GAETAN FAIRFIELD (1997 Inductee)

Following his early beginnings with Alex Staye’s group in Arnprior, Gaetan became one of the original members of Mac Beattie’s group, "The Ottawa Valley Melodiers" in the early 1930’s. The group was disbanded during the Second World War years and reformed in 1948 with Mac on washboard and drums, Gaetan on guitar, Garnie Scheels on steel and Horace Blanchette on fiddle.

In the late forties, the Melodiers began performing over radio station CHOV in Pembroke, an association that continued for 25 years. In 1951, their radio career expanded to include a five-year Stint on Frank Ryan’s 50,000-watt station CFRA in Ottawa, where their first MC was Les Lye, who was followed by Long John Corrigan. Mac recalls in his book, "This Ottawa Valley of Mine&qut;, that Mr. Ryan told him he was hiring them based on their performance at the Arnprior Fair where he was acting as MC (and closed the show by step dancing to their music). In later years, The Melodiers also performed over the CBC Radio Network, on CKOY in Ottawa and on CJET in Smiths Falls.

Dance jobs all over the Ottawa Valley kept the band traveling. Among many other venues, they played Sunny Dale Acres in Lake Dore, the Hillcrest Hall in Renfrew, the Bayview Pavilion in Cobden, the Mayfair Pavilion in Arnprior, and the Pineland Pavilion on the outskirts of Ottawa, the Ottawa Exhibition and most of the fall fairs in the Valley.

Gaetan, by now a veteran rhythm guitarist and baritone singer, performed on virtually all of the Melodiers’ recording sessions and appeared on CBC television’s Don Messer’s Jubilee, CJOH’s Haylofters, CTV’s Cross Canada Barn Dance, and CHOV’s North Star Jamboree.


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