(Edmonton Sun – Tait on 8 – Feb. 11, 2018)
By CAM TAIT
Bruce Bowie gives us much to think about on the 630 CHED Morning news weekdays, so it was no big surprise one of the most recent poignant points came from a listener.
“It was on Facebook,” said Bruce, a friend of more than four decades. “Someone posted they thought selecting music for Tommy Banks’ tribute would be one of the toughest things to do.”
How true. Because even though Tommy was born in Calgary, he would be unquestionably compassionately called “Mr. Music Man” in Edmonton. He performed, produced, wrote, interviewed and so much more. Entertained, absolutely. Yet, perhaps the three greatest gifts Tom shared with us was how he taught us, motivated us and inspired us with the universal language of love.
It’s most fitting, really, a public remembrance for Tom on Wednesday: the 2018 version of Valentine’s Day. It’s also the day – no wait: make that the night – when we share with the ones we love. Music, always, sets the tone.
And music will ring and echo through the Winspear Centre – our city’s shrine of a music hall, which Tom helped to become a resounding reality. Some of Edmonton’s most gifted performers, very likely, will make the trip to Edmonton from places across North America.
So what pieces, and songs, and poems should we expect Wednesday when the curtain rises a few seconds after 7 p.m.?
Tom had a brisk, confident walk that signaled what type of character he had. So, what about Walk Like A Man from The Four Seasons?
But we can’t leave out jazz, which Tom loved the most. So cue up Take Five, ‘Round Midnight, The Girl From Ipanema, In The Mood, and other pieces which jazz fans are much more qualified to select than I am.
Yet, I’m sure Tom had an ear for all kinds of music. Because … that’s what musicians do, don’t they?
We can’t ignore, because of its significance in music, the William Tell Overture from the classic side of things. Maybe even The Blue Danube waltz.
I’m sure Tom owned a crisp pair of blue jeans and probably a cowboy hat. And he’d want to send us a message Wednesday. What about The Dance by Garth Brooks.
And that poses a most thought-provoking question: did Tom ever listen to rap? That’s why Eminem Lose Yourself comes to mind.
OK. OK. Maybe we’re stretching it a bit here.
But music takes us to places we can safely go. It is a wonderful form of entertainment, but also holds an important psychology piece of our psyche. Music is a healer, a celebrant, and so many more things we turn to when we need it the most.
Tommy Banks gave that to us in grace and talent. He touched so many people and their journeys in countless ways.
So perhaps one song mirrors the personal and distant relationships we had from a man who was one of a kind. It’s from 1973. The band: Seals and Crofts.