The Hymn Sing reunion Carol Nowell I
t was 1965. Conductor/composer Eric Wild and CBC producer/direc- tor Don S. Williams proposed to
CBC executives that they develop a show featuring a chorus of 16 young men and women, with costumes and sets, perform- ing hymns, spirituals and gospel songs. I was fortunate to be selected to sing on the show for the first five years. Many televisions shows were being pro- duced in Winnipeg at that time – Swing- along, Red River Jamboree and Time out for Music. Winnipeg was a musical centre, with a rich chest of talent to draw from. The Toronto CBC executives of- fered a 13-week series. The show was first aired in October 1965, on the national television network. Immediately, viewers began phoning, expressing their approval
and requesting musical favorites. Millions of families across the country sat down Sunday afternoons before dinner to watch the show, and so it continued on the air for 30 years. Dave Waters, a young CBC producer,
took over from Don Williams after several years, and he shaped the show, leading the young people on tours and recordings. Dave enjoyed telling the singers that some weeks, the Hymn Sing viewership was greater than Hockey Night in Canada. Dave took a personal interest in the cho- rus members, and followed them as they graduated from university, launched their professional singing careers, began teach- ing music at colleges and public schools, married and started their families. In fact, it was Dave Waters, along with his wife Deanna and tenor John Nelson who decided last year that it was time to hold a Hymn Sing Reunion. They gath- ered a committee of Hymn Sing Alumni
Randy Bachman, Loreena McKennitt, Terry Jacks, and Daniel Lavoie immediately sprung to mind, however my answer surprised him: Bob Nolan. Bob is acknowl- edged as one of the greatest American songwriters. Born Clarence Robert Nobles at 53 Lansdowne Av- enue on April 13, 1908, Bob’s father, Harry, worked as a tailor while his Irish immigrant mother, Flora, was employed by the Manitoba Government Telephone Company. The Nobles lived hand-to-mouth, moving frequently. At age eight, Harry abandoned the family to move to Arizona. Bob joined his father in Tucson in 1921 where his name was changed to Nolan. (Harry had joined the US army under that name in 1917). Bob later reversed his first name to Robert Clarence Nolan. In 1929, Bob relocated to California in search of a career in music. Teaming up with Tim Spencer,
Remembering Bob Nolan R
ecently a friend asked me who I thought was the greatest songwriter to come from Manito- ba. Names like Neil Young, Burton Cummings,
The Sons of the Pioneers.
Leonard Slye and three others, they formed the The Sons of the Pioneers, releasing their first recordings in 1934. The group’s success lasted well into the 1950s, becoming the first country and western act to appear
and began to plan. The word spread and excitement grew amongst alumni as the committee planned the weekend. I was on the committee, in charge of registrations, contacting alumni, writing the script for the concert and taking minutes of com- mittee meetings. John Nelson selected the music, we booked accompanists and began to distribute music. This past Au- gust, 75 former Hymn Sing Choristers gathered at Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg to renew acquaintances and sing together again.
Singers came from all across Canada as well as Germany. Many hadn’t seen each other for 50 years. Yet, it seemed as if it was yesterday that we were laughing, sing- ing, pulling pranks, and starting our lives in music. The fans of the show gathered in the church on August 26, and there were 750 people in the audience. Winni- fred Sim, music director for 30 years, was greeted warmly. As we processed down the aisle, the crowd cheered. We took our places and began to sing Little Church in the Wildwood, How Great Thou Art and so many more. Our voices remembered the melodies and the words and the au- dience joined in the ‘Sing-Along’ hymns. Everyone said it was a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience and they went home glow- ing with renewed friendships and happy hearts. CJNU’s encouragement for our event
through PSAs was most appreciated. It helped to spread the word! Carol Nowell is a CJNU announcer and Hymn Sing Alumnus.
at Carnegie Hall. They even sold out Madison Square Garden. Leonard Slye changed his name to Roy Rog- ers and he and Bob appeared in some 80 movies to- gether. Bob composed over 1,200 songs, however his best-
known compositions are Tumbling Tumbleweeds and Cool Water both recorded by The Sons of the Pio- neers. The Smithsonian Institute recognizes these as two of the greatest cowboy songs of all time. More than 100 artists from Hank Williams, Frankie Laine, Bing Crosby, Marty Robbins, Eddy Arnold, Perry Como, The Boston Pops Orchestra, The Lennon Sis- ters, Lawrence Welk, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash to Joni Mitchell, The Supremes, Don Everly, ex-Mon- kee Mike Nesmith, and the King himself, Elvis Presley, have covered them. The Coen Brothers’ 1998 film The Big Lebowski included Tumbling Tumbleweeds while the animated Rango in 2011 featured Cool Water. Honoured by more than a dozen institutions in- cluding the Country Music Hall of Fame, Bob Nolan passed away in 1980 at age 72. John Einarson is a CJNU announcer.
Artist of the Month of November 2018: Andrea Bocelli G
Helen Harper “I strongly believe that love does justice.
And it is for this simple reason that we are all responsible for building a better world. Since love energizes faith, the opposite must also be true. The amazing lives we have been gifted offer us the privilege, opportu- nity, and responsibility to give the less for- tunate a better future and opportunities.” -Andrea Bocelli
reat words by a great man. Andrea
is on my desert island list. His pure sound and amazing story res- onates deeply with me. He was born
Lajatco, Tuscany, Italy in 1958. He had poor eyesight from birth be- ing finally diagnosed with congenital glaucoma and lost the use of his eyes
at age twelve follow- ing a football accident. This talented man plays the
piano, flute and,
of course, he has those amazing vocals. Starting out in the classical genre, he has crossed over suc- cessfully to pop, record- ing 15 solo albums of both classical and pop,
greatest hits albums and nine complete operas, selling 90 million worldwide.
CJNU radio works closely with community groups to provide public service announcements throughout the broadcast day. In April we helped promote numerous events at nonprofit and charitable organizations, in addition to providing personal CJNU representation, time permitting. Here’s just a sample of these activities.
CJNU in the community
Moving on down to the Mall. Main studio under construction at our coming new location in the Richardson Concourse. Hoping for a late November occupancy. Stay tuned!
CJNU deejay Scott and Rosalie Best tie the knot October 6
Rockin’ Richards Record and CD sale October 14.
Match the artists to the
World War II song by Tom Dercola
1. The Andrews Sisters 2. Vera Lynn 3. The Mills Brothers 4. Doris Day 5. Irving Berlin
A. Sentimental Journey B. Comin’ in on a Wing and a Prayer C. G.I. Jive D. Lili Marleeen E. Over the Rainbow
6. Johnny Mercer 7. The Song Spinners 8. Judy Garland 9. Marlene Dietrich
F. This Is the Army, Mr. Jones G. We’ll Meet Again H. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy I. Paper Doll
Answers on page 23 November 2018 www.lifestyles55.ne
He studied law at the University of
Pisa and was a practicing lawyer for a year, always singing to pay the rent. In 1992, he sent a demo tape to Luciano Pavaroti and the rest is history. His list of accomplishments are much too long to list. I look forward to hearing him on CJNU in the month of November. Whether paired with contemporary pop artists or alone with one of his classical gems, this month will be well worth the listen.
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