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Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

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Rush to receive Governor General's Performing Arts Award this coming Saturday, May 5th in Ottawa

Wed, May 2, 2012@12:09PM | comments

Governor General's AwardUPDATE - 5/4@10:29PM: Here's a short video from news coverage of tonight's ceremony where Rush received the award (thanks Don C):

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UPDATE - 5/4@6:12PM: Eric at Power Windows reported the following late this afternoon:

Starting Saturday, May 5, at 10:30 p.m. ET, Canadians everywhere can watch the National Film Board of Canada's online film tributes to rock legends Rush, filmmaker Deepa Mehta, comedienne Mary Walsh and more, as the NFB honours the 2012 laureates of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards at the Screening Room and via the NFB's apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV. ...

Also, Paul from the Canadian Music Scene will be on hand at tonight's award presentation at the Governor General's place, Rideau Hall, as well as tomorrow's Gala - and he'll be posting photos and reports over the weekend.

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UPDATE - 5/4@7:50AM: The coverage keeps coming. The Inside Politics blog posted a video of this exchange between MPs Clement and Angus, who insert a bunch of Rush references into their banter for the benefit of the onlooking members of Rush. Rush and the other award recipients are recognized towards the end of the video (thanks Mark G). The Huffington Post also had an article highlighting the Rush-imbued banter at this link (thanks albatross70).

Rush at the House of CommonsUPDATE - 5/3@5:20PM: Here's an article from the Winnipeg Free Press on Rush's visit to the House of Commons today:

Lots of visitors stop by in the public galleries to watch question period, but few are "closer to the heart" of politicians than a visiting rock star. The prog-rock puns were flying faster than Neil Peart's drumsticks as MPs and ministers paid tribute to the members of Rush in the House of Commons. The iconic Canadian band are in Ottawa along with seven other recipients of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards, the country's highest artistic honour.Industry Minister Tony Clement, a diehard music fan, couldn't resist dropping reference to the band as he batted away opposition questions. Lead vocalist Geddy Lee said at a reception later that he enjoyed watching the political theatre in action. ...

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UPDATE - 5/3@4:29PM: And there's more! Here's a picture Geddy with New Democratic Party MP Mylene Freeman (thanks Paul N).

UPDATE - 5/3@3:57PM: And here are some more photos of the guys with MP Peter Braid here and here (thanks Paul N).

UPDATE - 5/3@3:51PM: In a follow up to Tony Clement's tweet, apparently all the Governor General's Award winners attended Question Period in the House of Commons today, and attended some other ceremonies on The Hill. Clement posted the following picture of himself talking with Alex Lifeson with Neil Peart in the background (thanks Paul N).

UPDATE - 5/3@2:31PM: Canadian Parlaiment member Tony Clement is a big Rush fan and just tweeted the following (thanks Matt C):

Om gosh Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart are all in the Commons Gallery! I'm gobsmacked.

So it's likely that all 3 members of the band will be at the Gala on Saturday. They'll be receiving the actual award in a private ceremony tomorrow.

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Back in early March Rush was announced as the recipient of a Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement. There will be a Gala held this coming Saturday, May 5th at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa where the band will be presented with the award. It's still not known whether any members of Rush will attend or - if so - whether the band will perform. From the Ottawa Citizen (thanks Louis G):

.... There's always a musical act among the annual recipients of the GG awards, and typically the musicians do perform. ... Rush, however, usually travels with a stage system that is massive. ... No way that's going to be possible at the NAC, especially during a gala where other performances and tributes will be held on the same stage. So how about - and I'm speculating here - a stripped down, acoustic performance of, say, Tom Sawyer, or Closer to the Heart? ... The National Arts Centre isn't talking, and director of communications Rosemary Thompson is cagey.

"We've been sworn to secrecy, but there's going to be one great surprise, one great musical surprise," Thompson tells me. "I can't say anything about whether it's Rush or not Rush, but there's one great musical surprise that'll definitely be worth being there for." ...

Sounds interesting. Tickets for the gala are available at the NAC box office, or through Here are Neil Peart's reactions to the award from the Cape Breton Post:

... "We are especially appreciative for the presentation of this lifetime achievement award now - while we are still active (Too active, our families might say!)" said Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart in an emailed statement, noting that the band was putting the finishing touches on its 20th studio album, "Clockwork Angels," with a fall tour planned. "Since our performance 'lifetimes' aren't quite over yet, this high honour is not just a reward; it is an inspiration. We will continue to try to earn it." ...