JUNO 2002 nominee Marcel Gagnon band reunites after 13 years

After 13 years apart, musicians of the former JUNO Award nominated Marcel Gagnon band reunite on Vanderhoof’s stage.

Musicians of the former JUNO Award nominated Marcel Gagnon band reunite over a Musical Show of Support for the band’s bass guitar player Don McLelland (right)

Musicians of the former JUNO Award nominated Marcel Gagnon band reunite over a Musical Show of Support for the band’s bass guitar player Don McLelland (right)

After 13 years apart, musicians of the former JUNO Award nominated Marcel Gagnon band reunite over blended voices, strings, and keys on Vanderhoof’s stage.

It’s a Musical Show of Support for the band’s bass guitar player Don McLelland, who is struggling with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Friends, family, and other Vanderhoofians filled Nechako Valley Secondary’s Integris Community Theatre in support on Nov. 19.

With original members Justin Frey on saxophone, Jeremy Blattner on keyboard, Dianna McNolty as female vocalist, Susie Blattner on flute and percussion, and lead singer Marcel Gagnon on acoustic guitar, the night of celebration, emceed by Tom Bulmer, featured favourites from the band’s albums Crazy Maker and The Watchman – Tom Crow.

Crazy Maker, recorded in 2001 by the band in Banff Centre of the Arts, was one of five nominees for the Best Music of Aboriginal Canada Recording for the JUNO Awards of 2002.

Drummer Trevor Bigam of Edmonton was the only missing original band member, and accompanying local musicians included Steve Regnier, Mike Vigano, Robin Work, Steve Gailing, and Greg Ventin of local band Rosewood’s Diary.

McLelland’s twin brother Dan played bass guitar until intermission, when McLelland joined the band on stage.

“Just want to say, it takes cancer to get everyone together?” McLelland said. “Thanks to everyone for showing up; you have no idea how much it means to me.”

Between songs, Gagnon and McLelland shared stories of the band’s success.

“At one point, I was getting calls from radio stations in Bulgaria and other places,” Gagnon said. “The album was playing in 50 odd countries.

“I brought these songs to the studio, and you guys turn these songs into music.”

He recalled a moment with McLelland during Rockfest.

“On the poster, there’s Marcel Gagnon band on top, then all the little band names underneath,” Gagnon said. “Don came up and said, ‘We’re not bottom feeders anymore!’”

They also recognized changes over the years.

“Justin told me he wanted to be a doctor, and now he’s a doctor,” Gagnon said. “Susie is now a teacher, and married this guy — Jeremy.

“Dianna, you have eight grandchildren.”

McLelland thanked the crowd at the end of the show.

“I am one blessed and happy man, to play with these guys,” he said. “I’m going to stick around as long as I can; this is too much fun.”


Just Posted

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read