peterborough’s greatest 100
in the performing arts
to celebrate peterborough’s centennial in 2005, market hall undertook a project to celebrate the accomplishments of peterborough area artists. we included performers, designers, playwrights, composers and artistic directors; anyone whose accomplishments are as a creative force in the performing arts.
a catalogue of names emerged and became known as “peterborough’s greatest 100 in the performing arts”.
who is on the list?
we considered artists who lived in or hailed from the peterborough area and who have accomplished great things in the performing arts. the final decisions for inclusion were made by our steering committee – and still could not be contained to 100 names. you will actually see 131 on this list. we do not claim that the final selections are by any means definitive; far from it. please come and talk to us if you have a name that does not appear on the list – we’d love to hear about it.
thanks to the many peterborough residents who submitted nominations and photographs.
thanks to those who advised us: gwen brown, sean eyre, geoff hewitson, jeff macklin, nora martyn, beth mcmaster, joanne mitchell-agar, james neufeld, randy read, anne ryan, barb scott, patti shaughnessy, june whiteman and rob winslow.
huge thanks also to louis taylor who designed our publicity and lazer graphics who printed it.
the market hall greatest 100 steering committee was karen august, ben bell, werner bergen, bill kimball, john wadland, charlie werger.
playwright, actor, director
Ainsworth, a veteran of the Peterborough Theatre Guild and St. James' Players, has directed, acted in and written a number of award winning plays. He is perhaps best known for Frozen Dreams, a play about the homeless he wrote and starred in, which garnered for him a 2002 Peterborough Civic Award.
The one-time frontman for heavy metal late '80s - early '90s hitmakers Skid Row, Bach grew up as Sebastian Bierk in Peterborough. Now living in the U.S., and continuing to record and play concerts with his own band, Bach has diversified into acting. Among other roles, he's played the title characters in both the Broadway production Jekyll and Hyde and a touring version of Jesus Christ Superstar and made regular appearances on TV's The Gilmour Girls.
Perhaps the most talented country performer to ever come out of Peterborough, Bailey's personal life was marred by alcohol and he died of a heart attack at 49, putting an abrupt end to a roller coaster career that brought a good deal of pleasure to an adoring following. An artist truly ahead of his time, at 16 he was on Cliff MacKays' Holiday Ranch show out of Toronto, appearing on radio and the fledgling TV format where he was starring in country videos before they were thought of as a commercial venture. On stage he had a tremendous presence and could reach notes others only dreamt of. He toured with Hank Snow, Faron Young and Charley Pride, among others, and was a friend of Ronnie Hawkins, who still claims that Bailey was one of the most underrated country artists in the country.
Musician (Pedal Steel, Dobro)
Widely recognized as one of Canada's finest pedal steel and dobro players, Barnes has taught music to several generations of Peterborough young people while supporting numerous area charities through his music. A performer for more than 50 years, Barnes currently tours around the world with the OPP Bear Hug Band.
Performance Artist, Actor, Writer
Now based in Toronto, Bateman's acclaimed solo performance work has been seen across Canada and parts of the U.S. In creating his performances, Bateman uses stand-up comedy, storytelling, song, and semi-fictional accounts of real life circumstances – including many references to growing up gay in Peterborough in the '60s and '70s. His 1993 one-man show, What Dreadful Things To Say About Someone Who Has Just Paid For My Lunch, was published by Ennismore's Ordinary Press.
Actor, Director, Writer, Musician
Dick's love of singing and music brought him to Peterborough Theatre Guild in 1969. In 1973 he began writing music and lyrics for many of Beth McMaster's plays for children and he acted, directed and did backstage work for the Guild for over thirty years. His wonderful piano skill was called upon for many rehearsals and productions. He served as President and chaired the Board.
Willie P. Bennett
Singer, Songwriter, Musician (Harmonica, Mandolin, Guitar)
Bennett was an important part of the 1970s folk music scene in Canada, alongside figures such as Bruce Cockburn and Stan Rogers, and moved to Peterborough in the late 90s. In 1996, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, a group named for Bennett's 1978 album, was formed to record a tribute album of Bennett's songs. Bennett's first subsequent album of new material, Heartstrings, won a Juno Award for Best Folk Music Recording.
Design, Special Effects
Bud Bethune joined Peterborough Theatre Guild soon after it was formed in the 19'60s. He was known not only for his skill in set design and construction and the making of challenging props, but also for creating great light and sound effects. Bethune served in numerous executive capacities with the Guild and is responsible for the very complete photographic record of its shows.
Organist, Choir Director
A prize-winning organist who has given recitals across Canada, Mexico and the US, Syd is best known as the founder and conductor of the Peterborough Singers, an 80-piece singing group that became nationally prominent when it placed 2nd in the CBC's 2004 national choral competition for mixed groups. He is also Director of the Ministry of Music at Murray St. Baptist Church and organist at Lakefield College School.
Singer, Songwriter, Actor
Bronson brings humour and wit to his musical and theatrical performances. His career highlights include the role of Koko in the Peterborough Theatre Guild's The Mikado, writing the words and music for The Paperbag Princess and Other Stories by R. Munsch which was performed in Canada, Europe and China and the penning of "Let the Deed Show", the official song of Sir Sandford Fleming College. He has appeared with Colleen Peterson, Sylvia Tyson and Valdy, has been a featured artist 11 times at the Festival of Lights, and continues to entertain throughout Ontario.
Brown's theatre involvement started with St. John's Players. In 1965, she directed the first play for the newly formed Peterborough Theatre Guild. Over the years Brown's work has received many awards. Her professional career includes adjudicating festivals and acting with Arbor Theatre. Her performances in Showplace's "Spring Tonic" are legendary. Perhaps her greatest contribution is coaching and encouraging young theatre enthusiasts.
