West coast musicians chronicled

Former teacher says his book is selling well

Published on January 24, 2013
Author Pat Marche with his first book, "Musicians of Bay St. George and the Port au Port Peninsula." — Photo by Frank Gale/TC Media

Combining his love of music with skills from his teaching career, Pat Marche has published a book highlighting the talents of west coast musicians.

"Musicians of Bay St. George and the Port au Port Peninsula," is a 565-page book with personal interviews and more than 435 photos chronicling musicians, bands, vocal groups, venues and even music instructors from the 1940s up to today.

"I enjoyed every minute of putting this together as I've loved music all my life and it has been my pastime," he said.

"I always had a strong desire to preserve things, such as a rich culture that I believe is fading away. This was my way of preserving it."

Marche is plays guitar, drums in a band and harmonica. He's also a retiree from College of the North Atlantic, where he taught English, folklore, sociology, literature and research methods.

As soon as he compiled material on one musician or group he worked day and night until he got that section completed. Then he would move on to someone else.

"The work was sporadic, but continuous and a pleasure to do as I personally knew most of the musicians and knew about practically all of them," he said.

Now the book is out, people are reacting to it, saying things such as, "I didn't know so and so played in that band or played some (particular) instrument."

John Noseworthy is featured in the book for his role with the Teen Beats - a rock 'n' roll band dating back to the 1960s. He said there are so many beautiful and comical stories in the book that it's hard to put down.

"I didn't realize there were so many musicians in the area until I started reading this book and Pat must have put an awful lot of work into it," said Noseworthy.

As a musician, he can relate to most stories, especially those involving the rock 'n' roll and country performers, his genres of choice.

Noseworthy said he enjoyed reading about some of the people he didn't know and said he was sometimes surprised at their stories. There are more than 500 people featured in the book.

"I always heard (Bay St. George and the Port au Port Peninsula) was the area of Newfoundland and Labrador that had the greatest number per capita of people that played instruments and I think that's reflected here. It's surprising how many multi-instrument players there are in the area," said Marche.

The book also includes an in memoriam section. Marche felt it was important to highlight musicians who have died who played a part in providing music for the region.

The book was launched Nov. 24, 2012, at an event held at the Royal Canadian Legion in Stephenville entitled "A Night to Remember."

The event was organized by Marche, Jean Cormier-House, director of the Seville Singers and Tom Rose, who has been a member of a number of bands in the area.

Since then, Marche said book sales are going well. He had 1,000 copies printed.

Some people want him to do a second book and he's heard from people who would like to be included if a new edition is printed. He's considering it, but first he wants to complete a smaller book of poems he's working on.

Marche said he really appreciates the work that his typist Ursula Schumph put into the book, and the patience of his wife Joan during the year and a half her dining room table was filled with papers.