Sons of the Pioneers will play three shows at the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium in Brandon. In the band’s 78-year history, more than 25 musicians have been a part of the lineup.
One of America’s earliest and most prominent Western singing groups is set to take the stage in Brandon for three wild, wild shows.
Sons of the Pioneers, founded by Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan and Tim Spencer in 1933, will perform three shows at the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium beginning Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. and then again on Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
In the band’s 78-year history, more than 25 talented musicians have graced the lineup. The show in Brandon will feature the musical talents of Ricky Boen, Mark Abbott and Randy Rudd, playing classic hits such as "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and "Cool Water."
"You are never going to come across such beautiful lyrics anywhere else and really the songs are poetry," said Brian Bergquist, the show’s promoter. "There will also be magical harmonies that you hear so little in music today and beautiful twin fiddle music."
The music will stay true to the history of the Pioneers, whose songs have been played by Elvis, The Beatles and Johnny Cash, to name a few.
"They sound the same today as they did three-quarters of a century ago because they have honoured the vocal traditions," Bergquist said. "I believe it will be an evening that will stay with people for many, many years."
The show will also feature Eli Barsi, an award-winning Canadian artist, and cowboy-comedian Sourdough Slim.
Another aspect that sets the shows apart is that one hour prior to each show, audience members are invited to gather in the lobby of the auditorium for a chuckwagon dinner that includes roast beef, coleslaw, baked beans and a beverage for $8.
While the evening will be highlighted by songs and melodies that help shape the music industry landscape, getting the Sons of the Pioneers in Brandon has also been a personal goal and journey for Bergquist.
"I am so glad that we will have this one moment in time when the Sons of the Pioneers are here, not only to showcase their legacy and their great music, but to also honour Bob Nolan," Bergquist said.
Nolan, born Robert Clarence Nobles, died in 1980 at the age of 72. At the time of his passing, Nolan, who is regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, didn’t know that he was born in Winnipeg, according to Bergquist. His ashes were spread in the Nevada desert, where the musician found solace, by his daughter, who held onto some of the remains for personal reasons.
Now, more than 30 years later, the remains have been entrusted to Bergquist, who intends to hold a memorial service for Nolan in Winnipeg.
"I am trying to bring Bob Nolan home," Bergquist said.
Nolan’s ashes will be laid to rest in Winnipeg and Bergquist said he will also be honoured with a special award from the Manitoba Country Music Association.
The iconic storyteller will also be named the first inductee into the Manitoba Country Music Hall of Fame.
"It’s important for me that Bob Nolan gets the credit he deserves in the city he was born in," Bergquist said. "He was a hero of mine and making sure he is honoured in the proper way is something I am passionate about."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 15, 2012