Burton performed for years across Ontario as a member of Something Blue (1974 to 1988), the Keith Burton Band and The Tribute show, where she portrayed Patsy Cline. She has starred in several productions at Showplace Peterborough including Always...Patsy Cline and in a Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee tribute. Most recently she starred in Hony Tonk Angels. She has also toured extensively in recent years with musicals and has taken part in several Spring Tonic productions.
Born and raised in Peterborough, Carley is one of Canada's most successful writers of plays for stage and radio; his work has been produced across Canada and the United States, as well as in many countries around the world. He also is a prolific writer of radio plays, has been playwright in residence at the Stratford Festival, and was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Writing With Our Feet.
Martin B. Chenhall
Choir Director, Musician (Organ)
Chenhall played a leading role in Peterborough's music scene of the '20s and '30s. He was organist and choir director for St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, produced annual productions of operettas in the Grand Opera House, and directed the 70-member Peterborough Male Voice Choir which won renown across North America. In 1929 the choir placed 2nd at choral festival in Madison Square Gardens in New York City.
Born and raised in Peterborough, Brian studied music composition at the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto, with graduate degrees in both composition and musicology. He has been professor of music at McGill University in Montreal since 1972. A distinguished composer, he has written more than eighty works, including orchestral music, concertos, chamber music and works for solo instruments, which have been performed both in Canada and aboard.
Artistic Director, Musician (Oboe)
Born and educated in Peterborough, Cherney is an internationally known oboist and was founding artistic director of Soundstreams Canada in 1982. Now one of Canada's most important promoters of music by living Canadian and international composers, Soundstreams was awarded its second Lt. Governor's Award for the Arts in 2002. The first winner of the Chalmers National Award for outstanding contribution to Canadian music creativity, Cherney has been invested into the Order of Canada.
Over her career Cockshutt has designed costumes for nearly 90 professional theatre and dance productions, for many of which she also designed sets. Beginning with The Magic Circus Theatre in the mid-'80s Cockshutt has worked with numerous Peterborough and area collectives and companies, including 6 seasons as designer-in-residence for 4th Line Theatre, and most recently Westben Arts Festival (Campbellford) and The Cure Collective. A retrospective exhibition of her costumes was mounted by Peterborough's Artspace gallery in 1999.
Rock 'n' Roll Band
Originally called The Teen Lords, The Count Victors were Peterborough's first rock band to be nationally recognized. They toured throughout Ontario and the northern U.S. They made a number of recordings, including the local hit The Story of Bonnie, and their big hit, Peepin n Hidin which made the CHUM chart. The most popular and well known version of the group consisted of Terry Lathangue Top left , Freddy Munro bottom right , Bob Dixon botton left and Danny Harrison top right , who some say was the most talented singer/songwriter/guitarist this town has ever seen.
A much-loved fixture on the Peterborough entertainment scene for over 40 years, a testament to his popularity is the 18 years the Fred Coupland Dance Band spent as house band at the Rock Haven Motor Hotel. Coupland also gave graciously of his time and talent to entertain at area nursing homes and hospitals.
Bandleader, Musician (Saxophone)
A Peterborough native, Crary enlisted in WW II and was part of the Canadian Army Show, a musical corps which included Bobby Kinsman. He used to say that he "chased Hitler around Europe with a Saxaphone!". In addition to his popularity as a bandleader, Crary was the voice and radio personality of the Kawarthas as morning man on CHEX radio. He also hosted TV shows, such as CHEX TV Dance Party, and was responsible for numerous charitable campaigns, becoming one of the most widely admired public figures of his time.
Paul D. Crough
Actor, Singer, Songwriter, Dancer, Playwright
Crough has performed in more than 35 local shows. From 1994 to 1998 he appeared with the internationally acclaimed troupe Up With People in more than 15 countries, including the Atlanta Olympics, and he has been accepted as part of an international cast of 30 to perform at the World Expo this summer. His original music will be featured in the Irish musical Slainte to be staged at Showplace in November, 2005.
Now based in Los Angeles, Cullen's first theatrical roles were on the local stages of PCVS and Whispers Dinner Theatre in the mid-1980s. A truly multi-dimensional entertainer whose talents include music, mimicry and improvisation, his career in theatre and television has ranged from his part with Corky and The Juice Pigs to frequent appearances on The Tonight Show and playing one of the leads in the recent Canadian production of The Producers.
Playwright, Actor, Director
One of Canada's most prolific novelists, awarded the Governor General's Award for Literature, Davies's plays were frequently produced by the Peterborough theatre groups he was instrumental in founding in the '40s and '50s: the Peterborough Little Theatre and the Peterborough Summer Theatre. In addition to acting and directing, he also helped found the Coventry Singers, all while serving at various times as editorial page editor, editor and publisher of the Peterborough Examiner between 1942 and 1963.
Actor, Director, Set And Costume Designer
Davis's contribution to the theatre world of Peterborough ranged from designing exquisite medieval costumes, beautiful sets and set decoration to inspired play direction and many memorable acting roles. He taught his set and prop techniques to many newcomers. He designed the set for the Peterborough Theatre Guild's first play, Ah Wilderness!, which won the award for best visual play in the Eastern Ontario Drama League's 3 Act Festival. Davis, a charter member of the Peterborough Theatre Guild, worked in the 19'50s with the Knox Players and the Peterborough Little Theatre, two of the groups that joined to form the Peterborough Theatre Guild.
