East Coast Music Association unveils 2024 Honourary Award Recipients

East Coast Music Association unveils 2024 Honourary Award Recipients

(Halifax, NS) – The East Coast Music Association (ECMA) is pleased to announce ten Honourary Award Recipients to receive awards at ECMA 2024 in Charlottetown, PE, May 1-5.

Presented by ECMA’s Board of Directors, most of these Awards will be conferred during the East Coast Music Awards: Part II, set to take place at the Delta Prince Edward Confederation Ballroom on Sunday, May 5th at 11 a.m. Limited tickets are available by emailing [email protected].

The Director’s Special Achievement Award will be presented on stage at the 2024 East Coast Music Awards presented by Rogers on Thursday, May 2 at 8 p.m. For tickets, click here.

"The ECMA Board of Directors is proud to recognize the dedication and commitment of our Industry professionals,” says Debbie Mullins, Chair of ECMA. “Their long-time contributions to the industry have been invaluable. Congratulations to everyone."

The recipients are as follows:

Director’s Special Achievement Award: Bruce Guthro

The Director’s Special Achievement Award recognizes an exceptional contribution to the music industry on a national and/or international level.

Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award: Denis Parker

The Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual or group who has had a profound and lasting effect on the Atlantic Canadian music industry.

Musician’s Achievement Award: Deryl Gallant

The Musician’s Achievement Award recognizes a session musician who exemplifies professionalism and quality musicianship on recordings and/or live performances of East Coast music.

Industry Builder Award: John Poirier

The Industry Builder Award recognizes an individual, group, or organization that has made a significant impact on the welfare of the music industry in Atlantic Canada. The award recognizes the recipients’ genuine contributions to the East Coast music industry that are made not simply for personal gain but for the greater development of the East Coast music industry.

Bucky Adams Memorial Award: Scott Parsons

The Bucky Adams Memorial Award recognizes a member of the African Canadian / Black community that has had a significant impact on the African Canadian / Black and/or overall music industry in Atlantic Canada.

Stompin’ Tom Awards (5): Pamela Morgan (NL), Ian Alistair Gosbee (NS) Stephen Muise (CB), Zachary Atkinson (NB), Kerri Wynne Macleod (PE)

The five Stompin’ Tom Awards recognize one individual in each of ECMA’s five geographical regions who has made a long-term contribution to the East Coast music industry and has paved the road for many successful East Coast artists of today.

Full Bios & Photos of this year’s Honourary Award recipients can be found HERE.


About the Recipients

Bruce Guthro (Director’s Special Achievement Award)

Bruce Guthro was born and raised in the coal mining town of Sydney Mines, Cape Breton. After high school, Guthro went to work in the hard rock mines of Alberta and it was during this time that he learned what diligence, tenacity, endurance, commitment, and perseverance looked like.

Upon his return to Cape Breton, Guthro put these qualities to work with his passion for music. He performed in local pubs, and along with his wife, Kim, began organizing festivals and musical events. Guthro soon caught the attention of EMI Music Canada and was signed to the record label in 1998.

Guthro performed to sold-out audiences in Canada, the United Kingdom, and across Europe. With nine East Coast Music Awards, three Canadian Radio Music Awards, SOCAN #1 Songwriter Award, host of the CBC Gemini award-winning ‘Songwriter’s Circle’, and Gold records in Canada and Denmark, his career made its mark. Along with his solo career, Guthro was also lead singer for 20 years in the Scottish Celtic Rock legendary band, Runrig, performing to concert audiences of more than 25,000 loyal fans.

Guthro captivated global audiences with his honest, straight-to-the-heart, song-writing and live performances that were as engaging and personable as the man himself. Troubadour and story-teller, Guthro’s music got to the heart of the matter with his unique ability to connect with people.

Guthro’s children, Jodi and Dylan, are proud to be carrying on the legacy of their father’s music and being a part of the East Coast music community.

Denis Parker (Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award)

Denis Parker was a singer, songwriter, musician, and music industry giant for over 50 years. He grew up in London, England and was part of the British blues boom of the 1960’s. Before immigrating to Newfoundland in 1971, Parker recorded at London’s Abbey Road Studios for EMI/Harvest. The resulting two albums were later remastered and re-released worldwide on Cherry Red Records.

His latest release, in 2023, was a double CD featuring a new acoustic version of his classic song “Once Around The Harbour”, written in 1972 and first released on the vinyl album “TNT” in 1977. The second disc contains ten instrumental melodies to offer the meditative experience he once quipped.

