Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Stairwell Carollers remember Gord Atkinson - a Bright Ottawa Light Winks Out

Pierre and Holly Massie with Gord Atkinson

 We were so very sad to learn of the passing of Gord Atkinson - long time mentor and friend to The Stairwell Carollers - Monday, April 26, 2021. He will be sorely missed. 

So many memories...

Our connection to Gord began in 1984 when his wife Elaine heard us carolling at Bayshore Shopping Centre. Right there, he invited us to sing LIVE on CFMO for their Christmas Exchange Telethon. Before the broadcast, he asked "what should I call you folks - what's the group's name?" 

We didn’t HAVE a name. 

After an awkward moment Dawn (soprano) piped up -- "The Stairwell Carollers".  I was dumbstruck. It was perfect. Our new name was forever cast in radio history as Gord introduced us for the first time ever over the airwaves.  

(I wish I had a photo - the pic below is from a later Christmas exchange broadcast from the Ottawa Citizen building)

Gord Atkinson introduces the Stairwell Carollers on the Christmas Exchange broadcast

Gord claimed us as his "Discovery", welcoming us into his musical cadre alongside Paul Anka, Elvis and Rich Little. We sang for The Christmas Exchange Broadcast on CFMO and CFRA for many years and were even treated to a wee float with our name on it in the 1987 Santa Claus parade . 

Stairwell Carollers in 1987 Santa Parade for Christmas Exchange

Pierre and I kept in touch with both Gord and Elaine, always looking forward to their Christmas card newsletter, always with a special note added just for us.

In 1986, Gord and CFMO produced our first recording, a vinyl album which raised over $53,000 for Ronald MacDonald House.

Gord Atkinson note on the Stairwell Caroller 1985 album

Stairwell Carollers for Ronald McDonald House -  Vinyl 1985

Gord and Elaine attended many of our concerts and, though he always said he was just a fan, we knew better. Gord Atkinson provided the choir countless opportunities that led to the professional development of The Stairwell Carollers.

He had the most generous heart. I miss him from the bottom of mine.

We send our sincere condolences to his wife Elaine and their family at this difficult time.


Gord Atkinsons Obituary : https://ottawacitizen.remembering.ca/obituary/gordon-atkinson-1082194642

 

CTV news https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/legendary-ottawa-radio-broadcaster-gord-atkinson-dies-at-94-1.5402971

Global news https://globalnews.ca/news/7813330/ottawa-radio-gord-atkinson-obituary/

Ottawa Citizen https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/egan-from-bing-to-the-king-radio-man-gord-atkinson-had-legendary-career

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