Dino and The Capris
Rock 'n' roll Band
One of Peterborough's most popular and long lasting rock bands. In the sixties the Capris performed in a show at the Peterborough Memorial Centre that included former Beatle Pete Best and the Undertakers. The group performed on and off with different lineups until the late '70s. The version pictured is (left to right) Ian Hully (Guitar), John Robertson (Drums), Gary Warriner (Bass), John Barnes (Guitar) and seated - Paul (Dino) DeNoble (Vocals). Ian Hully, who toured Canada as a guitar player for Jack Bailey, was an especially well-respected but underrated musician. He formed his first local band the Satellites in 1963, moved to Montreal in the late '60s where he played with the group the First Amendment that toured the US and Canada, and eventually returned to Peterborough where he now lives.
Singer, Songwriter, Musician (Guitar, Mandolin, Fiddle, Piano, Organ)
Driedger came to Peterborough in the mid-'70s and formed The CeeDee's. Throughout the '80s the trio was a critically acclaimed part of Toronto's new wave rock scene, while maintaining their status as house band for Peterborough's underground art scene. When the American poet Allen Ginsberg came to Toronto and needed a back-up band, The CeeDee's were it. Since moving back to Peterborough in 1989 Driedger has performed in, or provided original music for, at least one local theatre or modern dance event every year, and contributed to musical acts ranging from a mandolin orchestra to choral, country, and cajun groups.
Greg Roy (drums, percussion, arranger), Beau Dixon (bass, keyboards), Chet Singh (vocals). Formed in 2000, Dub Trinity performs a style of reggae, with influences from other strains of world music, particularly aimed at supporting dub poetry. Singh vocalizes his politically-charged poems over the bass-heavy rhythms put down by Roy and Dixon. As a proponent of dub poetry in the early '80s with the Peterborough band One Mind, Singh has always been at the forefront of the movement, alongside more recognized artists like Lillian Allen. Dub Trinity has acquired an international reputation, having released a CD and played as the house band for the most recent International Dub Poetry Festival in Toronto. Apart from Dub Trinity, each member has ongoing projects. Roy is a versatile percussionist in Caribbean, African and Middle-Eastern Rhythms; Singh is a Creative Director of the Dub Poets Collective; and Beau Dixon leads his own band and acts with various professional theatre companies, including 4th Line Theatre and Arbor Theatre.
Washboard Hank Fisher
Singer, Songwriter, Musician (Guitar, Washboard, Home-Made Instruments)
Descended from a long line of inventors, Fisher entertains with his original songs (which make listeners laugh and think at the same time) and his one-man band, playing guitar, washboard, homemade tuba and various noisemakers attached to his head and body. After many years with Rev. Ken and The Lost Followers, Hank's career has ranged from appearances on Mr. Dressup building instruments to providing music for movies and accompanying other acts, such as Fred Eaglesmith, all over North America.
A pioneer in music education in Peterborough schools for more than 30 years, Ford was the founder and conductor of three innovative ensembles: the New Horizons Band, for seniors; the Kawartha Wind Symphony, consisting of 40 adult musicians; and the Starfire Band, a group of local Grade 7 to OAC students.
David and Catharine Gallop
The Gallops were founders and directors of the English Country Dancers in 1978. They were not content merely to dance. Among the group's accomplishments were the staging of original theatrical performances that drew on diverse elements of Peterborough's dance, theatre and music scenes. Catharine had a passion for dance dating back to schooldays in England and performed throughout Ontario and the U.S. David was also an actor and singer/musician. He performed in many local musical and theatrical events and created original literary and musical entertainments, including lyrics for the Peterborough Theatre Guild's Pip.
Ray brought many profession skills to the Peterborough Theatre Guild. For many years he was the lighting designer and operator for the Peterborough Theatre Guild and for many other events and venues throughout the city, especially for skating carnivals. He went on to establish the lighting system at the Peterborough Theatre Guild. Ray was always generous with advice and his time.
Conductor, Music Educator
Rupert Glidden was musical director of the 57th Regiment Band, which became one of the best in Canada. He founded the Peterborough Conservatory of Music in 1905 (closed in 1931 due to the Depression) and taught thousands of Peterborough children. He also organized the Peterborough Conservatory Orchestra, the Conservatory Madrigal Club, and other musical clubs, making Peterborough a major musical centre in Ontario and Canada.
Agnes Logan Green
Nationally renowned, Green began playing the piano at age four and before she was 12 had played in Toronto. When she won five categories at a festival in Toronto open to all of Canada, a special medal was struck for the feat. She was a noted Bach interpreter, gave many recitals at Massey Hall and Eaton Auditorium and played a series of recitals on the CBC national network. She gave her last public concert at St. John's Anglican Church in 1981 when she was 74.
One of Canada's most prominent lighting designers, Guinand has won and been nominated for numerous awards. The companies and theatres she has worked for include Stratford Festival, Manitoba Theatre, Citadel Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage , Théâtre Français de Toronto, Vancouver Playhouse, Soulpepper and the Canadian Opera Company.
Songwriter, Musician (Guitar), Recording Engineer
Haggarty's career has included a stint as lead guitarist for Ronnie Hawkins' band and time spent in Nashville, where he worked with such artists as Shania Twain. He was lead guitarist for The Family Brown which played with country entertainers such as k.d. Lang and Ian Tyson. He is now the owner of Haggarty Sound Studios in Peterborough.
Singer, Songwriter, Musician (Guitar)
Toronto's loss was Peterborough's gain when Hall moved here, having already established himself, beginning in the mid-'70s with his band The Continental Drift, as the leading figure on the wildest fringes of Canada's folk-rock scene. Hall continues to make new recordings and tour from his Peterborough base. He is also waiting for another shot at performing in local theatre, having got the acting bug when he played in Arbor Theatre's Ubu The Barbarian which, Hall regrets, closed after just one and a half performances.
