Music and memories: CJNU visits Deer Lodge Centre


Helen Harper

Each generation has a favourite music style. Since the turn of the century we’ve gone through the jitterbug, the gentle crooning of Sinatra and the big bands, Elvis Presley’s gyrating hips, the Beetles, rap and hip hop…

I’m a proud baby boomer; I’ve heard the musical pendulum swing this way and that over the course of my life. Early on, I listened to the radio on my mother’s kitchen counter and in the barn at the family farm. (My cousin swore the cows milked better to his favourite station. I was the city kid, so who was I to disagree? I was just happy to have that delicious milk on my rib-sticking oatmeal in the morning.)

Radio was here long before the spoon-feeding of television. But even radio has changed. Today I tune the dial only to find so many stations that have their music pre-recorded and so impersonal—one of the reasons I not only listen to, but volunteer for, CJNU Nostalgia Radio 93.7 FM. CJNU’s programming is live, created by, and delivered by people with a passion for music. We have personalities galore, each with our own tastes, so the programming is diverse. You’ll always find something to please your ear.

I like to think of CJNU as a personal memory mirror. They play everything from delightful oldies to The Lone Ranger radio drama, one of my personal favourites.

CJNU is the only non-profit, member-owned radio station in Winnipeg. It’s run by a huge team of volunteers—some young, and some young at heart, all fuelled by the same enthusiasm for good music and a commitment to community spirit. Working with this team, I’ve heard so many fascinating anecdotes about the artists we play from our on-air hosts. They really do know their stuff.

Andre Rieu

Take Andre Rieu, our recent artist of the month. Another baby boomer who single-handedly brought back the waltz with his violin and private Johann Strauss Orchestra, Andre has an endearing personality, and his violin virtuosity have given countless people around the globe “evenings in the moonlight”. There’s a reason he’s called the King of Romance. His music takes us back to a wonderful time in history.

One of CJNU’s specialities is producing shows from a remote studio that magically moves from location to location each month as we visit our Community Partners. Not only do we hear important information about our sponsors and the important work they do for the community, but I meet incredibly interesting folks.

One of these partners is Deer Lodge Centre. Deer Lodge is special to CJNU because it’s the first partner whose location we ever broadcast from remotely (way back in 2015). Deer Lodge holds a special place in my heart, too. My dad was a WWII vet and relied upon the services and amazing staff a number of times over his long life. I’ve never met anyone there who didn’t offer my family a smile. When we broadcast live from Deer Lodge this February, it warmed my heart to see all the gold stars hanging from the ceiling of the hospital’s “Main Street”. Each star represented a donation and most bore a message of love and hope for Deer Lodge patients, residents, staff or their families.

While I was there, I was lucky enough to sit through a couple of interviews. The first was with Gord Kudlak and Larry Ruppel, two of the nine member nostalgia band REWIND. Winnipeg has produced many great musicians and I’m glad these folk have stayed in town for us to enjoy live.

The second interview was with the executive director of Palliative Manitoba, Jennifer Gurke. I was astonished and delighted to know about all the services that are available and all the wonderful people who work on her team. End-of-life care is something we will all face, and it was great to learn about all that she and her team offer our community.

Whether you’re young, or young at heart, take a few minutes out of your fast-paced day to sit down, tune in, and listen to CJNU for a while. I can guarantee you’ll smile. I bet your blood pressure will gently drop a notch or two as well.

CJNU’s Helen Harper joins REWIND’s Gord Kudlak and Larry Ruppel, and others, for an interview at Deer Lodge Centre.