Today, the Western Canadian Music Alliance is thrilled to announce award-winning musician, and creative mentor, Gerry Atwell, as the 2020 recipient of the Heritage Award. Each year, the Heritage Award is presented to a person who has made significant contributions to the music industry over the course of their career.
Gerry Atwell was larger than life and truly a Renaissance Man. He was known for his vigourous performance on-stage, and his gentlemanly demeanor off. He was most known as a keyboard player and vocalist with bands such as the JUNO Award-winning Eagle & Hawk, Ministers of Cool, Rockalypso, the Boogie Nights Band and Voice of Boom. He was a dedicated board member, mentor and facilitator for a long list of arts services, community and social justice organizations, and oftentimes, a founding member of new organizations where he saw need. His work can be felt throughout the whole city of Winnipeg, in organizations such as the St. Norbert Arts Centre, the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre – where Atwell was instrumental in the creation of its successful Just TV program – Manitoba Music, the Black Educators Association of Manitoba, the Manitoba Association of Playwrights, Manitoba Film & Music and many more. Atwell mentored many young and aspiring artists, with a particular interest in inspiring youth through music and the arts. His peers described him as a connector – and not just for music – and an essential go-to person in the music community.
Atwell will be formally honoured as the Heritage Award recipient during a special livestreamed event on Friday, September 25, where all winners of the Western Canadian Music Awards will be revealed as well.