Tim Shaw in the spotlight at celebration show and dance

Tim Shaw playing drums with Down Yonder and special guests at the Tehkummah Hall show celebrating his induction as the 104th member of the Great Northern Opry. photos by Lori Thompson

by Lori Thompson

TEHKUMMA­­– If Tim Shaw had his way, there would have been no spotlight on his musical career or Celebration Show and Dance held on Saturday night at the Tehkummah Community Hall. He would have preferred to stay behind his drum kit while he shared the stage with long time Down Yonder bandmates and special guests. Tim Shaw didn’t get his way as well over one hundred people attended the celebration of his induction into the Great Northern Opry.

“We chose Tim for his longevity in the music,” said Glen McDougall, Manitoulin Island district representative for the Northern Ontario Country Music Association (NOCMA). “He’s there every time. He’s always willing to give up his time to play a show. And especially for his aptitude and ability.”

The Great Northern Opry honours Northern Ontario musicians that could have chased after professional and commercial success but instead made a conscious choice to stay home and raise a family here, Mr. McDougall explained.

Mr. Shaw taught himself to play drums out of high school. He was good enough to be noticed by Ken Elford who asked him to play with his band, Ken Elford and Country Gold. He’s been playing with Down Yonder for the past eleven years. As the 104th inductee into the Opry, Mr. Shaw will be sharing the honour with the rest of the Down Yonder band members who are all previous inductees.

In fact, Tehkummah Hall was a showcase for the Great Northern Opry on Saturday night. Special guests included Wayne Smith, Ken Elford, Jim Beech, Eugene Manitowabi and Ben Lentir–all inductees, as well as the talented Al Ryan. One by one the guests took the stage to sing a few songs and offer a tribute to Tim Shaw. The only Opry members missing from the stage were Doug Hore and Hardy Peltier.

It’s a balancing act, Mr. Shaw said of his music. “In the summertime we practice a lot and we’re very busy with shows. We’re working at the same time, and there’s family life too.”

Mr. Shaw’s wife Monic is able to attend more shows now that their children are grown, and she was in the audience to share in the excitement. Music is a passion for him, she said, but “he’s very humble. He never recognizes his own talent. He’s never had any training. He listens, and plays from there. I’m very excited for him.”

He feels fortunate to be where he is. “For a young fellow like myself, I have been very blessed to play with the amount of talented people that I have, both on and off the Island,” he said. “It’s been amazing when I look back at the number of talented musicians I’ve played with over the years. I can’t name names,” he laughed. “I don’t want to leave anyone out.”

What’s next for Tim Shaw? “I’m a closet guitar player,” he said. “Glen’s after me to sing. That will come. Maybe.” He laughed. “It would be fun to play at another Country Music Awards show like the one in Sudbury.”

Mr. Shaw will be inducted into the Great Northern Opry at the 2015 Annual Northern Ontario Country Music Awards, Northern Ontario’s longest running annual country music event. He is more than a little nervous. “Oh, absolutely. I am always a bit nervous before a show but not like this. I don’t even want to think about November.”

The awards weekend takes place in Sault Ste. Marie from November 6 to 8. Anyone who wants to attend the event can contact Glen or Beth McDougall at 705-377-4643 for information on the bus trip. “It’s a great trip,” said Mr. McDougall. “The music starts before the bus leaves the parking lot.”