One of Canada's greatest ballerinas, it was in 1966, at the age of ten, while living in Peterborough, that Hart says she was inspired by Veronica Tennant's dancing, as Juliet, in a televised performance of Romeo and Juliet by the National Ballet of Canada, to pursue dance. After her family moved from the city in 1970 Hart began the serious training that would lead to her winning international awards as a principal dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, a position that lasted from the mid 1970s until just one year ago. Hart is a Companion of the Order of Canada and received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award to recognize her lifetime achievement in the performing arts.
Harrington was born in Peterborough in 1962. During a 21-year career with the National Ballet Of Canada and as a frequent international guest artist, he established himself as one of the leading Canadian ballet artists of his generation. During his long career he enjoyed particularly successful partnerships not only with NBC's Karen Kain, but also outside the company with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Evelyn Hart. Harrington was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000.
Rompin Ronnie Hawkins
Singer, Songwriter, Bandleader
A true rock 'n' roll legend, the Arkansas-born Hawkins has for many years lived on Stoney Lake north of Peterborough. Made famous by his recording of Mary Lou in 1959, as well as Who Do You Love, Bo Diddley and Forty Days, Hawkins has also become an actor, having hosted his own television show (Honky Tonk) in the early '80s and appeared in such films as Heaven's Gate with Kris Kristofferson. A member of the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, Hawkins has nurtured three generations of Canadian rockers, beginning in the early '60s with The Band and continuing to the present as he continues to mentor Peterborough-based musicians such as The Weber Brothers.
Drew Hayden Taylor
One of Canada's leading Native dramatists, Hayden-Taylor is also a prolific journalist and screenwriter. Since a stint as Playwright-In-Residence for Toronto's Native Earth Performing Arts in the late 19'80s (where he was Artistic Director from 1994 to 1997), Hayden-Taylor's plays have been produced across Canada and the US, and as far afield as Germany, garnering such prestigious awards as the Chalmers, a Dora Mavor Moore, and the Canadian Authors Award for Drama.
Musician (Guitar), Singer
Henderson was a fixture on the Peterborough entertainment scene for more than forty years. His career represented, in many ways, a history of musical entertainment in Peterborough. From his early days as part of such groups as The Sonics and The Emeralds to his later work at such venerable area landmarks as the Ship and Shore, the Commercial and the Montreal House, Joe charmed audiences with his talent and personality. He was one of the first artists signed to play the Havelock Jamboree and shared stages with a remarkable list of notables, including Ronnie Hawkins, Merle Haggard and Colleen Peterson.
Since the late '80s the trio of Alan Black (drums, harmonica), Rick Fines (guitars) and Gary Peeples (guitars) has taken its own blend of rural blues and contemporary songwriting to audiences from the Mississippi Delta to the Mackenzie Delta. Named for the creek that flows through the city, Jackson Delta has performed at virtually every important folk, jazz and blues festival across the country and been nominated for 2 Juno awards. These days the members can be seen more often performing individually. Black and Peeples front their own outfits and Fines continues to tour extensively. He recently won the blues category of the International Songwriting Competition and is a two-time MapleBlues Award winner for Acoustic Act of
Conductor, Composer, Musician (Organ)
An Oxford Organ Scholar, Jackson came to Peterborough as organist of St. John's Anglican Church and involved himself in many aspects of the city's musical life throughout the 19'70s. He conducted the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, wrote the scores for two musicals at the Peterborough Theatre Guild, and played organ for several oratorios performed at local churches. He is presently conductor of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Orchestra and Pops conductor of Orchestra London Canada.
James is a choreographer nationally renowned for creating multi-disciplinary dance works in unconventional locations. He was first seen in Peterborough in 1989 with a dance work co-commissioned by Peterborough's Artspace and Toronto's Harbourfront Centre. In 2000 he came to the city to collaborate with local artists on the creation of a new work – subsequently presented in Toronto - and in 2002 he moved to a farm on the Indian River. Since then he has run a number of local community youth art projects and created two new works, most recently for the Peterborough Dance Collective.
Bandleader, Musician (Saxophone)
Kinsman is perhaps best known locally for his 25-year association with Club Aragon (now Trentwinds), leading the house band. He and his band were also favourites during the days of the Peterborough Arts and Water Festival from 1970 to 1976. Kinsman started out as a sax player and bandleader in the Niagara Peninsula, playing so often around the province that by the time he had moved to Peterborough after WW II, he had played just about every pavilion and dance hall within 50 miles of the city at least once.
An extremely gifted musician, Kopac was music director of the Peterborough Symphony from 1987 to 1999, a period in which the PSO grew in size and playing ability, thanks in large part to his formidable talents. He brought his musical convictions with him from his native Poland, where he was a conductor of several orchestras and operas. A recipient of the prestigious Heinz Unger conducting award in Canada, Kopac was recognized as an important contributor to the musical life of our country.
Lang has had great artistic success as a composer and musician in a variety of pursuits. Before moving to Peterborough in the late 1980s he did everything from compose and play the original score for a renowned National Ballet of Canada production, The Blue Snake, to playing keyboards for the influential rock band Rough Trade. Since moving to Peterborough he has continued to create original music for dance and theatre, both locally and in Toronto, and create music for film and television, for which he has won a Gemini Award.
Singers, Songwriters, Musicians, Dancers
From childhood and through their teenage years, the Lakefield-based Leahy family performed at fairs and festivals throughout Canada. After a brief hiatus, Leahy formed in 1996 and took the world by storm with their unique sound and energy-packed performances in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. They soon toured with Shania Twain and have created three albums, won three Juno Awards, and can boast of international fan clubs and musical fame. All this keeps them in high demand, but has not altered their down home approach to life and close ties to home. Presently performing are Siobheann, Donnell, Maria, Frank, Agnes, Doug, Erin, and Angus. The most recent addition to the area's fiddling talent is Natalie McMaster, who has recently moved to the area and tours as a duet with husband Donnell Leahy.
