October 18, 2022 10:00 am
Downie Wenjack Fund
Vern Cheechoo grew up in Moose Factory, Ontario, a small community on an island on the Moose River, about 200 miles away from the nearest town, with his parents, three brothers and five sisters. Vern is a proud member of the Moose Cree First Nation, and presently resides in Timmins, Ontario.
Self-taught, Vern started playing guitar at the age of six. He would watch his brothers play and would later try and reproduce what he saw and heard—he was a natural. By the age of eight he was chording for his father, who was entering Vern in talent shows. Vern has come a long way in the music business. From playing in talent shows to playing such venues as the Mariposa Music Festival, Massey Hall, London Home County Folk Festival, North Dakota Arena, Winnipeg Park Theatre, Toronto Danforth Hall, Harbor Front, Toronto North By Northeast, Vancouver’s Music West, Northern Lights Music Festival, Chapleau’ s Nature Fest, Montreal’s First peoples Music Festival, to name a few and opening shows with the likes of Bruce Cockburn, Indigo Girls, Buffy Ste. Marie, Jim Witter, Don Burnstick, Kashtin, and sharing the stage with artists like, longtime friend Lawrence Martin, Kevin Welch, Joe Ely, the Spence Boys, Valdy, Willie P. Bennett, and many, many more.
Vern has three solo recordings to date. His first release “Lonesome and Hurting” was released in 1993 and was an innovative and contemporary collection of country songs and ballads. Vern was featured on CBC-TV’s “Ear to the Ground”, 1993 season—a show that profiles rising Canadian musicians. The single “Lonesome and Hurting” was featured on the popular CBS television series “Northern Exposure”. Vern also made an appearance in “Dance Me Outside” a Bruce McDonald and Norman Jewison movie that also featured the title cut “Lonesome and Hurting” and “Love Me Tonight” as part of the movie’s soundtrack.
Vern’s second and third releases garnered more attention receiving Nominations, twice for the Juno Awards in 2000 and 2003. Vern is also a two-time Saskatchewan Country Music Award Nominee and 7 times Aboriginal Music Award Nominee, and a winner at the 2000 Aboriginal Music Awards for the Best Produced Album of the year. Vern says, “It’s the love of music and entertaining folks, the fans, that keep me going and I’ll keep going until I can’t play or sing no more”.
Time: Oct. 18, 2022 @ 10:00 AM ET