makes big difference:

Sharon not only applauds the entertainers and audiences for their loyalty, generosity and enthusiasm, she is also grateful for Curtis Rowe Sound, Shriner M.C. Larry Truelove, and Shriner volunteers and wives who set up, take down, sell tickets, bake and work the kitchen.

All Shriner variety shows include an auction, 50-50 draws and canteen. "There's a lot of wonderful people who support the good work the Shriners do," she notes. "A lovely lady, Fay Joudrey, she won the 50-50 draw for $165 and donated it right back. She didn't hesitate. She gave it right back. Iva Eldridge and her daughter Nancy Cyples call and ask us if we need sweaters for our auction. Mrs. Eldridge just called the other day to ask if we need a fisherman knit sweater. That's so sweet."

Over the five years Sharon has lent her organizational skills to the Shriners, many people have told her stories of how the organization helped themselves, a family member or friend. "Everyone knows somebody who's been helped," she says. "There's always a story to be told about the Shriners, a very positive story."

The Shriners own and operate 22 hospitals across North America. They take care of children with orthopaedic challenges, they help youngsters with cerebral palsy to walk and they work with burn victims.

A remarkable 94 per cent of funds raised by the organization goes directly to the hospitals. Only six per cent is funneled into administration. Most of the funds raised by the South Shore group finances travel to expert medical care for a child and a parent.

"Shriners and their wives all work together to help a child," says Sharon, "The Shrine Hospitals help one of God's broken angels, so they can fly again." Shriners truly believe and live by their motto, "A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child."