Writing Home for the Holidays

Windsor Life Revisits Some Very
Interesting Stories From Years Past

Story by Michael Seguin

AHHH, THE HOLIDAYS. A time of giving. A time of togetherness. A time to immerse ourselves in a sea of familiar faces. 

So now, as 2021 lumbers to a decisive conclusion, we’d like to take this opportunity to catch up with some old friends… 

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Left to right: Jeff Mailloux, Christine Lucier, Jeff Loewen (sitting), Brian Cyncora and Terry Cyncora.

Approximately 2-3% of all children in any community sleep on the floor.

 “We have 95,000 children in Windsor and Essex County,” Brian Cyncora, Co-Founder of the Windsor chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, reports. “If you take 2% of that, that’s 1,900 kids in our community without a bed.” 

Sleep in Heavenly Peace is an international organization that maintains that all children deserve a safe, comfortable space to lay their heads. The various chapters of the organization are composed of volunteers dedicated to building, assembling and delivering beds to all families in need. 

Brian and his wife Terry formed the Windsor chapter after the couple moved to Windsor last year.

“We serve any child between the ages of 3 and 17 who does not have a bed,” Brian states. “We build them. We donate them. And we deliver them. That’s where the rubber meets the road. Our team goes out there and we have the good fortune to see kids receiving their new beds.” 

The importance of a bed for a developing brain cannot be overstated.

“We’re providing them a place of comfort,” Brain explains. “A place of safety. A place they can call their own. A bed gives them that security.”

Throughout the last year Brian and Terry have busied themselves with building their organization’s infrastructure, allowing them to better serve their community.

“We assembled all the tools and equipment we’d need to create a mobile bed-building process,” Brian reports. “After that we were able to establish a core team. There’s about 67 of us. Amassing a team of people who see and believe in the need has been extraordinary. We’re all committed to ending child bedlessness.”

More information about the Windsor chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace is available on their Facebook page on @SHPWindsor and the website

Christee Palace

Musician Christee Palace. Photo by Jaden D.

If you’ve been keeping your ear to the ground, chances are you’ve heard of Windsor’s Christee Palace.

Formerly Christie Palazzolo, the young musician’s work blends a unique combination of musical styles into a sound that is wholly her own. 

“Genre-wise, I describe myself as pop rock,” Christee states. “I’ve always loved and written pop music. I’ve also come from that classic rock background, thanks to my Dad. I’ve always loved the sound of electric guitars and the heaviness that comes with rock music. And all of my biggest musical influences have been pop rock artists, the biggest being Avril Lavigne. I just loved the idea of a girl on stage rocking out with a guitar!”

And now, after years of delighting listeners and audiences everywhere, Christee has secured a major foothold in the music industry.

“I recently signed a publishing deal!” Christee exclaims. “The deal allows me to submit any songs that I write to Atrium Music, which is based in California. They basically blast my music out to all major movies, commercials, TV shows and anything that needs music. This gives me amazing opportunities for exposure. Not to mention the ability to make a living off my music!”

Now, still glowing from this momentous achievement, Christee takes a moment to offer some advice to aspiring musicians.

“Work very hard,” Christee stresses. “There’s nothing else I can say. If you love something, work your butt off to get it. Even if you don’t quite reach your ultimate goal, you’re always going to end up doing something that’s relevant and something that you love. And make sure you believe in yourself!”

The Tea Party

The Tea Party (l-r): Jeff Burrows, Jeff Martin and Stuart Chatwood. Photo by Francesca Ludikar.

Thirty-one years ago, The Tea Party, one of Windsor’s most beloved local bands, performed their first show at the Coach and Horses. 

And local history was made.

Although, according to Stuart Chatwood, The Tea Party’s bass and keyboard player, the history of the band stretches back much, much further. Stuart met his future bandmates, Jeff Burrows and Jeff Martin, in Grade 10 at high school and the three formed the short-lived band called Modern Movement. Many bands came and went in the years to follow with Jeff Martin and Stuart finding themselves in Toronto playing in a group called The Stickmen. This band started to fall apart in the early months of 1990 and Jeff Martin and Stuart took a break with a trip back to Windsor where they connected with Jeff Burrows and the three decided to meet up at The Coach and Horses. “The Coach” was having a tough time drawing crowds so the manager asked the three of them to form a band.

The old friends agreed. Back in Toronto after their first jam session together, they immediately knew they’d captured something special.

“That first day we rehearsed until we had blisters!” Stuart states. “We had these big Cheshire Cat grins on. The excitement was palpable. We took a break for some lunch at the Knob Hill Farms lunch counter and immediately began plotting world domination.”

The Tea Party has now been one of Windsor’s favourite homegrown bands selling over 2 million records over the course of their 31 year career. The band has brushed elbows with numerous legendary bands over the years, including Pearl Jam and Oasis. Most notably, in 1995 they opened for Led Zeppelin alumni Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in Montreal. And in 2003, The Tea Party played at the Molson Canadian Rocks For Toronto, also known as “The Rolling Stones SARS Benefit Concert.” There, the three played for a massive crowd of 490,000 people.

And now, on their 31st anniversary, The Tea Party has released a remastered version their self-titled 1991 album on double-vinyl. In tandem, they have re-released a CD containing the new mastering and the original album on CD so that dedicated fans can compare the two. 

Looking forward Stuart muses, “Now, more than ever, you don’t need to worry about radio air play. You can afford to be more unique. Your audience is the world now. You can zone in on a sound that will draw people to you. And as soon as you do something appealing to a small group, they will become your disciples and spread the word. You will grow organically.”

Jennifer Jones

Newly elected President of Rotary International, Jennifer Jones.

How did you spend the last year? Many of us have (admittedly) spent the better part of the pandemic cooped up indoors, dressed in our finest sweatpants, scarfing down bags of Cheetos.

But Jennifer Jones? Jennifer Jones has been busy.

A graduate of the University of Windsor, Jennifer started her own television production company, Media Street Productions Inc., which the Windsor Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce once recognized as “Company of the Year.” It has also received 26 international awards for broadcasting excellence.

But perhaps most significant is her contributions towards Rotary International. So great was her acts of service, that Jennifer, a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, was elected as the President of Rotary International for the 2022-2023 term.

Now, as the President-Elect, Jennifer has spent the last year preparing to lead Rotary International to grand new heights.

“This has been an intense time,” Jennifer admits. “With regard to planning for the 2022-23 term. We’re planning how we’re going to interface with Rotarians across the globe. We’re making plans for different events we’re going to be hosting. Over the last two years, we’ve planned a lot of events from a virtual perspective. Now, we’re starting to transition back as vaccination rates increase and the world begins to open up.”

Fittingly, Jennifer and her fellow Rotarians have emerged from these unprecedented times with a greater appreciation for the ties that bind us together as a community, both locally and globally.

“These past two years have taught us a lot in terms of how we can connect,” Jennifer explains. “For a global organization like ours, we’re taking advantage of the lessons we’ve learned. And bringing people together through virtual platforms has allowed us to be more flexible. It’s certainly opened the opportunity to be more inclusive.”

Jennifer is set to take office on July 1st, 2022. She will be the first female President in Rotary’s 116-year history.

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