Established by Aubrey Hanson in 1983, the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame, aims to recognize all those who have made a significant contribution to country music in the province.
Past inductees include Don Messer (1983), Mavis O’Donnell (1988), Joan Kennedy (1992) and Joey Knight (1993). The 2012 inductees include Georges Hebert, Carson Leighton, Bonnie Reardon, George LeBlanc and Ron Goodwin.
In addition to welcoming these five new members, the 2012 ceremonies have been expanded into a five-day celebration of music at venues across Riverview and Moncton. In addition to the Gala Ceremony that will take place at the Coverdale Recreation Centre in Riverview, music will be featured at non-traditional venues such as the popular Homestead Restaurant on Coverdale Road. and Sobeys on Findlay Boulevard.
Current New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame president is renowned fiddler Ivan Hicks, a celebrated musician in New Brunswick for the past 60plus years who performs with his wife Vivian. Ivan has 15 albums to his credit and has performed with Mark O’Connor and Ned Landry. He is the co-founder and director of the Maritimes Fiddlers Association and a Hall of Fame inductee in both the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Country Music Halls of Fame.
After six and a half decades, while he and Vivian have arguably watched countless others retire, music remains a burning passion for both Ivan and Vivian. He told The Times & Transcript that they have slowed down their pace somewhat although anticipates that the love of playing will never truly fade.
‘We are definitely slowing down some,’ Hicks said of the pace of life these days. ‘We don’t travel like we used to. We still both love playing but are just being a little more selective about what we are taking on.’ Hicks came into this role as president of the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame through casual conversation with its founder, Aubrey Hanson. Hicks said that he is fully committed to living up to the idea behind the Country Music Hall of Fame, a tradition that has proven to be a significant success over almost three decades.
‘Aubrey originally wanted to honour those folks from New Brunswick who played country music and made contributions to the genre. Ultimately, Aubrey wanted to have a way to help promote those artists and help keep country music alive in the province,’ Hicks said.
‘Vivian and I had a deep interest in what Aubrey had established for the musicians of the province.
One of the first suggestions we had made was to move the celebration to different parts of the province year after year to make it something that represented musicians from all corners of the province.’ Ivan said that this week’s festivities mark only the second time that the Hall of Fame celebrations have been held in Riverview. The first time was in 1996. The 2013 edition will move down the road to Sussex.
Hicks said that while he expects the banquet and induction ceremony will be a celebration unto itself, the gala concert is something that both music fans as well as the musicians will be greatly anticipating come Saturday night.
‘This year’s concert will be very special in the respect that of all the years that the concert has been held, this will be the show with the most Hall of Fame members present to perform,’ Hicks said.
‘We will have more than 30 of our Hall of Fame members in total on stage throughout the course of the evening.’ Led by Sussex’s Gary Morris, Saturday’s gala concert will feature a house band that will serve as the backing band for a revolving door of musicians.
Article published in the October 10, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript