Small Towns…



Recently I Instagrammed this picture of my husband and I broken down on the way to the ferry. I hash tagged #ilovesmalltowns and #citylifesucks because no one stopped to ask if we needed help. Not even the cyclists.  But there’s also a dark side to small town life.


“gossip |ˈgäsəp|
casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true…”
New Oxford American Dictionary

I started Gate House Community Association 3 and a half years ago. Why? You ask? Because I love the Arts. I love Theatre Arts in particularly. I love Music. I love producing, seeing, participating and celebrating live, real, art. And I particularly LOVE collaborating with others of the same mind.

So, I, Terry Ruth Eissfeldt (yes I use my real name!) and four  friends  signed on the dotted line to create a Not for Profit Organization called Gate House Community Association to do just that.

It just so happens that one original board member and I are members of Port McNeill Full Gospel. The other original board members go to the Anglican Church in town.

I guess this was the reason the Urban Legend began:

Gate House Community Association is run by the Port McNeill Full Gospel church.

WOW! I’m actually shocked this is still talked about three and a half years later.

But GOSSIP thrives in well worn ruts throughout our small community.

I don’t actually live in Port McNeill. I live in Hyde Creek. Man I wish I knew the major perpetrators – I’d never have to pay for advertising again! Just slip a little juicy tidbit in the right ear and it’s all over town.

Hey! here’s one I’d like talked about ….. On October 25th from 6:30-8:30 we’re putting on a FREE Family Interactive Play. And later in the month we’re showing Rocky Horror Picture Show on Halloween…that’s the 2nd year in a row!

We’ve also hosted Ladies Only Events – Licensed (that means we sold ALCOHOL!) We showed Magic Mike (OMG that’s about Male Strippers!)

If Gate House Community Association is controlled by Port McNeill Full Gospel Church why isn’t the WHOLE town coming on Sunday mornings! We’re obviously really COOL!

But seriously, please hear me:

Gate House Community Association

– though some members go to church-

is NOT associated with any RELIGIOUS association.

In case you don’t know,  our purposes are:

  • To educate and increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of performing and visual arts by providing performances of an artistic nature and by providing seminars on topics related to such performances.
  • To provide instructional seminars on topics related to the performing and visual arts.
  • To educate the public in music, drama, film, dance, visual and written arts performance and composition through workshops and recitals.

This is in our constitution. It’s registered with the government of British Columbia and Canada.

Please help stop gossip! If you hear people talk about us as somehow connected to a church – correct them.

This perception must stop or WE WILL DIE as an organization.

We have survived thus far because of the generosity of certain individuals and businesses.

Small isolated towns such as Port McNeill shouldn’t be known for their gossip, bigotry or back biting!

They should be known for their generosity, geniality and support.

I’ve experienced all of these amazing characteristics in my 20+ years living here – that’s why I’m still here – that’s why I’m committed to this community – that’s why I’ve invested – and continue to invest – in Port McNeill.

Because at the end of the day I LOVE small towns.

Terry Ruth Eissfeldt

President of Gate House Community Association





2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. FreemanAnd Hill
    Oct 15, 2014 @ 12:34:15

    *Hi Terry,* * What a great message you sent out to everyone on the email list! Plain talk, every word truthful. I admire your courage and your grasp of reality. Great to see, great to read. Wish there were more examples of very GOOD human behaviour.* * Freeman & Hill have been beating the bushes around Campbell River for places to play, places to give (yes, free!) our music to anyone who walks through the doors. Wow, is it ever hard!* * Businesses don’t care, some say they have to stay open longer than usual (missing beauty sleep?) and hire extra staff. So, even though they get a place full of customers and make money, they’re apathetic and even refusing of an arts event.* * Restaurants are so interested in profit, they send their servers in to wait on tables during the quiet songs and the atmosphere is broken, then never comes back. People in the audience start read newspapers while the music is going on, people are texting, people are talking. They COULD do that anytime, and they’re missing this music that they’ll never hear again, but they continue. We choose rare folk music that never gets radio exposure and never makes millions for the authors, but that seems to have no importance to most of the audience.* * We’ve recently prevailed on the kindness of a church to put on a concert. I’m fairly sure there will be people who stay away because they see it as a church event. It has nothing to do with religion, has been allowed because it’s a good community thing to do, gives people a glimpse of beauty in the world instead of the constant onslaught of bad news, war and fear. Still, we’re going to do our best, and try to dispel that reluctance in the announcement that goes out via email.* * We always mention that we give free house concerts, and will travel to make them happen, but it seems no one is taking us up on that. We offered our free music to two places that actually still do the house concert thing. They’d rather pay the expenses and performance fee to bring musicians in from Washington, Oregon, and California than support someone local. Go figure!* * It’s so tough to get heard, even when there’s no money involved. So discouraging sometimes. But, this burning motivation to make music keeps us going.* * I’m with you on this whole arts support. Is it to be something that disappears gradually? I heard years ago that this island was a hot-bed of the arts. Lately I’m wondering.* * If you ever get something going in the music vein, please feel free to contact us. And if Sussana is reluctant to travel there, I’d be willing to give a try solo. Oh, how I wish for a place where musicians (and their music) are treated with respect and dignity!* * Sincerely and musically,* * David Freeman* *PS: If you ever want a house concert, you know who to ask.*


  2. Jacqui Engel
    Oct 16, 2014 @ 22:06:52

    Thank you for all you do Terry! The Gatehouse Theatre is the heart of our little town.. you are appreciated for all that you do and bring to Port McNeill.


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