Songs from the Willow was developed in 2017 by Joe Lapinski and Shauna MacLeod. It brought together Joe’s commitment to community, identity, culture, and inclusiveness with Shauna’s mission and vision at Willow Arts. 

Queenz Won and Jane performing I Rise, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, 2019

Since 2017, we have hosted countless hours of free songwriting workshops in person and online, and have written, recorded, and launched two albums of original music. Songs from the Willow performed at the 2019 and 2022 City of St. Catharines Arts Awards, and participated at In the Soil Arts Festival in 2018 (songwriting workshop at the Niagara Artists Centre), 2019 (Improvisational Music in the alley), and 2022 (concert on the Festival Hub Stage). 

This project was funded twice by the Ontario Arts Council in 2018 and 2019 as a songwriting and recording project in partnership with the WOW! Recording Studio. Weekly workshops were facilitated on all aspects of creating an “album” of songs from lyric writing to chord progressions, album art creation to design and layout, demo recording to final song production.

Elizabeth Pereira at the WOW! Recording Studio, 2021
Mckell Derosier and Joe Lapinksi performing at Mahtay Cafe, 2019

Each participant created from their personal experience, to tell their story through the music. Members were recorded with a mobile recording setup at Rodman Hall Art Center and the Oddfellows Temple pre-covid, and at the WOW! Recording Studio during the summer of 2021. Original songs range from hip hop to folk, gospel, jazz and EDM.

At its core, Songs from the Willow is a group of excellent people coming together to write songs and play music together. Today we continue to host songwriting and performance workshops funded through the City of St. Catharines Cultural Investment Program and sponsorships.

Tammy B performing at Rodman Hall Art Centre, 2018
Songs from the Willow at In the Soil Arts Festival, 2019
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