Born at home in Drimnagh,
Ireland, June, 5,1944, Colm was one of ten children whose parents were both skilled musicians – his mother was a singer and involved with amateur dramatics, whilst the banjo and mandolin were part of his father’s repertoire. Colm was working with his father, an asphalt contractor, and playing in bands part-time when, at 16 years of age, he went on a tour to the US. Shortly after his return he left the family business to become a full-time professional musician.
Colm and Deirdre, whom he describes as a source of constant and essential support, married in 1970. They began their married life in Bray passing on family traditions to their four children: Judith is now a curator, Simon and Sarah are graphic designers and Aaron is a singer/songwriter. Early in his music career, Wilkinson insisted that Deirdre and the children accompany him on tour to avoid familial separation.
In 1972, Wilkinson was cast as Judas Iscariot in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar. The role launched his fame and in 1985 he would once again collaborate with Webber in The Phantom of the Opera. Colm moved with his family to Canada as he began the four-and-a-half-year run as title character of Phantom, originating the role in Canada.
In 1976, Colm launched his solo career as singer-songwriter. By 1977 he was back in Ireland (where he was known as C.T. Wilkinson) for the launch of his own album which held Number One on the charts for 8 weeks. His next step was to prepare for vocal competitions. This led to his representing Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest, 1978, winning fifth place with Born to Sing.
Colm released several albums, including Child of Destiny with Tommy TC Doherty, and starred in ground-breaking musicals including Voices: Joan of Arc at the Olympia, Dublin, in 1984. He was offered a reprise of Phantom in the West End London but chose instead to play Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. The London production opened in October 1985, and transferred to Broadway in March 1987. The awards poured in when the American Actors' Equity Association took a turn-around and allowed Wilkinson to play the role when producer Cameron Mackintosh refused to open the show without Wilkinson. Colm received the Helen Hayes Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and the Theatre World Award for his performance and was nominated for the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
In 2002, he released the album titled "Some of My Best Friends Are Songs" in which he and his son Aaron cover the Cat Stevens song, Father and Son. His support of PBS listener-supported television brought him an hour-long programme during the tenth anniversary of the production of Les Misérables, brought him an hour-long program on which he performed songs including selections from the album and a powerful rendition of "Gethsemane", from Jesus Christ Superstar, a song that Wilkinson admitted he had wanted to perform for 23 years
Colm Wilkinson became a Canadian citizen in 2000).
October–November 2007, he undertook a cross-Canada concert tour, covered by the solo album, "Broadway and Beyond: The Concert Songs" released in 2010.
Wilkinson is a Founding Artist of Theatre 20, a musical theatre company in Toronto formed by artists in 2009. He was voted one of the five greatest singers ever in a Rolling Stone Magazine readers' poll. A soft-spoken man, he is noted for maintaining a powerful singing voice into his late 60s. He has attributed his longevity to avoiding coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, and dairy products whilst ensuring proper sleep, diet, and exercise.
In October 2012 Colm Wilkinson was awarded the Honourary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Ryerson University in Toronto.
Sarah Ann Chisholm
Singer, Actor, Producerr
Jim Byrnes was born September 22, 1948, in St. Louis, Missouri – that’s blues country. He grew up on the city’s north side, getting involved both in the Civil Rights Movement (as much as his parents would allow) and falling in love with the city's blues scene. A neighbourhood bar had Ike and Tina Turner as the house band. Jim and his buddy sat in, “We never had any problems. We were too naïve, and had too much respect for the music and culture,” said Jim. By age thirteen, he was singing and playing blues guitar – soon with a virtual Who’s Who - Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker …
During the height of the Vietnam War (1955-75) Jim was drafted and spent 13 months overseas. Despite being vehemently anti- war, he was then assigned to an army recruitment centre. “That was really not a good idea. Jim wasn[t about encouraging other young men to go off to war," his wife, Robyn Post said. With a potential second stint overseas looming, Byrnes left the US for Canada, settling on Vancouver Island. "He had a dog. He was living off clams and brown rice in a shack.”
His life changed forever one night in 1972. He got out on the Malahat Hwy. to help a friend whose car had broken down. He was hit by a truck. He woke up in Nanaimo Hospital the following morning to be told “You've been in a very serious accident, and we had to amputate both your legs."
After years of drifting, struggling with the prostheses, working odd jobs and playing music Jim moved to Vancouver. In 1981 he put together a band that, in ’86, played 300 nights. His fame as an actor grew from his TV and movie roles, highlights including television’s Wiseguy and Highlander series, and his national variety show ‘The Jim Byrnes Show’.
Jim’s first love was always the blues. His evocative, smoky vocals are his signature. In 1981 he released Burnin’, followed in 1987 with I’ve Turned My Nights into Days and 1995’s Juno-Award winning That River.
He began collaborating with Steve Dawson, one of North America's most critically proclaimed roots music producers and created five outstanding albums in six years. 2004’s Fresh Horses and 2006’s gospel tinged Juno Award winning House Of Refuge set new standards. My Walking Stick was the 2009 release as they continued to explore gospel, blues, rockabilly, and country genres, pulling it all together in an original way. Everywhere West was a salute to Jim’s origins and influences.
In 2012, Jim recorded I Hear The Wind in the Wires, an album of songs from the golden age of country music that he had listened to most of his life. In 2014 Jim and Steve collaborated to celebrate the 250th anniversary of St. Louis Missouri. Childhood memories and versions of songs he grew up with made St. Louis Blues his most personal and, many would say, his best record yet.
A long list of career highlights back up the word that Jim Byrnes is a living musical treasure:
1995 Inducted BC Entertainment Hall of Fame, Juno Award winner (Blues/ Gospel Album of the Year- That River); 2003 Heart Award- BC Variety Club 2004 Juno Award nominee (Fresh Horses), Western Canadian Music Awards 2-time nominee for Fresh Horses; 2005 Maple Blues Awards 3-time nominee for Fresh Horses
2006 Champion for Kids Award — St. Louis Variety Club; Leo Award nominee for music video (Just a Pilgrim); Maple Blues Awards 2-time winner (Best Male Vocalist — House of Refuge); Maple Blues Awards 2-time winner (Recording of the Year — House of Refuge); Canadian Folk Music Award winner (Producer / Steve Dawson — House of Refuge); Canadian Folk Music Award winner (Best Contemporary Singer — House of Refuge); Juno Award winner (Blues Album of the Year — House of Refuge)
2010 Western Canadian Music Awards Winner (Blues Album of the Year — My Walking Stick)
2011 Western Canadian Music Awards nominee (Blues Album of the Year - Everywhere West); Juno winner (Blues Album of the Year — Everywhere West)
2014 Maple Blues Awards (Best Male Vocalist — I Hear The Wind in the Wires)
The war, the accident - the hard times eclipsed by his marriage, a daughter, three Juno awards and a successful music career. His daughter Caitlin says it's his authenticity that defines Jim Byrnes, "He wears his heart on his sleeve, for better or for worse. I think it's the Irish way."
Mary was born 4 June, 1894, and learned
the harsh realities of poverty growing up in
the Gaspé region, where unemployment
was common. Irish on her father's side, French Canadian on her mother's. She was a sturdy, curious and lively child who attended school only briefly. Fluently bilingual, she learned how to sing as well as play the accordion, fiddle and harmonica to brighten the evenings spent with neighbours. She usually played Irish reels, which she intertwined with "turlutes." Acadian mouth music. Without knowing it, young Mary Travers was laying the foundations of the Quebec "chanson."
At 13 years of age, in 1907, Mary she for Montreal in order to relieve the financial burden on her family. The shock of 20th C Montreal would become a song - The countryside, I left, To Montreal I did go. I tell you, it wasn't long. Before I met a fine young beau.
She worked as a housekeeper, then as a labourer in a textile mill retaining her strong will to succeed and cheerful disposition, winning the admiration of Edouard Bolduc. They married in 1914, struggled to raise a family in a 4-room cold-water flat, fighting against poverty and infections that claimed young lives. Trying to stay one step ahead of disaster they moved every two years. Their life began to stabilize in 1924 and the four surviving children grew up in a typical French Canadian home.
