on May 25, 2017 by test_editor in Archive_2017, May, Print Articles, WEB-EXTRA content, Comments (1)

May 25, 2017: Tony Turner’s Next Move; “Harperman” songster heads west.

May 25, 2017: Tony Turner’s Next Move;
“Harperman” songster heads west.

By Kathy Kennedy.

Kitchissippi resident and one of Ottawa’s finest singer-songwriters, and one whose life and career were forever changed by one song, is relocating to British Columbia. Tony Turner, who became an unintentional, international public crusader for freedom of expression for his song, “Harperman”, is moving to Nanaimo, B.C. at the end of June.

In the 20 years that Turner has lived in Wellington West, he quietly contributed his songs and organizational skills to support the local folk music scene. But life changed dramatically when federal officials got wind of a video of the upbeat protest song that resulted in Turner being suspended from his day job at Environment Canada. Turner was “shocked and surprised” by the suspension that outraged many Canadians and led to “Harperman” taking on a life of its own. Millions of people viewed the video and Turner was thrust into a media spotlight that few could have anticipated.

Turner’s song was exuberantly performed before 1,500 people on Parliament Hill and over 35 communities across the country on September 17, 2015 during a Cross-Canada “Harperman” Sing-Along. It was also featured in a comedy segment on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. A Hamilton-based film company, Hamilton Seen, made a documentary film about Tony’s suspension to reflect on issues related to the freedom of expression for scientists and all public servants.

But Turner is no “one-hit wonder”. He had already been recognized for another of his wonderful songs, the poignant anthem “Circle of Song”. This anthem is one of only a handful of Canadian songs recently published in Rise Again, the 2015 sequel to Rise Up Singing, the popular folk music songbook.

Turner’s move to the west coast is not about escaping his “Harperman” legacy but rather about being closer to his daughter, who lives in Vancouver, and having a bit less snow to shovel in his future. “My wife, Sharon Reeves, and I love Ottawa and we have many close friends and treasured memories of living in this wonderful city. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to being creatively energized by the experience of living in a different region of our great country.”

Turner’s final show in Ottawa will be on June 2nd at Irene’s Pub, 885 Bank Street. The Tony Turner Trio will play a set of his original songs, followed by the danceable tunes of his other band, Shirt Tearing Boys. According to Turner: “It promises to be a big musical party where I hope to see many friends and supporters.”

For more information on Tony Turner, visit: https://www.tonyturner.ca .

man with guitar in front of white brick fireplace

Going West, Young Man.

Photo Caption: Author of the controversial, and career-altering song, “Harperman”, Tony Turner prepares to leave Ottawa for the milder climes of the Canada’s west coast. Photo by Trish Bolechowsky.

3 men sitting at a table

TTFN (Tony Turner and Friends Night)

Photo Caption: (from left to right) Producer/songwriter Joe Henry, Britain’s foremost socially conscious songwriter Billy Bragg And Tony Turner after their concert in Ottawa.


1 Comment

  1. admin

    May 28, 2017 @ 7:14 am

    Reader’s Comment:
    – Wonderful article on he and Sharon’s move to Nanaimo. –
    I have been associated for a long time with the Ottawa Unitarian Church Choir and Tony’s work. He is a member of our church and is fully involved in our music program.
    It may be of interest for you to know that his song,” Circle of Song”, mentionned in your article as being published in “Rise Again”, was first performed by the Ottawa Unitarian Choir for a ceremony at our church in 2002. It was also sung as the theme song of a major church conference in Ottawa in 2008.
    R. Wood

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