Don Messer’s Jubilee

Donald Charles Frederick (Don) Messer (May 9, 1909 – March 26, 1973) was a Canadian musician and defining icon of folk music during the 1960s.

Don Messer circa 1965Born in Tweedside, New Brunswick, Messer began playing the violin at age five, learning fiddle tunes with Irish and Scottish influences. As a young boy, Messer would play concerts in the local area and later throughout southwestern New Brunswick.

During the 1920s, Messer moved to Boston, Massachusetts for three years where he received his only formal instruction in music. Upon his return to the Maritimes, he began his radio career on CFBO in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1929 when he joined the station staff. Messer had organized a small studio band of musicians by that point and in 1934, they began a regular radio show for the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (forerunner to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation or CBC), broadcasting from CHSJ in Saint John under the name the New Brunswick Lumberjacks. Messer also began to make personal appearances throughout the Maritimes and New England using a smaller group named the “Backwoods Breakdown”.

Messer left Saint John in 1939 and moved to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island where he joined CFCY as music director. Here he formed the “Islanders” and by 1944 the group was airing a show nationally on CBC radio. The show established itself as the most popular on Canadian radio during the 1940s-1960s and Don Messer and His Islanders began to tour outside of the Maritimes.


In 1956, Messer’s music group began to make regular television appearances on CBHT-TV in Halifax, Nova Scotia. CBC television began a summer series called The Don Messer Show on August 7, 1959, which continued into the fall as Don Messer’s Jubilee, produced out of Halifax. Continuing as Don Messer’s Jubilee throughout the 1960s, the show won a wide audience and reportedly became the second-most watched television show in Canada during the decade (next to Hockey Night in Canada).

Don Messer’s Jubilee was cancelled by CBC television in 1969, raising a national protest among viewers and fans and even raising questions from the floor of the House of Commons. Messer and his band continued Don Messer’s Jubilee in syndication on CHCH-TV in Hamilton, Ontario following the 1969 CBC cancellation until Messer’s death four years later.

Regular Cast

Marg Osburne (December 29, 1927-July 16, 1977) was a Canadian country, folk and gospel singer. Recipient (posthumously) of the ECMA Stompin’ Tom Connors award.

Charlie Chamberlain (14 July 1911 in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada- 16 July 1972) was a featured entertainer on Don Messer’s Jubilee, which ran from 1957 through 1969 on CBC Television. Recipient (posthumously) of the ECMA Stompin’ Tom Connors Award.


Source, Wikipedia

farmer sewing seed

My list of of interesting books about Canada (to date).


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