He was also a music industry trailblazer, serving as the first ever Executive Director of the Music Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador from 1996 until 2014. His passion, belief, and tireless efforts lobbying for artists were relentless and his contributions will live on forever. His work in creating programs, establishing funding grants for artists, and developing the talent of Newfoundland & Labrador garnered him the ECMA Industry Builder Award in 1999.

After fifty years, a lifetime of gigs, and countless recordings, Parker never lost the fire and passion for his craft. He was actively writing his next album when he passed away in February of this year.

Deryl Gallant (Musician’s Achievement Award)

From playing in a garage band to garnering a Classical Degree in double bass, Deryl Gallant has been a prominent part of the PEI music scene for over 30 years. Within weeks of first plucking an upright bass string, it was head-first into orchestra rehearsals, concerts, discovering the electric bass and guitar, and garage bands with friends: all sparks and fuel to fire up a music career spanning three decades.

A founding member of the Jive Kings, The Dennis Lee Project and many Charlottetown Festival productions, his most recent work includes assisting Craig Fair Music Productions, PEI’s premier destination for theatrical concert experiences and the Harmony House Theatre, as well as lending his talented bass and vocals to recordings from local artists such as Tara MacLean and Alicia Toner.

Gallant’s success does not go unrecognized, especially in the PEI community, winning the 2015 Music PEI Musician of the Year and 2015 PEI Jazz & Blues Festival Doug Riley artist awards while garnering several other nominations over the course of his career.

While being a sought-after performer, Gallant has also found ways to continuously give back to the community, teaching the next generation of bass players as an instructing bassist at the University of PEI and Holland College, all while maintaining a successful 20 plus year full time IT career and becoming a father of six with his wife Elizabeth.

John Poirier (Industry Builder Award)

Prior to his 40-year career at Warner Music Canada where he serviced radio, retail and media for Atlantic Canada, John Poirier began working for WEA Music and Warner Home Video before focusing exclusively on music.

During his time in Warner Music’s A&R department, Poirier’s ear for talent was an important part of signing many household names from the East Coast including Great Big Sea, The Irish Descendants, Natalie MacMaster and The Ennis Sisters. He was a main reason these artists eventually signed to a national company, expanding their music and career outside of Atlantic Canada to the rest of the country and ultimately worldwide.

Playing a prominent role in the ECMAs over the years, Poirier and Warner Music Canada were a proud sponsor of several showcases and events. He was the recipient of ECMA Record Company of the Year in 2003 and 2005 as well as Industry Professional of the Year in 2008. He was also the winner of Music Nova Scotia’s Record Label of the Yearaward in 2002.

Poirier had a dedicated career that played a major role in the success of the East Coast music industry. His passion, commitment and hard work is the reason why we celebrate him and his illustrious career today.

Scott Parsons (Bucky Adams Memorial Award)

As a multi-disciplined PEI musician, Scott Parsons has consistently utilized his accomplishments to enrich both himself and his community. His involvement with theatre, film, radio and television has sparked an artistic creativity that carries over to his work with disabled and high-priority youth.

Parsons’ body of work spans nearly five decades during which he has played many benefits, bars and small venues around the world, including as an opening act for big names like Blue Rodeo. He has been honoured for his achievements and contributions to music many times, being awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to his community and country, Music PEI Blues Recording of the Year in 2011 and Blues Artist of the Yearin 2004, as well as ECMA African-Canadian Recording of the Year in 2003.

For six years, Parsons was Director of the award-winning Around the Block Program, part of the PEI Council for People with Disabilities. He taught his young charges Bunraku style puppetry and toured Island schools with an anti-bullying puppet show about inclusion of people with disabilities.

Throughout his career, Parsons has worked tirelessly to donate his time and energy to his community while also dedicating himself to a successful music career that has spanned nearly 50 years.

Stompin’ Tom Awards

Pamela Morgan (NL)

An original member of the folk/rock band Figgy Duff, Pamela Morgan has been a leading performer in the Celtic Music scene for almost fifty years. For nineteen years, Morgan and the band graced crowd with their strikingly original and beautiful arrangements of traditional Newfoundland/Celtic material as well as their equally impressive and powerful original material. At the forefront of their success was Morgan leading the way with her mesmerizing voice.

Morgan, along with fellow band member Noel Dinn, led the band through the production of six albums and countless tours throughout North America and Europe: taking Figgy Duff from local innovators to a powerful international presence in the burgeoning worldwide folk/Celtic scene.

In the early nineties, Morgan launched her own record label, Amber Music, with all her former recordings and the complete works of Figgy Duff. She has used her label to shape and direct her continuing musical journey, merging the past with the present and passing it on to her ever-growing worldwide audience.

