Beachers show creative flair in diverse offerings

“When I first started in the investment business, I was excited at the prospect of having a client base, and helping people invest their funds for retirement,” says Frank Friedrich Weiler in his latest book InSync Income: A Must-read Guide to Investing for Income in Canada. “So I mainly focussed on the capital-appreciation aspect of investing – buying stocks that would grow and grow.”

But, as we have all found out, these stocks don’t always grow and grow. Since 2008 the stock market has been in a virtual free-fall and people have lost plenty of their long-term investment nest-eggs. Weiler has come to realize this as well.

“As time passed and my knowledge level increased, I started to question some of the things that I thought I knew about investing and the stock market,” he admits. “After more study, I realized… that the stock market regularly has long periods of underperformance that can potentially have devastating effects, especially on someone who is drawing income from a portfolio.” The purpose of his new book is to make those investors who are near retirement age aware of the many problems he sees in current portfolio management ideas, and introduce them to his concept of an InSync Income portfolio, one that takes advantage of current and expected economic trends.

Weiler claims that it is a myth that the current stock market environment can provide consistent returns over a five, 10 or 15 year period. Investing in, say, a balanced mutual fund is an inefficient system for the investor looking to use his investments to provide income for retirement. He explains how, through a portfolio of income-oriented investments – government and corporate bonds, debentures – that have fixed maturity dates, combined with others – real estate investment trusts, resource trusts, and the like – you will be in a much better position to provide for a comfortable retirement income.

Frank Friedrich Weiler is president of First Reliance Financial Inc. and First Reliance Asset Management Inc. He holds several designations including Canadian Investment Manager, Financial Management Advisor, and is a Chartered Strategic Wealth Professional, and Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute. He lives in the Beach with his wife and family. For more information, or to order a copy of his book, visit his website at

Vaughan Song has just released the debut CD of Beach guitarist and songwriter Daniel Vaughan. The CD, called Twelve Guitars, Nine Months and a Pair of Boots, more or less explains what the CD is about – and how it was made. It’s a collection of fingerstyle guitar instrumentals, sprinkled with a few self-penned songs.

From the opening bars of Cecil’s Bench, through the softly lilting Beethoven’s Hair, the exotic flavours of Ring That Bell, on to the achingly beautiful strains of Absent Friends (with Pat Perez lending his inimitable sax sound), and the final Spring Break with its neat “up and down” melodic lines, Vaughan demonstrates his ability to wring wonderfully interesting melodies from a mere six strings.

The Twelve Guitars part of the title literally refers to the 12 guitars that Vaughan plays, including a Larrivée JCL, a Gibson J-45, an old Framus bass, and a Fender Telly. The Nine Months is how long it took to make the recording with Vaughan actually doing most of the work; from writing, playing recording and mixing. The Pair of Boots? Well, from the looks of the ones on the CD cover, the boots were worn out going from one job to the other.

Vaughan has lived in the Beach for the last 20 years, and has been playing the guitar for almost 40. Much of the recording of Twelve Guitars was done, however, at his summer home on the Bay of Quinte near Picton. His wife, Barbara, is his marketing manager, making Vaughan Song a truly family venture. Vaughan recently held a CD release at the Boardwalk Pub. If you didn’t make it to the release, you can check out Twelve Guitars, Nine Months and a Pair of Boots at There is also a video of Daniel playing a piece from the CD on YouTube.

Beach poet Leopoldo Paradela has just released a book of verse that captures his “burning passion for life.” Hearts & Souls is a collection of poetry that is divided into two main sections. The first is a series of deeply emotional love poems where the author explores the passion and suffering of the heart. The second part is a series of spiritual quests, exploring courage, honesty and morality.

Paradela was born in Brazil and came to Canada in 1974. His poetry exhibits a definite Brazilian tradition and sensibility, yet his time in Canada has made a big impression on him, especially the Beach.

“For a poet, residing in the Beach it’s a very inspiring place to live,” He explains. “It’s a very friendly and tight-knit community, populated by fascinating people. Over the years, it has been a constant source of inspiration to me.” Here is an example of his poetry:

Let me look on you and
make sense of my theology
No matter what I do,
I can never empty my heart.
Good for me is good for all.
SIlence! My heart speaks:
Love conquers all

Paradela has had many readings across the city, including a recent reading at Prana Café, 2130A Queen St. E. For more information, or to purchase a copy of Hearts & Souls visit Paradela’s website at

It takes a brave pianist to record and release a CD of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations here in the Beach, in the shadow of the late Glenn Gould, the man of whose recording of these little gems was said by one listener in Boston,  “If I never hear Bach’s Goldberg Variations again, I feel with all my heart that I have heard the ultimate, and am grateful.” Gould recorded them twice: once in 1955, very early in his career, then again digitally in 1981, and it is said that they are very different approaches. Hence we can  say that it is completely permissible for a young pianist like Keith Campbell to record his own take on the Goldberg Variations.

The Goldberg Variations are a set of 30 variations on a particular aria which Bach composed for Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, and so named because he might have been the first to have actually played them. These variations have since become one of those Baroque standards that are enjoyed and attempted by many interested in music of the period. They address the many theories of Counterpoint for which Bach was so well known.

