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Four local musicians inducted into PEC Country Music Hall of Fame

At the unveiling of the 2018 PEC Country Music Hall of Fame inductees banner from left, Renie Thompson and Archie Wright, with Judy Fraser Saunders, representing her dad, Bud Gregory, and Lorain Sine.

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
Four local music legends were inducted into Prince Edward County Country Music Hall of Fame this weekend.

The fourth annual induction ceremony was part of the Prince Edward County Country Music Jamboree held in Cherry Valley, organized by Greg and Shane Verner of MillPond Music & Entertainment.

Bud Gregory

The late Milton E.C. Gregory – “Bud” to to friends and fans – was known to many as a Grampa’s Goodtime Gang band member. He passed away in June, 2016 at age 90 having played with the band for many years and he sang, literally to the day he died.

Judy Fraser Saunders, Gregory’s daughter, accepted the posthumous recognition on her father’s behalf.

“My dad was all about music and all kinds of music and my earliest recollections of my dad and music was when I was about four singing songs with him while we did the dishes after dinner,“ she said. “I always say, it wasn’t the traditional songs your father taught you like lullabies, it was always things like Gershwin and then Hoagy Carmichael and Fats Waller and some really interesting classic tunes.”

Fraser Saunders spoke to how her father blossomed once he moved to the County and had the time to get involved, play the instruments he wanted to play and to develop his vocal skills.

Judy Fraser Saunders

“He left Grampa’s Goodtime Gang a year before he died because he was having some issues with driving and he was tiring, but he didn’t give up music,” said Fraser Saunders. “The night he died, he was with my husband and I at Coach’s and he got up and sang and played with Peter Rea. He sang his closing number which was Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”. He sung that and got a standing ovation, went home and passed away. So literally, he sang right up until the day he died, which is the way he would have wanted it. He was living right up to the very last night of his life; we are very lucky for that memory.”

She thanked the music community and the community at large for being a welcoming and loving supportive community to live in.

“This is a great honour and we really appreciate what they are doing here in terms of the country music jamboree. It’s an honour to be here on behalf of my dad. He did have a long standing career and loved every minute of it and he loved the people he got to work with in that band.”

Fraser Saunders acknowledged those musicians along with Grampa’s Goodtime Gang originals X.P. Mayhew, Ron Bailey and Tony Ruthven.

“They are all gone and they are all part of his musical legacy as well.”

Co-organizers of the event, Greg and Shane Verner, said the induction ceremony is important to let people in the community know how much the musicians contribute.

“It’s amazing the amount of talent that is here and how long these people have been helping to raise money, whether it’s for a humane society or a benefit or some type of a function, you know somebody needs help and they are always on board,” said Shane Verner.

“It’s overwhelming how incredibly awesome these people are with what they do and they deserve the recognition for all of their hard work and their time put in. I know they do it out of the kindness of their heart and they all do it because they love it and it’s very special.”

Renie Thompson

Renie Thompson, Archie Wright and Lorain Sine were also inducted at the ceremony Friday from 15 nominations this year.

Demorestville’s Renie Thompson has been singing since she was very young having been given her first guitar by her uncle.

“I was lucky enough to have Jimmy McConnell show me how to play the guitar and he’s a legend in this area, so the first time I was on stage it was with Billy Ostrander and the Stepping Stones,” she said.

Thompson has sung with the Speaking of Light gospel band and Trinity, with Jeanette Arsenault and Kim Inch, and speaks to many good experiences she has had through singing.

“I go to the nursing homes, so I get a lot of satisfaction there as they really appreciate you and you walk away feeling good. Over the years, I’ve been in a lot (of fundraisers) for Haiti and Alternatives for Women and we’ve done all different charities, working for the hospital.”

Thompson said she was surprised and honoured to be inducted.

“We have such wonderful musicians in the people that have preceded us,” she said. “I know most of them and I have worked with a lot of them. It’s very special that Greg and Shane do this to keep people’s memory alive and to give people credit who have been here and who have paved the way for the rest of us.”

Thompson concluded her acceptance speech with a rendition of Marty Robbins’ “Singing the Blues”.

Archie Wright

Emcee John Milner described inductee Archie Wright, as a local farm boy who grew up in the County.

“The one thing I do know about him is that he has been playing music pretty much all his life and he used to put together a jam session at his place, I guess in his garage. It kept growing and growing and it got to the point where it got so big, it got over to the field and ran out of space. That’s the type of guy he is, he loves his music,” said Milner.

“Thank you very much, but I don’t know how I ever got this, but I’ll give it a whirl; I’m not much on speech making,” said Wright. “I want to thank you everybody for coming and let me try to play a song.”

Wright declined to share his story any further.

Lorain Sine

Lorain Sine describes herself as a self-taught musician who has sung forever and is a long-time voice for the Loyalist Humane Society

“Over the past 10 years, with my sisters, who are great musicians, we’ve raised $20,000 and I like to be a voice for those furry little creatures,” Sine said.

The said the induction was a wonderful honour.

“I think this is a real honour because people need to be recognized and I’m humbled by them choosing me. I sing country, I sing everything, I have different venues and genres, but this is really special for me. My family’s here, my husband especially is there and it’s just a good day. It’s a really nice thank you from the community.”

Sine sang “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and “Crazy Arms”.

After the induction ceremony, the 2018 PEC Country Music Hall of Fame banner was unveiled. The jamboree ran Thursday to Sunday featuring more than 40 performers and tribute bands.

Hall of Fame inductee banners from 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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  1. Pam & Derm Voisey says:

    Congrats Archie !!!!

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