Morgan’s achievements expand beyond just music. In 2007, she was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from Memorial University, in recognition of her vital contribution to the traditional music of Newfoundland and Labrador. The following year, she also began a two-year course in graphic design at the College of the North Atlantic, which she completed with honours in 2010.

Innovative, beautiful, powerful, and highly original, Morgan continues to set the standard of integrity, perseverance, and artistic vision for artists of all disciplines and musical genres.

Stephen Muise (CB)

Stephen Muise, the current Musical Director/Conductor and Business Manager for Cape Breton choir The Men of The Deeps and a full-time Educator at Breton Education Center, has spent more than 20 years in the music industry. With degrees in both music & education, including a Master of Education Administration, and his record of performing with household names such as Rita MacNeil, The Rankin Family, Bruce Guthro and Matt Minglewood, Muise has demonstrated the embodiment of dedication to his crafts.

In recognition of his work, Muise was awarded the 2022 Canadian Band Association Community Builders Award, a national honour for his community work with students and professional musicians. Last year, he was also granted a honourary doctorate from Cape Breton University as someone who has made a significant impact in their field and whose commitment to their community will leave a positive impact for generations to come.

While juggling two full-time careers, Muise also ensures time to help with numerous community projects. He is a mainstay on the Christmas Daddies Telethon, raising money to ensure less fortunate families have food and gifts on Christmas Day as well as being a founding member of the Wendy Muise Foundation in honour of his late wife, providing young artists with bursaries to help further their studies.

Ian Alistair Gosbee (NS)

Ian Alistair Gosbee is described as a multifaceted artist with diverse talents. Having excelled in various roles as a DJ, singer-songwriter, actor, writer and multi-instrumentalist, his versatility and dedication to the arts has garnered him many accomplishments in the industry.

His success as a musician in Canada is no small feat, achieving a top 10 spot on the East Coast Countdown and New Canadian Music charts, which established a devoted fan base across the country. His following led him to holding the number one artist position on ReverbNation for more than two years, reflecting his popularity and recognition within the online music community.

Gosbee has had great success in competitive environments, such as CBC Radio’s Searchlight Competition and Long & McQuade’s Head-to-Head Music Showcase. He also ensures to stay involved within the industry, having served as a juror for respected music institutions such as Music PEI, ECMA, FACTOR and the JUNOS.

Gosbee's extensive musical catalog spanning various genres showcases his creativity and ability to connect with a wide range of audiences. His contributions to the Canadian music scene and his ability to engage audiences across different genres have been and continue to be a tremendous gift to our rich & diverse music scene on the East Coast.

Zachary Atkinson (NB)

Since 2003, Zachary Atkinson has been a fixture in the Fredericton and East Coast music scene. Once a band drummer and local music promoter focused on developing the all-ages music scene, Atkinson is now the owner/operator of Fredericton’s premier record store, craft brewery and live music venue, The Cap.

A jack of all trades with a wealth of experience for the past 20 year, Atkinson has been the go-to for all things live music in Fredericton and beyond. Aside from his duties with The Cap, he plays an active role in organizing and operating Fredericton’s long running midwinter festival Shivering Songs, programs the City of Fredericton Summer Concert Series and organizes concerts for national touring acts in Fredericton and around New Brunswick. In the past, he served on the Board of Directors for ECMA and now lends his time as a Board member for Music NB.

Atkinson’s contribution and dedication to supporting live music across New Brunswick for the last 20 years has given countless artists a space to create, learn, flourish and collaborate. His work has made his name synonymous with being an industry builder and leader in New Brunswick, where his work and dedication will be felt for years to come.

Kerri Wynne Macleod (PE)

Kerri Wynne Macleod will always be an unforgettable PEI treasure. As a celebrated performer and Ocean 100's beloved morning radio host, her contributions to the arts, charitable efforts, and community spirit are legendary.

A treasured vocalist at events and impressive stage performer, Macleod lent her talents to the production of Anne of Green Gables as Mrs. Pye and released an album, Moon Upon the Left, featuring several of her Island artist friends.

As a lover of music, Macleod previously served on the ECMA Board of Directors and started the Olivia Ruth MacLeod Memorial Award for Music Performance at Holland College in memory of her daughter, granted to an Atlantic Canada aspiring to a career in the music industry.

During her time with Ocean 100, Macleod hosted a number of charitable events such as Grassroots and Cowboy Boots for the Prince County Hospital Foundation, the IWK Radiothon and the Stuff a Buss Food Drive.

Love and compassion were Macleod's true calling cards. She had a remarkable gift for connecting deeply with every person she met through her warmth and infectious sense of humour. Her impact on the industry and province as a whole will not soon be forgotten, forever etched into the rich history this region has to offer.

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