One day, when Edouard once again faced unemployment, Mary seized on the opportunity to replace a fiddle player in the "Veillées de Bon Vieux Temps," a popular folklore show. The audience liked her jigs on the fiddle, jew's-harp and spoons, and one evening, when she ventured to sing a refrain in her clear voice, there were calls for an encore!
Through the generosity of fellow musicians, Mary Bolduc quickly learned her trade and began to compose melodies. Radio broadcasts spread her reputation. The budding author-composer had never dared dream of a career when, in 1929, the head of Starr records offered her a contract for five "78" records. Then, on October 29, the New York Stock Market Crash set off the Great Depression. As grinding poverty again entered her life, Mary wrote new songs with simple and direct lyrics that spoke to the common people.
Her first big hit, La Cuisinière (The Cook), charmed the mothers of large families and the factory workers who still preferred humour and hope to the fatalism of other singers. By 1930, she was expected to produce one record a month. Her on-stage appearances increased and as the unemployment rate rose, she became a voice of courage. She spoke directly to the audience, with whom she directly identified:
The time will come, the time will come, but we can't lose hope.
She described the changing world: the new R-100 dirigible, the Dionne quintuplets, the Lindberg baby kidnapping, the New Deal and Hitler. With growing assurance, she took on the governments of Quebec and Canada, denounced poverty and unemployment, and advocated respect for tradition and work. Her stance on the status of women, however, was more traditional. Independent herself, she demanded more freedom for all women, but added:
For a household to get along, Requires a lot prudence. Let the wife wear the dress. And the man, the pants.
The songs broadcast from Montreal generated such a demand that Mary and her troupe of entertainers began regular tours of Quebec and New England. During one of these, in June 1937, she was involved in a serious traffic accident. When the doctor examined her injuries, he discovered a cancerous tumour. In the middle of this ultimate test, she wrote The Sufferings from My Accident.
In 1941, the final curtain came down on the singer
who sung to theunderprivileged of her day.
Today her songs reach a new audience
new struggles .. 'but we can't lose hope'
"North America's Best Irish Band"
Margaret Anglin was born April 3, 1876, Ottawa, Ontario,At the peak of her career she was.one of the most brilliant actresses in the world, equally effective in Greek tragedies, Shakespearean plays, and contemporary dramas.
Margaret's father was T.W. Anglin, speaker of the House of Commons. Her environment and education was upper-class attending schools in Montreal, Moncton and Toronto. In her teens she went to study at a dramatic arts school in New York. to become a reader of Shakespeare. There, producer Charles Frohman heard her speak and offered her a small role in Shenandoah, a Civil War play produced in 1894. By the end of the decade she appeared on Broadway as Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac,. She starred as Ruth Jordan in The Great Divide. Thereafter success followed her on Broadway and on the road. She became best known for her roles in classic Greek tragedies and Shakesperean productions. In 1927 she insisted upon casting her actor-husband, Howard Hull, in her plays. When her request was rebuffed by producers, she countered by walking out of two major productions. For years following theatres in New York closed their doors to her but she made her comeback in 1936, in Ivor Novello's Fresh Fields. She returned to Toronto to live in 1953, marking her interest in Canadian theatre by donating a gold bracelet annually to the Earl Grey dramatic and musical competitions. She died in a nursing home in 1957. She was buried in the Anglin family plot at Mount Hope Cemetery 185
Ryan’s Fancy 85
CBC broadcaster, Peter Gzowski, summed it up ... three Irish emigrants to Canada, rose out of the folk music scene of the late 1960's ... Denis Ryan, Fergus O’Byrne, and Dermot O’Reill... and took the stage in 1971 as Ryan’s Fancy.
They moved from Toronto toattend university at St. John’s, Newfoundland. They thought they might pay their way through university, bit they became regulars and having met CBC television producer Jack Kellum the trio became stars of there own national TV series and live shows across Atlantic Canada's rich cultural and musical heritage.
FERGUS O'BYRNE The founding member of Ryan's Fancy was born in Dublin, Ireland, immigrated to Canada in 1967. He graduated from Memorial U. in 1968 with a degree in Educatio. He developed and produced a programme of songs, stories and slides exploring the connection between Ireland and Newfoundland and tours the program in schools throughout the Atlantic Provinces. He plays banjo, guitar, concertina and bodhran. He teaches bodhran and banjo.
Feb. 2004, Fergus, as part of Ryan’s Fancy, was awarded the ECMA Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award which recognizes an individual or group who has had a profound & lasting effect on the Atlantic Canadian music industry.
DENIS RYAN makes his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He works in the investment business and is involved with numerous community projects including serving as the national chairman of the fundraising committee of the D'Arcy McGee Chair of Irish Studies at St. Mary's University. In 1994 he received an Honarary degree, Doctor of Letters, from St. Mary's University in Halifax. Denis is also the founder of NovaScotian Crystal, located on the Halifax waterfront. It is the only mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal company in North America.. He is still involved with music, CBC television shows and hosting charitable events.
DERMOT O'REILLY continued to perform as a solo artist in clubs and concerts. He also developed an audiovisual production for presentation to junior and senior high school students. After traveling for a number of years, Dermot turned to Video and Television Production through his company Piperstock Productions Limited and, in 1993, he set up a sound recording facility for local artists.
In 2007 Dermot passed away, leaving us with his wonderful music and memories.
In 1983 after many successful recordings
and a long run on television the three decided
to disband in favour of individual pursuits but
their effect on the Atlantic Canadian music
scene resounds strong to this day.
In the popularity of East Coast music the voice of Ryans Fancy plays on.
Red Robinson Order of British Columbia for service to music & charity
Great Canadian Gaming Corporation opened the 1100-seat Red Robinson Show Theatre at Coquitlam’s Boulevard Casino in September 2006.
Margaret Mary Anglin
La Bolduc (née Mary-Rose-Anne Travers)
singer, songwriter, harmonica player 'violoneuse'ary 93
Red Robinson is proud of his family history from
County Derry in Ireland..His maternal grandfather came to British Columbia with his brother in the late 1800’s and he was a pioneer engineer on Vancouver Island railroad.That family name was Surgenor and both brothers were born in Derry City.
His roots go back to the beginning of Rock’n’Roll. Red was spinning the hits on Vancouver’s CJOR while still in high school in 1954. He was the first DJ to play rock’n’roll music on a regular basis in Canada. In 1957, Red jumped to Vancouver Top 40 giant CKWX, where he met Buddy Holly and Elvis and was MC for Elvis’ appearance.
A move to Portland’s KGW in 1959 gave Red experience in a brand new rock’n’roll medium: TV. After a stint in the US Army, Red returned to CKWX in 1961. The next year he was hired as Program Director at Top 40 newcomer C-FUN, and he turned it into a rock’n’roll powerhouse. In 1964, he introduced The Beatles on the same stage where Elvis appeared seven years earlier.
As host of CBC-TV‘s Let’s Go from 1963-1966, Red introduced some of Canada’s best-known rockers, including Randy Bachman, Terry Jacks, The Collectors and many more.
In 1968, Red returned to CJOR, where it all began, as Operations Manager.
Red entered the advertising business in 1969 when he founded Trend Advertising (later Palmer Jarvis Advertising). Trend’s first client was McDonald’s. Red was their first agent and first to appear in a McDonald’s TV commercial.
In 1971, history repeated itself when Red returned to CKWX. Red hosted Trivia Challenge, another coast-to-coast television series for CBC-TV in 1979-80. A group of contestants was so inspired by the concept they created Trivial Pursuit.
Red hosted mornings on CKWX until 1983, and went “network” with Reunion, a cross-Canada oldies show that ran from 1985-1993.
As part of EXPO 86, Red presented The Legends Of Rock’n’Roll, featuring 40 acts including Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Righteous Brothers.
Another advertising venture, Vrlak Robinson Advertising, merged with Hayhurst Communications in 1987 to form one of Vancouver’s largest advertising agencies.
Red returned to television in 1989, hosting the long-running Red’s Classic Theater on Bellingham’s KVOS-TV until 2001.
In 1993 Red built a top-rated morning show on 650 CISL/Vancouver. He was elected into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame as part of a group of pioneer deejays in 1994, the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1997, and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2000.
Red “retired” from radio in 2001, but continued to broadcast his show Sundays on 650 CISL.
In his honour, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation opened the 1100-seat Red Robinson Show Theatre at Coquitlam’s Boulevard Casino in September 2006. In October 2007, Red moved to the FM dial for the first time at 1049funfm. In 2008, the Vancouver Music Industry presented Red with the Bruce Allen/Sam Feldman Legend Award for his support of the local music industry. Red was honoured in 2009 by the Royal British Columbia Museum as one of 132 influential British Columbians included in a giant collage known as The Party. In August 2011, Red Rock Diner returned home to AM650. Catch Red every Sunday from 12 noon – 4pm (Pacific).
Red was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University Of The Fraser Valley in June 2012 for his pioneering contribution to the Canadian music industry and his philanthropic work.
Red’s early radio days were the subject
of Dean Regan’s hit musical Red Rock
Diner, which ran in summer 2015
at Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre and
participating theatres throughout B.C..
3X Juno Award Winner
Tenor. Actor. Conservator Toronto 2017 Irish Person of the Year
Celebrating Irish-Canadian stars of contemporary live, recorded and broadcast theatre and music.
Arts & Entertainment
Born in Nova Scotia, Sarah Ann's work now spans the country ... singing, theatre, film, services and academia. Awarded the Canadian Scholarship (full tuition) and
completing a BSc. 1st-class Hons. Bio from STFXU, she
eventually returned to her life-long music/ theatre roots
and attended CCPA.
In the meantime, she began working as a shelter support worker with homeless clients, facilitating theatre of the oppressed, and crossed over into recording music and playing on both sides of the camera in film.
Having won numerous awards including a Lieutenant Governor’s Medal and an NSERC USRA, her research involving electron microscopy with co-authors Dr. J. Buckland-Nicks and Dr. G. Gibson was published in the Can. J. Zool, March 2013.
Whether it’s been stepping on stage to play a variety of leading ladies such as Dorothy Brock in “42nd Street” or Hodel in “Fiddler on the Roof”, singing in the backup choir for a Josh Groban and David Foster performance, working on industrials for Labatt’s A. Keith’s NS Brew. Tour or Island Farms Inc., hosting East Coast/Irish festivities as her character “Maritime Margaret”, or directing/ producing promotional films with a number of clean energy organizations such as The BC BioEnergy Network, the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, etc, Sarah Ann has been gaining momentum as a multi-faceted adaptable artist that’s not afraid of a challenge.
One of her favourite projects to date is “Shhh”, a short film that she line-produced alongside directors/producers/ vfx artists Shervin Shoghian (Tron, District 9, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc) and Freddy Chavez Olmos (Elysium, Tron, District 9, Twilight, etc) in association with Heinrich Beisheim (Head of Production at Means of Production Inc.- one of Canada’s top production service companies).
After viewing the film, Director Guillermo del Toro described “Shhh” as having “strong visuals and solid atmosphere.” ”Shhh” was screened globally in over 30 international film festivals, spanning across 6 countries, including France, United States, Japan, Mexico, Spain and Canada.
The team was honored to win Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Short at the oscar-qualifying 2012 Rhode Island International Film Festival in the U.S, Best Short Film at the 2012 Festival Internacional de Cine Puebla in Mexico, to be screened at the short film corner at Cannes International Film Festival, and to receive 5 nominations-winning Best Short Film and Best Production Design at the 2013 Leo Awards in Canada.
“Shhh” is paving the way for Canadian filmakers by being the first theatrical short released in Canada through Indiecan Entertainment, opening for “Grave Encounters 2”.
The team released the short online on vimeo in October 2013 and it was selected for vimeo staff picks on Halloween 2013. The team is currently leveraging their experience and exposure for a feature project. Sarah Ann is also currently in studio working on a Celtic EP with singer/songwriter/producer Murray Yates (Forty Foot Echo/Templar) and recently teamed up with Scoil Ghaeilge Vancouver to work on the song “Oh A Ghrá Mhín ” which will be included in the short film Madness. Madness received a $10 000 STORYHIVE grant from Telus and will be distributed on Optik Local
Sarah Ann is currently based in Vancouver BC. 202