A jazz and gospel singer of international fame, Lee has sung for some of the great bands, including Count Basie and Duke Ellington, and shared her talent and served countless charities in the area since moving here in 1959. She has appeared on network television, stage and in films, and founded the Voices For Life Choir.
Ballet Dancer, Artistic Director
Originally from Vancouver, Marquita Lester danced with the National Ballet of Canada for 2 years before moving to Peterborough with husband Charles to establish the Lester School of Dance, the preeminent dance school in the city through the 1970s. An accomplished dancer, it was in artistic direction where Lester eventually excelled, beginning with Alberta Ballet, where she was Assistant to the Artistic Director, and then the prestigious Ballet B.C., where she was appointed Associate Artistic Director in 1996.
Larry Evan Lewis
Director, Dramaturge, Actor
Lewis graduated from Trent University in 1977 and during his time in Peterborough directed and acted for several Theatre Trent and Peterborough Theatre Guild productions. While Lewis went on to act professionally in theatre and many films, he had his biggest effect on Canadian theatre as a director of plays by Native authors. Before Lewis died in 1995, he had become the definitive director of Cree writer Tomson Highway's plays, including The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Ought to Move to Kapuskasing.
Musician, Playwright, Puppeteer, Singer, Songwriter, Poet
Martin, who moved to the Kendal area in 1985 from London, Ont, was a prolific and talented artist who did not seek fame. It found him near the end of his life – he died in 1995 – when he portrayed an accordion-playing clown in the 4th Line Theatre's The Great Farini. While always a captivating performer, his talents, particularly as a writer of songs and theatre had the greatest influence on Peterborough artists; a number of his scripts have been staged here and a tribute recording of his songs was issued in1997.
Ordained just four years ago, Massel sees his second career as a parish priest in Peterborough as an expansion of a highly successful 20-year professional musical career. A lyric baritone, he took to the international stage in a range of roles at venues which included Stratford, Broadway, Chicago's Lyric Theatre, the Old Vic, Vienna, Prague and Budapest, including more than 2,000 appearances in the title role in Phantom of the Opera in its first five-year run in Toronto.
Max Mouse & the Gorillas
Rock 'n Roll Band
Born out of the same stew of musicians and bands that produced Prairie Oyster, the Gorillas took country music in a more roots-rock-reggae direction. From the late 1970s to the mid-80s, the band was busy, filling bars and dance floors from coast to coast, receiving as much recognition for the publicity stunts dreamed up by manager Ron Gaskin as for the music. Individually the members have continued to prosper and still live in the area, including: leader Cris Cuddy who continues to play concerts and record, in both Canada and Nashville; keyboard (and mellotron) player George Bertok who recently contributed a song to a Procul Harum tribute CD; bassist J. P. Hovercraft who plays regularly with Joe Hall and The Continental Drift; and drummer Jim Leslie, who plays with Buzz Thompson's Downtown Sound; guitarists Bobby Watson and Buzz Thompson; and pedal steel player Dennis Delorme, who is a founding member of Prairie Oyster, still one of Canada's top country acts. The Oyster was formed in Peterborough in the mid-'70s when Delorme, playing with yet another band (not Max Mouse) in a local bar, got together with a few musicians playing at another venue. He has lived in Peterborough ever since and can be seen around town as part of the Otonabee River Boys, a hillbilly/bluegrass band.
Songwriter, Musician (Guitar), Singer
Indie-rock stalwart John Maxwell has been fronting rock bands for more than a dozen years, including Gifthorse, Triphammer and his current and most successful outfit Electrashine, who despite a tour schedule that takes them across the U.S. and Canada, is still based in Peterborough. In between these projects he has even written songs for various movies and released some tunes under his own name.
Musician (Trombone), Composer
Born in London, Ontario, but now living in Peterborough, McConnell has been performing since the mid-1960s. For 32 years leader of the internationally renowned Boss Brass, and since 1997 leader of his own Tentet, McConnell has received many awards, including three Grammy's and the Order of Canada.
Eldon Stewart "Stu" McCue
Stu McCue has been performing old-time country music in the area for over 40 years. Born and raised in the Anishnaabe community of Curve Lake, this household name was dubbed the "King of Downtown" for his countless appearances in local nightspots both on his own, with a variety of other performers or with his band Wildwind. In addition to playing music McCue is also an Anishnaabe language instructor in Burleigh Falls.
Since her career began, of the 36 plays McMaster has written, mostly for children, many have been produced by the Peterborough Theatre Guild and most have been published. They have been produced across Canada, in the U.S., in New Zealand and in Britain and excerpts from many have been used in school texts. The recipient of numerous awards for her writing and community service work, since 1999 McMaster has written "Spring Tonic".
On top of teaching music at Kenner Collegiate and acting as choirmaster and organist at Grace United Church, Peterborough native Barb Monahan conducts the Peterborough Singers Pop Ensemble, an 18-voice subset of the main choir. She recently released a CD of her own compositions, A Singer's Prayer, and continues to perform with the Singers and as a soloist.
Susan Newman and Rob Fortin
Singers, Songwriters, Actors
Partners in life and often in art, Newman and Fortin have made a specialty of writing original music and lyrics for – and performing in – a wide variety of professional theatre, dance and musical productions since moving to Peterborough in the mid-'70s. They met while working in summer theatre and, while they have been a part of numerous important musical groups (beginning with the '70s bar circuit duo rio Touchwood, see photo), it is their work in theatre where they have made the biggest mark, particularly in the '80s and '90s with social-activist groups like the Rehearsal In Progress collective and Ground Zero Productions, and then seven seasons as actors, musicians and musical directors with 4th Line Theatre. Susan is currently part of the multi-disciplinary group The Cure Collective.
