Chaisson Trio to receive ECMA honour

Sally Cole
Published on April 5, 2014

The Chaisson Trio, shown performing at the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival in 2011, will be honoured during the 2014 EastLink East Coast Music Awards gala Sunday at the P.E.I. Convention Centre in Charlottetown at 8 p.m. From left are Kevin Chaisson, Peter Chaisson and the late Lemmie Chaisson. The live show will carried on Rogers TV and EastLink TV, beginning with EastLink on the Red Carpet at 7:30 p.m.

©Photo special to The Guardian by Anne M. McPhee

When Kevin Chaisson looks at photos of the Chaisson Trio, it brings back memories of the hundreds and hundreds of times that they played together across Prince Edward Island over the past 40 years.

“The memories always came from the things that happened during the shows. It could have been Lemmie outdoing himself on vocals. It could have been Peter performing beyond expectation on fiddle. It could also have been the feeling of the crowd. With every show we did, wonderful things always happened,” says Kevin, keyboard player.

The photos also bring to mind recollections of Lemmie, the singer and guitarist in the band, who died a year ago.

“We really, really miss him.”

The Chaisson Trio, known for its tireless performances at benefits, concerts, funerals as well as the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival (founded by Joe Pete Chaisson, and Father Faber MacDonald 37 years ago), will be honoured during the 2014 EastLink East Coast Music Awards gala Sunday at the P.E.I. Convention Centre in Charlottetown at 8 p.m.

That night they will be made recipients of the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual or group that has had a profound and lasting effect on the Atlantic Canadian Music Industry.

This outpouring of public recognition moves the family.

“It’s an honour to receive the award. Our parents, Joseph and Margaret Chaisson, would be really happy about it, because of their dedication to traditional music,” says Peter Chaisson, during a telephone interview.

His brother agrees.

“We’re very excited about it. Winning an award for something you’ve done gives you a great feeling. Maybe we’ve done a few things right over our lifetime,” says Kevin, who appreciates the gift of music in his life.

“My biggest thrill is that I’m still able to play. And we’re still able to play and people still come out to hear us. Hey, what more could you ask for?”

For Lem’s wife, Judy Chaisson, it’s an emotional experience.

“I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed. Of course, he meant the world to me ... But I wish he were the one accepting it. That would have been best.”

She said she is especially proud at “those three great guys” are getting the recognition for the wonderful musicians they are, for all the charity work they’ve done and for the beautiful music they’ve made for decades.

While the award recognizes the Chaisson Trio, it also shines a light on others doing similar work, adds Kevin.

“Traditional music is alive and well and it’s not only us playing it. It’s also (recognizes) Richard Wood, Ward MacDonald and all the others that play the traditional (genre).

“It’s wonderful music and it feels great to be able to play it and we’re glad to win an award over it.”