The Checkers Band Receives Canada's Recording Legacy Award


Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Mel Shaw, president of Canada's Recording Legacy is pleased to announce that The Checkers of Lethbridge received an award of recognition for their career in music dating back to the late fifties and sixties -  a career that took them on national tour dates before the Guess Who or Stampeders.

Presenting the award to the Checkers was the multi-award winning promoter, Ron Sakamoto. Also in attendance was the Mayor to  receive a duplicate award to hang at City Hall. It was held at the University of Lethbridge and the Dean of the University also received a duplicate award to hang in the University recording studio.

Mel Shaw of CRL comments,  "Ron is one of Canada's premier music industry participants and a friend of mine for fifty years dating back to the days of the Stampeders who went east and established themselves as a multi hit making group". Mel Shaw was Personal Manager and Record Producer for the Stampeders from 1965 thru 1979.

The two surviving members of the original Checkers will be receiving the award from Ron - guitarists Jerry Arnold and Dennis Gioshmon. The other original members have both passed away -  drummer, Garry Fabbi, and bass player, Wes Kucheron.

Mel Shaw, who was also the Founding President of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (presenters of the Juno Awards) remembers the Checkers very well. "I had an opportunity to hear them at Henderson Lake Pavilion in October of 1959 when I went to see Lou Gonzy, the owner of the Pavilion.  At the time I was booking a five act rock and roll show that was set to open the Taber Community Centre.

When we walked into the Pavilion, before we saw the band, we heard music. It sounded like they were playing records. That's how good they were. I immediately made arrangements for them to play the big December 5th, 1959 Rock and Roll Concert at the newly opened Taber Community Centre. The show turned out to be one of the largest dance concerts up to that time in Southern Alberta. It helped introduce the Calgary artists who appeared on the show to Southern Alberta".

The Checkers were so well received at the show that Shaw arranged for them to headline a dance concert in Calgary in January of 1960. That show added a strong Calgary following for the Checkers.

Recording was next and the group was soon signed to the Barry Records label in Toronto. The debut single, Chinook, brought offers to travel east. Before they left for Toronto, they appeared on the very popular teen TV program, "Guys and Dolls" on Channel Two in Calgary.

The award they are received was from Canada's Recording Legacy is in recognition of their full career and is based on their significant development of the Lethbridge music scene, long before there was a Juno Awards in Canada. Canada's Recording Legacy is dedicated to honouring individuals from the past who, in their careers, contributed to the history and personality of the music industry.

It is also about the new generation looking to theirown horizons of the future. There is mutual respect shown when the young recognize those who came before.

For further information visit: