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Local “boys” please hometown audiences

Joyce Walter writes about locals taking their talents abroad
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

Moose Jaw has long been known for the number of musicians/dancers/singers/performers it has produced — going from the stages of local festivals and concerts to stages located all around the world.

When some of those stars show up on Moose Jaw stages, it allows fans and family and other followers to turn out to applaud them wholeheartedly and to tell anyone who will listen that “I knew him/her years ago when he/she was just getting started.”

During the recent Sidewalk Days festival in downtown Moose Jaw, we were able to sit there on the street before a make-shift stage to hear one long-time friend and his band, and to witness the emergence of a young man who we have a feeling will be putting Moose Jaw on the map of music, dance and musical theatre. SaskExpress hadn’t been at Sidewalk Days for a few years so there was excitement in the air when local residents learned there would be a free show right there on Main Street. Fans began gathering early, jostling for position and especially for those empty chairs, some of which seemed to be saved for elusive friends. 

I suspect some of the excitement was based on the fact that a local young man would be prominently featured in this year’s cast — Bryce Johnson had won a spot to be part of the summer tour — following the footsteps of many other Moose Jaw singers and dancers who had starred with Saskatchewan Express since it began officially in 1980.

I was introduced to Bryce in 2017 at the Prism Awards banquet and then cheered with his mother when she advised he had been hired by Golden West Radio. I listened with interest as he learned the ropes as a reporter and news reader and was happy to hear him improve with experience.

I wanted to pop off the seat of my walker to express my enthusiasm for his SaskExpress performance with spectators so up close and personal with the cast. I refrained from embarrassing him and myself, but I clapped loudly and did rise for the standing ovation at the end.

Bryce, it appears, is following his dream and will be an asset at the Randolph Academy for Performing Arts in Toronto. With friends and family in Moose Jaw, we expect to see him back on a local stage sometime in the future.

Well done, Bryce Johnson. 

Another “local boy” made the trek to Sidewalk Days, coming home to Moose Jaw where he cut his performance teeth at an early age, soaking up musical knowledge like a sponge as he listened to others already experienced in the business.

Kelly Bourdages put together his band, Trick Ryder back in 1992, and since then has made a name for himself as a performer with an amazing repertoire of old time and modern country music as well as music from other genres.

The band released its first CD in 2000, No Cover Charge, which received substantial airplay on radio, and also got the band’s name on the marquee of the old Capitol Theatre: “Now appearing: Trick Ryder, No Cover Charge.” The title song, No Cover Charge was written by Kelly and is always a favourite at concert venues.

About 15 years later, Kelly returned to the stage within the old theatre, now the Mae Wilson, to entertain the home crowd as guests of Freddie and Sheila Pelletier.

It is fitting that the song, Trick Rider on the CD contains the words: “the trick rider always steals the show.”

Thanks for remembering your roots, Kelly, and continuing to make music, proving that you and Trick Ryder do indeed always steal the show.

Joyce Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.    

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