Newnham began his musical career as a trombonist, but soon decided that conducting was where his true passion lay. Since then, he has guest-conducted many orchestras in Europe, Korea and Canada. He won the "Best Conductor Award" at the International Workshop for Operatic Conductors in 1998. Newnham is at present Music Director of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, the Kawartha Youth Orchestra and the Niagara Youth Orchestra.
Musician (Bassist), Composer, Producer
Originally from Peterborough, Novotny is one of Canada's foremost jazz bass players, with 30 years of experience, including a stint at Peterborough's late-'70s jazz club, Peppers, with the Brian Browne Trio. He creates music for television, films and commercials, has three Juno-nominated CDs and one Juno winner, and has composed for such artists as Junior Mance, Joanne Brackeen, Carol Welsman, Holly Cole, Molly Johnson and Don Thompson.
An actor in England after WW II, Nunn moved to Toronto and performed in the Stratford Festival, Shaw festival and off-Broadway to fabulous reviews. Out of the performances in Stratford grew a group known as the Canadian Players, which took plays on the road to small towns across Canada and the US. He eventually retired to the Lakefield and Peterborough area where he became a frequent actor in community theatre and taught Shakespeare to adults. The theatre at the former St. Peter's Elementary School has been named in his honour.
An important part of Peterborough's professional theatre scene for over 15 years, Oakley has appeared in 15 4th Line Theatre productions, also acting for Arbor Theatre, New Stages, the 24 Hour Project and others. He has directed numerous plays, served a year as artistic director of the Market Hall Young Players, and is noted for his work in improvisation, an area in which he has created and directed a series of improv soap operas in venues ranging from small theatres to nightclubs. Phil is also leading two weeks of Drama Camps and Workshops at Market Hall.
Musician (Clarinet, Saxophone)
Oosterbroek began his musical career as a member of the Canadian Air Force Band. He went on to become a successful freelance musician in Toronto and a member of the RCMP band and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. Oosterbroek also taught high school music at TASS and Lindsay Collegiate, and conducted the Peterborough Concert Band. He continues to play in many local ensembles, including the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra and the Kawartha Wind Symphony.
An occasional contributor to plays at the Peterborough Theatre Guild and Gilbert and Sullivan productions at Trent University, where he was a professor of philosophy, Orenstein's main passion was the establishment of a permanent professional theatre company in the city that would create new theatre unique to the area using local professional talent, a goal that would eventually be fulfilled by one of his protégés, Rob Winslow, who got his first acting job with Orenstein's Magic Circus Theatre in the late '70s. While The Magic Circus Theatre did not last long, due to Orenstein's untimely death in 1990, in its heyday the company produced unique and original work, drawing on everything from contemporary Canadian drama to Shakespeare and Greek classics. In the 19'80s, the company twice travelled to Greece and, during that decade, toured his productions around Ontario.
Musician (Bassist), Sound and Recording Technician
A native of Port Hope, Osborn moved to Peterborough after attending Trent U in the early '70s. As a musician he has played with many bands, though it is his creative work in the studio that has brought him the most recognition, composing numerous works for multi-media performance and a dozen eclectic solo projects under the name Splinter. As an audio engineer he has worked with Blue Rodeo, Hank Snow and The Silver Hearts and as co-founder of Backlash Projects, an independent 'recording community', he has enabled over 175 local music recordings since 1993.
A musician who began his career with the Salvation Army bands, Parnell joined the Peterborough Citizens Band in 1949 and became its conductor a year later. For more than 60 years, he was an integral member of the Peterborough Concert Band. He also served as president of the Peterborough Federation of Musicians for 19 years.
The music of Lakefield native Colleen Peterson defies easy classification, moving freely between country, folk, blues, jazz, and pop. She won a Juno in 1977 as Most Promising female vocalist, and in 1991 her song, No Pain, No Gain, was the top Canadian country song. At the time of her death in 1996 Peterson was a member of the group Quartette, which won Vocal Collaboration of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards. Colleen Peterson was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1995.
Piano, Music Director
A highly versatile pianist, Phillips's range of accomplishments includes working as music director for six years for Second City in Toronto to playing keyboards for blues groups such as The Rick Fines Trio, rock groups such as Something Blue and numerous jazz groups, such as the Kawartha Jazz Ensemble and accompanying singer Ada Lee.
Quarrie has had a prolific directing and acting career, bridging the worlds of amateur and professional theatre. She has worked with her own company, which she has taken to festivals around the world, as well as Peterborough Theatre Guild, 4th Line Theatre, New Stages, R. Murray Schafer's Patria productions and others.
Peterborough-born, Rahmel authored 60 educational radio plays for children for CBC and CBS. They were broadcast in parts of Europe as well as North America, and a number of them received CBC awards. She was an important member of Peterborough Little Theatre, one of the groups that amalgamated to become Peterborough Theatre Guild in 1964. Rahmel directed many plays for PTG, including the very first production, Asleep of Prisoners, held in the burned out church that would become the PTG's Guildhall.
Reverend Ken Ramsden
Singer, Songwriter, Musician (Guitar, Fiddle, Mandolin)
Peterborough-born and raised, Ramsden was busking around North America before becoming frontman for the musical comedy showband Reverend Ken and the Lost Followers in the 19'70s and '80s. The band played a decade of Wednesday nights at the Red Dog Tavern, made numerous television appearances, including the Tommy Hunter Show, and represented Peterborough at Expo '86. Ramsden was ticketed for placing posters on Peterborough telephone poles in 1988, fought the charge for five years, and in 1993 won the right to poster in a 9-0 judgment at the Supreme Court. Downtown poster kiosks and event boards were erected by the City as a result. Since 1991 he has been a fiddle player and songwriter in the Celtic group Freshwater Trade.
