The 2021 Al Cox Awards

At the February 2, 2022 online song circle, VFSS Secretary Jim Edmondson made the following announcement:

I’m excited to introduce a new tradition into the Folk tonight.

For 2021, the Folk Board is presenting three VFSS members with a well deserved recognition award. We decided to call it the Al Cox Award for outstanding service and contribution to the Vancouver Folk Song Society. We decided on this name because Al was a founding member of the Folk in 1959 and he made it to the grand old age of 99 before he passed away last year in September. The other founding members of the VFSS were: Phil and Hilda Thomas, Jeannie Moss and Rolf Ingelsrud. Jeannie is still with us.

The Board was holding out for an in-person gathering to make this 2021 presentation, but we couldn’t wait!

Ready and eager to make these presentations tonight are the VFSS President, Steve Deering, and two other current Board members, Helen Shilladay and Ian Edwards.

It is my great honour and privilege to present the 2021 Al Cox award to Mary Armitage, who, with her amazing organizational and interpersonal skills, headed — or should I say, herded — this organization for a record FOUR years as President, including doing an outstanding job of leading us through the first throes of the pandemic.

For as long as I can remember, she has also led the committee that organizes our annual Retreats at Camp Alexandra, and she’s chomping at the bit to organize the next one, just as soon as the pandemic allows.

For three decades, Mary has generously shared with us her talents as a rousing singer, brilliant songwriter, and remarkable multi-instrumentalist, whether as a Harmony Jammer, a song-circle regular, a feature performer, or, more recently, a Zoomist.

Thank you Mary, we’re lucky to have you!

Steve Deering

I am thrilled and honoured to be presenting this award for outstanding contribution to the VFSS to Marian Buechert.

Marian is best known by VFSS members for her beautiful singing voice and confident, compelling stage presence. She is a huge supporter and promoter of traditional music, a capella singing, and live performance.

She is a seasoned and popular performer – highly respected for her solo singing, and collaborations such as the duo, “Soft Focus”. Many of our members have enjoyed hearing Marian sing at VFSS Song Circle meetings, other VFSS events, or at outside events, such as Princeton Traditional Music Festival.

But her contributions to our organisation and to Folk music extend far beyond her wonderful performances.

Everyone who has ever touched the VFSS in any way has benefited from Marian’s efforts to promote the VFSS, celebrate its heritage, and continue to grow and enrich the organisation.

Marian has been an active organizer of VFSS Song Circles, and has run many enjoyable sessions at the annual VFSS Retreat over the years.

She was responsible for setting up and maintaining the VFSS website, running and populating the Facebook page, and uploading material to YouTube. She has also been cataloguing and digitizing the wealth of archive material – no slight task!

Marian is a skilled videographer who has added to our digital archives by recording many VFSS performances for posterity.

Marian is the embodiment of commitment to the VFSS, and to traditional music, in so many ways. She is a leading light of our community, much-loved and respected, and richly deserving of the Al Cox Award.

Thank you, Marian.

Helen Shilladay

Allison Campbell sings in the Lazy Jacks as an ordinary but enthusiastic sailor, getting on with the rigging. But in fact for many years she has been captain/navigator steering through all sorts of seas, from Hastings Mill to practice in a parking garage.

Somehow she has also found time to get out the VFSS newsletter with clockwork regularity even during the pandemic as well as participating in many sessions at the Friends Hall through the years and serving on the VFSS Board.

Ian Edwards

One thought on “The 2021 Al Cox Awards”

  1. What a brilliant idea to present these three awards to three brilliant members of the Folk! Thank you Mary, Marian, and Allison for all the work you’ve done over the years to keep The Folk going. You are an awesome trio! —Barry Truter

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