GAIL MARTIN, Independent Editor
Elmira’s downtown is going to get a little livelier on Sept. 21, all in the name of world peace.
Peace … but No Quiet! is the brainchild of Elmira artist Sandra Bray, who wanted to do something to commemorate the UN International Day of Peace.
On this day, an international ceasefire has been called for, with all parties asked to not fire unless fired upon.
When a similar day was held in Afghanistan in 2008, the World Health Organization was able to vaccinate more than 1.4 million children for polio, during that nation’s ceasefire.
Bray is hopeful that something similar will take place through the Peace One Day campaign, and that Elmira’s participation will raise awareness about the need for world peace.
Bray had the idea after watching a video on Ted.com by documentary filmmaker Jeremy Gilley, founder of the Peace One Day campaign.
Bray said she had one thought — “wouldn’t it be great to be a kid in Elmira who gets to celebrate the first Peace Day (here) ever?”
A further thought came after reading a work by Gene Sharp, well known for his thoughts on non-violent resistance.
“He said, ‘you have to do it yourself; governments follow the will of the people. They do not lead,’” said Bray. “That’s how it got started.”
Bray said she started by floating her idea by several members of the community, including Woolwich Township mayor Todd Cowan, and members of the Elmira Business Improvement area.
She received a lot of support, which encouraged her to go ahead.
Now, nearly a year after she started, the event is nearly ready to take place.
Elmira’s downtown core will be filled with musicians at 14 different venues, starting at 4 p.m. and running until just after midnight. Music will cover a wide range of genres, from folk rock to punk rock, alternative, acoustic, jazz, classical and choral. There will even be a bagpipe player performing, and more acts are being added right up until the day of the event.
Two documentaries will also be shown — The Traveling Guru, about Elmira’s Darroll Bryant, and The Road to Baleya.
Elmira musician Michael Purves-Smith and composer Jeff Enns have both prepared their own compositions for the day, to be performed on the “Carnegie Steps” of the Elmira branch library, while Stratford actor Ted Follows (father of actress Megan Follows, known for her role as Anne in Anne of Green Gables) will be reading poetry at the same location.
The Robin’s Nest in Elmira will be holding a daylong jam session, while other musicians will be spread throughout a variety of locations downtown.
Bray said she is excited about the variety of artists and venues that are participating.
“I love that it’s happening at the Central Tavern and at the Junction (Zion Mennonite Church) across the street,” said Bray. “It shows a sense of community. We don’t have to be the same, but we can have the same values.”
Elmira is one of seven locations in Canada that is participating in Peace One Day, and one of more than 24,000 worldwide. Bray hopes that events like this will do much to raise the awareness of the need for nations to work towards world peace.
Bray noted that much time and effort has gone into developing weapons such as unmanned drones, something that was science fiction 20 years ago.
“If we had a different vision, and put our minds towards a different direction, we can accomplish what we want,” said Bray.
Musicians are still being sought out to perform in Peace … but No Quiet! For more information, contact Sandra Bray at Sandra@sandrabray.ca. For more information about Peace One Day, visit www.peaceoneday.org. A full list of events is available on the Township of Woolwich calendar, at www.woolwich.ca.