Two Distinguished Musicians Named to Sackville Arts Wall

News Release: Immediate

On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, the Sackville Arts Wall will be expanded with the addition of two new nominees — Dr. Janet Hammock (Arts Builder), and Delanor Wheaton (Performing Arts – Music) — bringing the number of honorees to a total of nineteen.

The induction celebration, which is open to the public, will begin at 6:00 p.m. at the Vogue Cinema (doors open at 5:30), and will conclude with unveiling of this year’s plaques at the Arts Wall site on Main Street, overlooking the Waterfowl Park.

Initiated in 2008, the year of Sackville’s designation as a Cultural Capital of Canada, the Arts Wall recognizes the achievements of artists in the Sackville area who have attained international, national, or regional prominence distinction in three classifications: Literary Arts, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts. It also honours, in the category of Arts Builder, a Sackville and area citizen (or group) who has made a significant contribution to the cultural and artistic development of our community.

Every two years, at least one and as many as four new members (one per category) may be added to the wall, as chosen by a jury from among candidates nominated by the public. The first members of the Arts Wall were named in 2009.

This year’s Arts Builder, Janet Hammock, is originally from Vancouver.  Janet came to Sackville in 1975 with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale. For the next 26 years she taught in the Department of Music at Mount Allison University. A talented pianist, she has won wide acclaim for her concerts and recitals across Canada and locally. In addition, she has brought many other renowned classical and experimental musicians to perform before Sackville audiences.

Determined from the outset that music should be a community-wide experience, Janet has conducted public workshops in deep listening, has taught numerous courses for the Tantramar Seniors College, and from 2010 to 2016 published a column entitled Sackville Soundscapes in the weekly Tribune-Post newspaper. Since 2015 she has hosted “Fly Me to the Moon”, a bi-weekly radio program showcasing local musicians of all kinds.

In the words of one former student, Janet is “dedicated to expanding the musical horizons of those around her.”  With zest, compassion, and generosity, she has helped nurture an appreciation for arts and creativity throughout the community.

Recognition of outstanding achievement in the Performing Arts category this year goes to another remarkable musician — Delanor Wheaton.

Born in Midgic, NB, in 1933, Delanor (Del) Wheaton started strumming guitar when he was eight. His first new guitar, an S.S. Stewart, was a Christmas gift from his parents. He was soon playing for school sing-alongs and shortly afterwards, while still in his teens, was proficient enough to form a band called The Midgic Pioneers.  Before long he was performing at dances with Country Music Hall of Famers Curtis Hicks and his son, Ivan. In 1954, he joined Ivan in forming “The Golden Valley Boys” to broadcast on radio, record two albums, and play many concerts and dances across the Maritimes.

In 1979, he became an integral part of the popular bluegrass band “Ivan Hicks and Maritime Express.” In addition to local performances, the group played, on occasion, as far away as Florida and backed such international legends as Chubby Wise, Mac Wiseman, John Hartford, and Roni Stoneman.  Del and a brother-in-law, Tom Johnson, also developed a comedy act, The Grubb Brothers, that quickly became a regular highlight of the band’s concerts.

Del’s work can be heard on the many records, tapes and CDs released by Maritime Express. For many years he has also been a member of the Sackville Citizens Band, the Hussars Militia Band and the Marshwinds dance band. In addition, he has played mandolin with “Rustic Harmony” and fiddle and mandolin with Tom Johnson in backing the popular “Diamonds In The Rough” duo. He has been honoured as Citizen of the Year by Sackville, his hometown for many years, and in 2005 he was inducted as a member of the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame.