1946-58

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The Solidaires

Cliff Powell

When Cliff Powell arrived in Gander in August of 1947, he was just a very young man.  He quickly became employed with British Overseas Airways and a few years later he met up with Pianist, Jerry Morrisey, Drummer, Bill Stamp, Steel Guitarist, Howard Mouland and together with himself on Spanish Guitar, they formed a band called The Club Orchestra, that is, the Newfoundland Airport Club Orchestra.  The year was 1955 and the group was entertaining the patrons of the Club. 

In 1956 Ed Goff was transferred to Gander with Trans Canada Airlines (now Air Canada).  Ed played the Saxophone and it wasn’t long before he formed the orchestra known to us all as The Solidaires.  The members of the orchestra were Ed Goff on Saxophone, Harry Folkard on Piano, Bill Stamp on drums, Cliff Powell on Bass, Howard Mouland on Sax and Steel Guitar, Forrest McArthur on Trumpet, Hazen Walters on Trumpet and Roger Down on Saxophone.   The Newfoundland Airport Club was the primary base for the orchestra and with Jim Dempsey as President, the orchestra was paid $5.00 each per performance together with a few free beers. 

In 1958 the group lost two of its members (MacArthur and Walters) but were soon replaced by Gordon Bertrand on Trumpet and Al Trop on Saxophone.  Because of the transient nature of Gander, the Solidaires constantly lost and replaced members throughout the years.   Many of the musicians were employed by the airlines, the Armed Forces, governments, etc.  The Solidaires survived, however, and in 1960, the band moved to the new Airport Club located in the Town of Gander.

The Solidaires were very popular to both young and old.  The Airport Club held a dance every Saturday night for more than ten years with the Solidaires being the popular drawing card.  The band played at many other places in town, i.e. the Canadian Legion, Elks Club (usually on Friday nights) and were often hired to play for wedding receptions, special events, such as, the 25th Anniversary of the James Paton Memorial Hospital, 25th Anniversary of the Town and the retirement banquet for Dr. Melvin Coxon in 1978. 

In 1960 the orchestra added new members – John McNeil on Piano, Ross Goldsworthy on Drums, Ken McNeil on Piano, Mac Howell on Trumpet, Derm Molloy on drums, Alex Bishop on Guitar, Ted Oak on Guitar, Ron Richard on Sax and Dan MacIntyre on Trumpet with alternating members Jerry Wakeham on Drums, Ken Davidson on Guitar and Gerry Bradbury on Drums and Vocals.

Between the years 1960 to 1972, the orchestra played in Buchans, Tilt Cove, Grand Falls, Springdale, Labrador City and many others towns and functions.  Although orchestra leader, Ed Goff was transferred to St. John’s in 1972, it was not the end of the Solidaires.  Ed brought the band to St. John’s many times, playing at such places as Memorial University, Canadian Legion and a number of other functions held during that period. 

In 1974 the band became a combo featuring country music, featuring waltzes, profiling the Hawaiian guitar, etc.  The members of the local group were Eric Waterman on Guitar and Vocals, Howard Mouland on Hawaiian Guitar and Sax, Ross Goldsworthy on Drums and Comedy, Alex Bishop on Guitar (Rhythm), Cliff Powell on Bass (Manager), Derm Malloy on Drums, Ernie Gilbert on Drums (1978-1981) alternating with musicians, Eric Boyd on Drums and Howard Bailey on Lead Guitar.  During this period, musicians from Grand Falls, namely, Ray Aylward on piano, Bob Malloy on Trumpet, Paul Hennesy on Drums, Mike Race on Trumpet and a number of other musicians played and were a great asset to the band helping to enhance the group instrumentally for larger functions.

In 1984 the club circuit came to an end with their regular Saturday night performances but did continue to play for special events.

 

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Researched and written by Carol Walsh

 

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