Donna McLean began her singing career at an early age, performing with her late father (Gerald “Jerry” Fitzpatrick) at various concerns and benefits. School choir and church choirs later became part of her singing career. She is still active in a church choir.
Some of the highlights of her career include singing with the Miramichi Sanatoria Club, a volunteer organization for the purpose of entertaining patients in the sanatoriums and hospitals and at many benefit concerts throughout the province in the late 1950’s.
As the result of a request from the late Senator P. Burchill in November of 1956 for Donna and her father to present a Remembrance Day live radio show and the success of this show, Donna and Jerry went on to produce a weekly radio show on CKMR Radio, “Songs to Remember”, for 12 years.
The release of an album in 1993, “The River of Golden Dreams” by Donna, in response to the many requests, was indeed a fitting tribute to her many fans after more than a half century of entertaining thousands of people. Music has always been part of Donna’s life and that of the Fitzpatrick family, and her willingness to share her fine talent and bring joy into the lives of many people in nursing homes, in church activities and other functions, throughout the Miramichi and in our province, mainly on a voluntary basis, has also been part of her life.
Bob Murdock was born in Millbank, New Brunswick on June 21, 1933 (passed away 1996). He was synonymous with music on the Miramichi. Confined at home with Rheumatic Fever and influenced by his mother, who played piano with a local dance band, he learned to play guitar at an early age, progressing to piano and bass guitar.
Over the years he played with various dance bands on the Miramichi and in Moncton, including the BJ’s for ten years. The BJ’s consisted of Bob, Jimmy Lawlor and Joe MacDonald. He was a member of the Irving Orchestra lead by Jack Irving for approximately eight years. Bob played for many years with Valley Dance Band and with them was featured on CBC Showcase. He played with the sanatoria Club when it was active on the Miramichi. He often accompanied fiddlers, some of whom included New Brunswick Hall of Fame and North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame Inductee Matilda Murdoch and New Brunswick Hall of Fame Inductee, Jim Morrison. He assisted in the formation of the Miramichi Branch of the Maritime Fiddlers Association and accompanied the Miramichi Fiddlers group. In recent years, he played with Jimmy Lawlor, another New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee, and the Lancer Players who were responsible for reviving the lancer in the Miramichi area.
Bob was always available to entertain seniors, play for charitable function or to offer encouragement to anyone interested in music – especially the children. He played for many benefits over the years and served on the Miramichi Heritage Inc., which was responsible for restoring the old Seaman’s Hospital in Miramichi. Bob was a member of the Highland Society, Royal Canadian Legion Branch #10; volunteer co-ordinator for the Heart and Stroke Campaign in the Miramichi area and continued as team captain and canvasser until his death. A scholarship fund has been established in his memory and is designed to promote studies and advancement in music.
Bob Higgins is one of Canada’s master harmonica players. In a musical career spanning five decades, Bob’s unsurpassed musical talents have taken him on tour throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. A celebrated recording artist with the Three Reeds, the Reed and the World’s Greatest Harmonica Band, his nine top-selling recordings including two country and western albums, have enjoyed widespread popularity on a global scale, with particular demand in Australia!
This veteran has shared the stage with such greats as Bob Hope, Rosemary Clooney and Al Martino. He has appeared on a host of mainstream radio and television programs on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Juliette Show, Country Roads, In Person and The Tommy Hunter Show.
Highly acclaimed for his excellence in the contemporary and jazz music scenes, Bob’s incredible musical adaptability, flexibility and range were clearly reflected in his smooth adaptation to the world of country music, coinciding with his move to Atlantic Canada. Today, this East Coast country music mainstay calls Moncton his home and appears regularly throughout the Maritimes.
Angus Robichaud was born April 27, 1915 at St. Mary’s Kent Country, NB. Having lost his mother at the age of five, Angus went to live with his grandparents.
With music in his family, he learned to play the fiddle at an early age. His first paid performance was at a house party square dance where he earned 67 cents.
In 1933, he met his wife to be, Doris Landry. They settled down and raised a family of eight children.
In 1939, Angus was on radio for fifteen minutes on Saturday mornings with a group called Pioneers. The popular show lasted for a year and a half. In 1942, he signed on for another radio show sponsored by Quaker Oats. This group was named “Full of Pep Boys” and included Maurice Bolyer, a multi-instrumentalist, who was a regular on the CBC TV shows “Country Hoedown” and “The Tommy Hunter Show”. Also Marg Osborne sang with them for the first time on radio before she joined Don Messer in 1946.
Angus formed another group, the Hayriders, and played with them for two years. He was a close friend of Hank Snow and did some touring with Hank during the 1940’s.
Angus has great memories of his days with the Bunkhouse Boys with whom he did many TV appearances and road concerts.
Over the years, he judged many fiddling contests and composed a number of fiddle tunes including “Durelle’s Victory Breakdown” and “Pride of the Miramichi”.