So I just happened to be driving into Harvey, New Brunswick, when I see this great big fiddle.
The armoured personnel carrier and the building give an idea of how large the fiddle is, but the picture of me reaching toward the top of it really puts it into perspective.
The fiddle is a monument to Don Messer, who was born May 9th, 1909 in Tweedside, New Brunswick, just outside of Harvey.
In 1929 Don Messer began his radio career on CFBO in Saint John, New Brunswick when he joined the station staff. He began putting together a small studio band of musicians and in 1934 they began a regular radio show for CBC on CHSJ under the name “New Brunswick Lumberjacks”. Don began making special appearances throughout the Maritimes and New England under the name “Backwoods Breakdown”.
In 1939, Don moved to Charlottetown, PEI and started working at CFCY as a music director. 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 Canadian radio show during the 1940s – 1960s and "Don Messer and His Islanders" began to tour outside of the Maritimes. “Don Messer and His Islanders” radio show ended in 1956. CBC television began airing a summer series called “The Don Messer Show” on August 7th, 1956.
The show continued through the fall as “Don Messer’s Jubilee” which carried on throughout the 1960s. In 1969, “Don Messer’s Jubilee” was cancelled with much protest.
On March 26th, 1973, Don Messer died in Halifax, Nova Scotia.