August 19

OK kids, here’s the beat…this time we are going to talk about music and how some Gander grads went on to form bands. Many of them  learned some of the basics from classmates, etc. David Naish, (1960 grad), Dennis Pritchett (1963 Grad), John Staple (1963 Grad) and Bob Pelley (1962 grad) Bob McKinnon (St. Joseph’s class of 1961) Cliff Powell (195? Grad). And we’ve heard of others like Cal Warren (1961 Grad), Ken Barnes (1960 grad), etc. who kept the music of our era alive and well…so here goes some of the chitchat on that topic…

 Don’t forget Ed Yetman has a real talent, no doubt. I remember some shows he was a part of at the Star Theatre on the Army Side.
- Jim Butler, Class of 1959

 John Staple is still my favorite piano player. Best boogie in the country! Hey, John... I can still remember you on the piano in the Rothmere residence as I tried to accompany you with my (bngo) drums!

Do you still do that stuff?? 

No, Bob, I haven't done boogie in years. But...I've just come back from Gander where, for the fourth year in a row, the "Airship" has had a band reunion. For the past three years we have played the opening act for the festival of flight kitchen party (plus a variety of other club gigs).

Quite the blast.

The Airship was one of the first and only groups in Newfoundland to deliver psychedelic rock...Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, not to mention the Beatles and the Stones.  This year we also performed some original stuff written by Neil Bishop, who is still our lead guitarist and one of the best in the country.  Al Smith and Barry Mills round off the group with bass and drums respectively. Glenn Blandford has been with the group for the past four years adding some additional guitar depth.

 I also remember those university years with fondness. They were great times!!  Good to hear from you...

-          John Staple, Class of (1963)


The Majestics

Howard Elms, Cal Warren, Denny Pritchett

Dave Foot, John Staples



Good to know (a) that you still have maintained your interest in music, even more fun (b) to know you get back to Gander on a regular basis and that (c) when you do get back, you actually play with the old gang. I wonder if Gander Academy grads know that... I'm sure they'd love to know!

Bob Pelley, Class of 1962


So Cam, I understand that you played guitar and taught many others..What’s the story?

-Faye Lewis Raynard, Class of 1959


Yes,  I began playing (guitar) when I was 13 yrs old and I practiced with lots of other people up until I left Gander at age 19. You remember Eddie Yetman, who's band played at the reunion? Well Eddie and I practiced for years. Elias Hallahan from the RC school and I played with a group for years. I don't know why you didn't know that, Faye.

- Campbell Pritchett, Class of 1959


Now listen all you young guys.  I dated a guy a couple times in Gander, George Powell (Class of  1956)  and he played a mean accordion.  So put him on your list of those who made a name for themselves as musical talent from Gander. He seranaded me.!  And that gave George an edge with my father, because my father too is an accordion player.  But he never played anything by Paul Anka.

George Powell played the accordion. His brother Cliff, I can't remember what he played, but was a great musician; and his brother Graham Powell (Class of 1952) lives here in Halifax,  he plays in a band. Graham's band plays for the fun of it, but rarely for the public.

- Audrey Mingo Grantham, Class of 1958


I think that I was a bit younger than your group. I learned to play guitar in Gander. I went over at Denny Pritchett's house one time and I heard Campbell picking Wildwood Flower on his guitar. I knew then I had to have one of those. Dad bought me a cheapie guitar with a neck shaped like a banana. It was difficult learning on it but it sure made it easy to play on a good guitar later.

I actually took up banjo this year. It's a great instrument if you just want to 'pick and grin' common tunes. I just play clawhammer-style. My old fingers aren't fast enough yet to play bluegrass like Dave.

If you've seen the picture Denny (Pritchett) submitted to the Flight of the 'Majestics', you would have noticed that the drummer was Cal Warren. When my sister Debby was in Gander a few years ago, she heard that Cal was still playing drums occasionally. Other members of that group I think were Denny, David Foote, and John Staples. But you probably already know that.

Did Campbell admit to you that he played guitar yet? I noticed Dave Naish plays a lot of instruments. I took up the banjo this past winter, but

It was also during the 60's when the English rock groups were in fashion and we had a band called the Dar-Tel Five and played around Montreal, as far south as Plattsburg, N.Y. All five of us were from Dartmouth, N.S. (after my Gander days) In the picture, I'm the dozy looking guy next to the drummer.


- Bob McKinnon, St. Joe’s, Class of 1961

Just packing my stuff up and heading out tomorrow for a week of vacation on Go Home Bay. That's just east of Huntsville. Same cottage we were at last year. I'm taking the bluegrass banjo, the concertina and a pile of new (old) song sheets.  My son Michael is bringing his guitar. We are going to make some noise.
I'm enjoying the back and forth from Bob M. and Cam. There's so much I'm learning about the (Gander) life and times. Makes my time there seem even briefer than it was. I have just a few memories by comparison, but  I'm glad I've got 'em.

-          David Naish, Class of 1960


That’s it for this time. Note we received a nice ‘Moose’ story written by Garfield Pardy’s wife. Her name is Laurel Pardy. It is really worth the read…

And for you others out there, we’d love to hear from you on any past topics of interest, or something we have yet to talk about? We’re reading, and listening. Thanks. Send along your contributions to