In a few short months, Gayla and Leon Gilbertson, have re-established the Happy Nun in Forget as a place for people to enjoy each others company, fantastic food, and amazing music.
As they’ve been busy building their business, they have continued to focus on carrying on Don Shakotko (founder of the Happy Nun) and Katie Vinge-Riddell’s (owner and chef) legacies.
With thoughts of community a fundraising brunch was held for Teddy Bears Anonymous with a performance by the talented Tenille Arts originally of Weyburn who has been working towards her dreams in the Music City - Nashville.
It was a rather emotional day as funds were raised for Teddy Bears Anonymous, but as the Humboldt Broncos tragedy was also fresh in people’s minds.
Arts performed, “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” in their honour after speaking from her heart about the tragedy on everyone’s minds: “There’s a heaviness in this room and across Saskatchewan right now. People are going through tough times and I’d like to play a song for everybody affected by the bus accident. It’s so hard to see everyone going through that. Small towns come together and we will cherish their memory and are there for all those that are hurting.”
“Kids travel constantly on buses, it made me think of my brother and of all the kids that travelled for sports through high school, it’s something that really hits home and has touched everyone.”
The rest of the concert, which was sold out nearly as soon as it was announced, focused on Arts’ original music and a few covers she thought the crowd would enjoy – including a few she relearned backstage including LeAnn Rhymes’ “Blue.”
“All four of my grandparents are here today,” she explained – looking lovingly into the crowd and wanting to perform a song for them. “This is one of the first songs that I taught myself at eight-years-old. I just kept playing the cassette over and over to learn it and to try to figure out how LeAnn Rhymes did that little flip with her voice.”
Arts has been working hard to make her dreams a reality and is currently nominated for five Saskatchewan Country Music Association Awards: Album of the Year (Rebel Child), Female Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Interactive Artist of the Year, and Video of the Year (Cold Feet).
Additionally, her music video for Cold Feet hit #1 on the CMT Music 12 Pack; a viewer voted program.
“Thank you all who voted,” she said gratefully. “It means a lot to me. It’s also the only song I didn’t write on the album. People always ask me if I wish I had, but I thought it was cool that I got to hear it for the first time – like you all did – all the way through. It was like a Nicholas Sparks book in a song.”
Additionally, one of her songs was featured on The Bachelor, which has garnered attention for her music.
“The opportunity to be on…” Arts laughed. “I have to be careful how I word that. The opportunity to perform on The Bachelor – be on The Bachelor is different – came up and I went through my songs that I had just released on Rebel Child, but none were perfect, so I found a song I had written about a year before for the show and I ended up performing during a one-on-one date for Arie and Chelsea.”
Arts reminisced a little bit about her life and thanked everyone for coming out to support the fundraising brunch and enjoy the performance.
“It’s nice to be able to come back here and perform songs that I wrote in Nashville. Lots of what I write are about experiences here, so it’s special to be able to come back and perform them.”
“A huge thank you to the Happy Nun Café for having me. I remember coming to Forget years ago for a festival here. It was incredible. I remember walking around looking at all the cool places, so thank you for having me back.”
During the concert, Arts smiled and laughed in between songs, “You guys are so quiet.”
But, the crowd, despite knowing the lyrics to many of the songs and being able to sing along had chosen to simply be enthralled by Arts’ beautiful voice accompanied only by her guitar.
Following the performance, Gayla thanked everyone for coming out to support the Teddy Bears Anonymous fundraiser brunch, which saw all coffee sales and the silent auction going towards funds raised for the day.
“Thank you everyone for attending the Tenille Arts Brunch in support of Teddy Bears Anonymous!” Gayla wrote on The Happy Nun Café’s Facebook page. “With special thanks to our co-sponsors: Stoughton Meat Market and Family Foods, ABSees Studio, Kings Department Store, Cheryl MacDougall Lake, New Hope Pharmacy and Michael’s Coffee Shop and Bakery we were able to raise over $425 for Teddy Bears Anonymous… that’s over 100 bears for children at a scary time in their lives! You all rock!”
Teddy Bears Anonymous is a registered charity in Canada whose mission is “to provide a sick child in hospital a teddy bear.” An effort to help ease children who need to spend extended time in the hospital or to have surgery at a hospital.