Campbell studied the piano for some years up until he was 11 years old. As can often be the case, a piano teacher at the time, did not fit with the budding young musician’s sensitivities, and they parted company. Campbell forgot the piano, but went on to study the French Horn at McGill University until, as he said, “I blew my lip, and got kicked out after two and a half years.” In the meantime Campbell took a job in a music store, and saved up until he was able to purchase a Young Chang piano. He converted a room in his home with soundproofing in order to be able to practise undisturbed, and eventually with the helps of friends and family gathered some serious recording equipment, and set out to make this recording.

It’s hard to imagine that Campbell is self-taught on the piano, and plays well enough to record the Goldberg Variations, but he has an interesting take on the process.

“I started studying unedited Bach keyboard works,” Campbell explained. “Just from the point of view that it was simple enough for Bach to do with great facility, so I should be up to the same thing if I approached it with no preconceptions.” Most musicians I have come into contact with (and I worked at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto for nine years) would pour over the dozens of recorded interpretations of a piece they were studying in order to ‘understand’ it. Not Campbell. “I found listening to any recording made me feel that my playing didn’t measure up,” he said. “So I stopped listening to music altogether.”

This is Campbell’s first recording, and it was completed a couple of years ago. Since then he has recorded some harpsichord material. Campbell has also been known to dress up in Baroque costume, and perform at school functions, weddings and the like.

If you would like to hear this exceptional recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations performed by Keith Campbell, you could phone him at 416-461-6866

Beach singer-songwriter Robert McRoberts dropped off his latest CD for my consideration. He was also the first person to mention to me the fact that Sunday afternoons at Grinder Coffee House on Main, south of Gerrard featured acoustic musicians, of which he was one. McRoberts has connected with Aaron Comeau, who books the musicians for Grinder, and who was instrumental – to use the term expansively – in producing this CD for him.

Called The Slow Numbers, McRoberts’ CD features 15 self-penned tunes that range from Dylanesque-style folk stories to gentle love ballads, with a stop at the quirky café in between. McRoberts accompanies himself on the guitar, and is joined by the multi-instrumentalist Comeau, piano, banjo, accordion, bass, drums, etc., Evan Cartwright and Jake Hoag, drums, Gabriel Kerekes, clarinet, Raven Shield and The Swamp Yankees on vocals.

McRoberts is a poet at heart, as all good folk musicians are, and some of his songs express his love of language. It struck me right off the bat on the first track, The Boys In Her Life, when he sings, “She’s got eyes that are blacker than the heart of a closed pitcher’s mitt.” And then again in the next tune, The New Woman: “She’s living for Christ, and betting that I’ll be forgiven.”

His poem Gethsemane is spoken word to an instrumental accompaniment; it’s an ode based on moments in the life of Christ, and includes such lines as “Fruit hangs from a tree/Like a lamp stand full of candles,” or “A breeze crosses the verandahs like a butterfly.”

McRoberts seems to almost assume different personalities when singing particular tunes on this recording. He can go from a gentle balladeer on tunes like Go Free, The Carol Song or Goodbye Song, to Dylanesque sermonizing on songs such as The White Hotel, Man’s Best Friend or The Boys in her Life. At other times he adopts the persona of an old man reminiscing about the past in Old Leaf Fan or Don Jail Blues. Then McRoberts does his best Randy Newman on I Told My Wife, a tongue-in-cheek song about his wife’s former husbands, featuring a fantastic clarinet solo by Gabriel Kerekes.

If you’d like a trip along many roads have a listen to Robert McRoberts’ The Slow Numbers, on Carriage House Records. You can pick up a copy by emailing Robert at, or the next time he appears at Grinder.

Beach investment guru Reuben Sokol has published an e-book on the topic of creating the proper business plan. The Business Plan Magic Act is designed for entrepreneurs looking to attract potential investors willing to put money into the realization of their idea.

“The business plan helps anchor a roller coaster ride through the launch phase of a new or growing business,” says Sokol in the book’s introduction. “It sets markers where you can get ready to zig or zag when the need arises.” Based on his 20 years of strategic planning, Sokol has come to the conclusion that creating a good business plan is more than simply filling in the blanks on the standard plans offered by business courses. It is more of an art.

The Business Plan Magic Act is divided into many chapters, covering such topics as The One Hour Business Plan, Business Plan FAQs, Financing, Reduce Risk, People, People, People and Seeking Venture Capital. Sokol stresses that sophisticated potential investors are looking for a large unmet need, a large, accessible and growing market for a product or service, a revenue generating model (e-commerce, direct mail), a timeline for the product going to market, a prototype, a cost-effective product and between 30 and 50% on their investment per year. If you can’t meet these criteria, says Sokol, “you will likely need to seek funds from friends or relatives.” Sokol can teach you to think creatively – to use that creative spark that came up with the idea, to market it effectively to investors. He can teach you how to brainstorm, challenge the existing rules, see the bigger picture, and take action. The Business Plan Magic Act will present you with many new ideas, and leave you with the confidence to approach investors, so hopefully the experience won’t be like going into a dragon’s den.

Reuben Sokol began his career in finance studying at the Ivey School of Business. His first position was as a management consultant at KPMG. He later coordinated the business plan at TD Visa, eventually doing the same for TD Bank as a whole. In 2002 he was one of four founding members of Fox-tek, a company that eventually was valued at more than $120 million. In 2008 he was the co-inventor of a medical device that helped turn around the fortunes of the company Syndicat. Along the way he found time to write for several business publications, and authored several books. He moved to the Beach in 1993 and enjoys living here with his wife and family.

The Business Plan Magic Act is available through Google Books.

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