A long way from acting in plays at Queen Mary Public School and Crestwood Secondary, Ranney is now part of the Shaw Festival's core company of actors. Her big break came in Anne of Green Gables at the Charlottetown Festival, and she has since performed in many of Canada's leading theatres, picking up a 2002 Dora Award on the way. Ranney can be seen in Peterborough when she returns to perform in benefits for New Stages Theatre Co.
Raised in Peterborough, Rawson is now an influential member of the Nashville songwriting community and divides his time between the two cities. He has had over 250 songs recorded by artists such as Anne Murray, Tanya Tucker, Allanah Myles and Reba McEntire and he is a two-time award winner of Canadian Country Music Awards. Also a guitar player, he played in Peterborough's very first rock band, The Sonics, and went on to play in bands backing up many country stars, including Tommy Hunter, Ronnie Prophet, Eddie Eastman, and Colleen Peterson.
As founder and artistic director of Peterborough's New Stages Theatre Co. Read is fulfilling his dream of establishing a top notch professional theatre company in his hometown. Read has acted for many of Toronto's best theatres and was part of the repertory company directed and managed by Robin Phillips at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre before becoming casting director and assistant to the director at the Canadian Stage Company in Toronto.
Son of Tim Rowat, Graham has come a long way since he first caught the acting bug as a student at Peterborough Collegiate in the late '80s. His baritone voice keeps him steadily working across the continent, from the Shaw Festival to Broadway. His 3-year stint in the North American touring cast of Les Miserables included the first ever appearance of a Broadway show in China.
Actor, Director, Set Designer; Singer, Songwriter, Musician
Rowat moved from marching band to folk music to rock and roll and around and through. He was with Peter's Half Dozen, was in The Mikado, and directed Susanna. He has been instrumental in the success of numerous shows in a variety of roles and a variety of venues. He continues nonstop and this summer can be found in R. Murray Schaefer's The Enchanted Forest. Rowat was a founding member of Tanglefoot in 1980 with Joe Grant and Bob Wagar. At first it was a 3-piece group teaching Canadian history through song and got to be known by some for "lusty interpretations" of Canadian folk music. Emphasis later shifted to songwriting in Canadian traditions with the same energy in performance. Tanglefoot toured Canada, the U.S., and Britain. Rowat remained with the troupe until 1988 and today, as a quintet with all new members, Tanglefoot still performs internationally.
Peterborough-raised Rubinoff has performed internationally as a soloist and chamber musician, and has recorded two CDs. At present, he is musical director at Donway Covenant United Church in Toronto. He also teaches private lessons, offers master classes, runs a music program for children and keeps up a demanding performance schedule, including a solo appearance this past season with the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra.
Brought up in Peterborough (Evelyn Hart was once her babysitter), Ryan has been the most consistently creative modern choreographer in the city since returning here to live in the early '90s. In that time she has created more than 20 dances, either as solos danced by herself or small group works, and danced in many more. Ryan has been artistic director for a number of dance projects, including Bare Essentials, a professional presenting series for choreographers to show works-in-progress.
Singer, Songwriter, Musician (Guitar)
Armed with a three-octave voice, this Millbrook born singer/songwriter has charmed audiences in Canada, Europe, Australia and the U.S., touring with the likes of Hawksley Workman and Steve Earle. A born performer, she gave her first performance at two, performed as a teen at Millbrook's Give A Hoot Cafe open stage and recorded her first album at 16. She now has four albums to her credit, including her first international release, "Unlikely Emergency".
R. Murray Schafer
R. Murray Schafer, of Indian River, has received international acclaim for his achievements as a composer, educator, environmentalist, writer, visual artist and provocateur since his career began in the late '50s. Schafer moved to the Peterborough area in the late '80s when he staged one of his large-scale outdoor music-theatre works, The Greatest Show, in Del Crary Park, drawing on the talents of dozens of local actors, musicians and technicians. Since then he has continued to use the forests, lakes and artists of the area to stage his epic environmental spectacles.
Musician (Organ, Timpani), Choir Director
Ever since her arrival in 1969, Scott has been a catalyst in the musical life of Peterborough. In addition to her great influence as a teacher, she has been a much in demand accompanist, timpanist for the Peterborough Symphony, served as organist and choir director for numerous area churches, conducted steel bands, directed some of the city's best choral groups, including the Bonachord Men's Chorus and Jubilaires Women's Chorus, and directed the Kawartha Lakes Music Camp for 12 years.
Vaudeville-Dramatist, Singer, Dancer
Born in 1870, the rubber-faced Simons was one of the leading comics on the Vaudeville circuit, performing on Broadway and frequently touring Canada and the United States. At the height of his career, Simons lived and worked in New York, but always made it home to Peterborough in the off- season to fish and perform, usually at either the Bradburn Opera House or Grand Opera House.
Director, Actor, Writer, Dramaturge
Spicer has worked in professional theatre in Peterborough and across Canada for over 20 years. In the 1980s, she was with the Magic Circus Theatre and Rehearsal In Progress, a collective which produced plays about labour history. In the 1990s she worked with Ground Zero theatre as well as 4th Line Theatre as an actor and director. Currently she is directing R. Murray Schafer's The Enchanted Forest and is a member of the multi-disciplinary group The Cure Collective.
Performer, Choreographer, Writer
Story is known best for creating original performance works incorporating dance, theatre and performance art, often in collaboration with other artists. In addition to her own work, since moving to Peterborough in 1987 from her native St. John's, she has worked as an actor, writer and choreographer for many professional theatre and dance groups, both locally and in Toronto, including eight years with 4th Line Theatre, and presently the multi-disciplinary ensemble, The Cure Collective.
Eva and Witold Swoboda
Co-founders of the Academia Musica, these immensely talented and active musicians came to Peterborough in 1998. Graduates of the Cracow Academy of Music in Poland, they enjoyed successful careers performing in Canada as well as abroad. They established the Academia to provide students with a high standard of instruction in string playing, piano, music theory, history, ear training and performance. Many of their students play in the newly formed Kawartha Youth Orchestra.
Hailing from Curve Lake, Taylor began her acting career later in life and appeared in several CBC and BBC television series and films, including many episodes of Spirit Bay. Not only a renowned actor, Gladys was a respected elder in the Curve Lake community and champion of her Anishnaabe language. Revered as a spiritual and artistic leader, Gladys remains an inspiration to First Nations actors.
During her time in Peterborough, 1993-2003, Thomas was one of the city's most original contemporary dance artists. Trained in Toronto, she did not bloom as a choreographer until she moved to Peterborough, eventually creating a surprising new work, usually danced by herself, every year, in addition to occasionally performing in others' work. She is currently in New York City continuing her training, and dancing for a variety of independent choreographers.
Brian "Buzz" Thompson
Musician (Guitar, Harmonica), Singer, Songwriter
Known as Peterborough's Mr. Soul, Thompson has spent more than 40 years, playing as a solo act and in bands all over Canada and the U.S. and recording with a who's who of rock and country greats. While Thompson's trademark primal scream and R&B guitar work have propelled his own career, since 1990 he has also been Ronnie Hawkins' main guitar player, the longest unbroken stint of any musician in Hawkins' band.
Three Days Grace
Heavy Rock Band
Adam Gontier (vocals, guitar), Brad Walst (bass), and Neil Sanderson (drums). Originally from Norwood, where they were a 5-piece known as Groundswell, Three Days Grace blasted onto the world stage with their mega-hit, "(I Hate) Everything About You" in 2003. They recently came off a tour with Velvet Revolver and are currently working on their second album.
Actor, Director, Producer, Set Designer
This year marks the 40th year Tye has been involved in theatre, the last 25 in Peterborough. He has worked on over 170 productions and received many awards for his design and directing. While most of his work has been with the Peterborough Theatre Guild, he was also the founding artistic director for Whispers Dinner Theatre, where he directed 14 plays in a two-year period, and worked professionally for Arbor Theatre (set building) and Kawartha Summer Theatre (set design).
Born in 1886 as Lavina Hallihan, Ward was world-renowned as a lyric soprano. She studied singing with the Sisters of St. Joseph, joined the Peterborough Amateur Opera Company and, in 1910, won the Earl Grey Trophy in Toronto. Governor General Grey was so impressed that a command performance was given in Peterborough. Ward went on to study in England and appeared at Covent Garden in London and Opera Comique in Paris, singing with the world's greatest tenor at the time, John McCormick.
Warren's rise in films, which includes more than a dozen films since 2001 when she starred in Planet of the Apes and Driven, followed an equally successful modeling career, prior to which she was a 3-time Canadian national synchronized swimming champion.
Watson has been a fixture on the Peterborough music scene since the '60s when he was a part of one of the city's early rock groups The Hangmen, with fellow local-legend Buzz Thompson. In the '70s he was part of Max Mouse and The Gorillas among others. For years Bobby pursued his musical career in both Peterborough and Memphis, Tennessee. A recent tribute to Watson included no fewer than 30 prominent musicians, attesting to the respect with which he is regarded.
Musician (Keyboard, Guitar), Composer, Producer
A native of Peterborough, Wells has gone from being the organist at Murray Street Baptist Church and a member of the Peterborough Concert Band to being a major player on the U.S. music scene. Now based in Los Angeles, he has performed on CDs by Jeff Black and Alannah Myles, and written for such artists as Aerosmith and k.d. lang.
Whiteman has delighted audiences for over 50 years, beginning in Montreal in the 1940s with singing in nightclubs and on radio. It wasn't until she moved to Peterborough in 1963 that she got into acting. She has since appeared in more than 18 plays, including five musicals, mostly for Peterborough Theatre Guild. In 1999 and 2000 she began doing professional work in Toronto - three movies and a commercial that was voted best commercial of the year.
Williamson is a native of Texas and received his bachelor and masters degrees while studying trumpet at North Texas State University, a prominent school for jazz studies in North America. His professional career has included teaching music at both secondary and college levels, and leading several ensembles. He has played with the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra and is the founder and director of the Kawartha Jazz Ensemble.
Wilson has been acting and directing in Peterborough since 1966. Her early work was at Trent University in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. She has played many of the major roles in Peterborough Theatre Guild productions, twice winning best actress award in Eastern Ontario Drama League festivals. She has directed numerous Guild plays, as well as several "Spring Tonic" shows, and has worked professionally with Kawartha Summer Theatre and Arbor Theatre.
Director, Actor, Writer
Winslow is a leading Canadian theatre artist, having performed in theatres across Canada, the U.S. and Britain since 1982. From the late 1970s to the early 1990s he played a part in almost every independent and professional theatre enterprise in the city, including The Magic Circus Theatre, City Stage, Rehearsal In Progress, The Union Theatre and the improvisational theatre project East City Productions. A native of Millbrook, he established the outdoor 4th Line Theatre on his family farm there in 1992 and since then has directed the majority of the productions, performed in many, and written or co-written twelve.
Singer, Songwriter, Musician (Guitar, Harmonica)
Every list wants its bonus and ours goes to Neil Young. His childhood in Omemee is celebrated in his song, Helpless, and in Jimmy McDonaugh's biography, Shakey (Random House, 2002), where Neil says, "In some fantasy world, I think, 'Okay, I can go back there.'...It's funny, maybe because I'm getting older, I feel a kind of pulling from the area where I remember things as a kid."