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Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

Fri, Apr 12, 2024

Rush receive Governor General's Performing Arts Award

Sat, May 5, 2012@10:10AM | comments removed/disabled

UPDATE - 7/17@11:40AM: Rush's acceptance speech is now available online at the Governor General's Performing Arts Award web site here (thanks Eric at Power Windows).

UPDATE - 6/1@11:56AM: Steve Gouveia is the guitarist for Des McAnnuf's band and he sent me this video of them performing Pinball Wizard with Townshend from the Gala.

UPDATE - 5/8@11:53AM: The Governor General's website now has a gallery of photos posted as well which you can check out here (thanks Don C).

UPDATE - 5/8@9:27AM: Here's an extensive photo gallery from Saturday night's event from photographer George Pimentel, including one great shot of Rush with Pete Townshend (thanks Andrew).

UPDATE - 5/7@10:18AM: This Ottawa Citizen article includes some comments from Matt Stone, who introduced Rush at the event:

... "I remember buying their cassettes, tearing home on my BMX, running inside and throwing them into my Walkman, and sitting down to my drum set and just destroying my mom's afternoon," Stone recalled. "Rush was definitely the first band I ever loved." ...

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UPDATE - 5/6@2:58PM: The Ottawa Citizen has posted a batch of photos (thanks The Sphere) from last night's Gala including one of Geddy with his mother, and there's also a short video of Pete Townshend performing.

UPDATE - 5/6@10:36AM: Here's a photo gallery from last night's event from the Toronto Star and another from The Calgary Sun (thanks Power Windows).

UPDATE - 5/6@9:47AM: Here's a camera phone video of the choir version of The Spirit of Radio along with the NAC Orchestra's rendition of Tom Sawyer from last night's ceremony (thanks TMMB2112):

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UPDATE - 5/6@8:43AM: Here's the short, 6.5-minute NFB film tribute to Rush called Inner Rush. You can check it out at this link (thanks djops). From the website synopsis:

This short film pays tribute to Rush, one of rock's most successful and popular bands of all-time. 'Humility' and 'rock and roll' don't usually appear together, yet the members of Rush (Geddy Lee, Neil Peart, and Alex Lifeson), reflect here on a career of making music built on craft, heart and a uncompromised commitment to push the limits - to always 'get better'. ...

Reader The Professor attended the ceremony and reports that Rush did not perform, but a children's choir did a short version of The Spirit of Radio and then the full National Arts Centre Orchestra did a version of Tom Sawyer. And there was one very cool surprise. The final honoree was Des McAnnuf - a director who had put together a musical theatre version of Tommy back in 1993. The closing number was he and his house band doing a medley from Tommy. They began with I'm Free and as they finished that, they introduced a special guest and out walks Pete Townsend, guitar in hand, and they break into Pinball Wizard followed by We're Not Gonna Take It. Given that Rush are all huge Who fans, this seems very appropriate.

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UPDATE - 5/5@10:33PM: Paul from The Canadian Music Scene has posted a batch of photos from the Red Carpet before the Gala at the National Arts Centre which you can check out here. This was the only opportunity for pictures to be taken. Paul reports that during the show all of the laureates sit in the first row of the second balcony along with the Governor General and his wife. Matt Stone of South Park fame was going to be introducing Rush before they were to be showing a short film on the band.

Yesterday evening the Governor General of Canada - David Johnston - presented the Governor General's Performing Arts Award (GGPAA) for Lifetime Artistic Achievement to Rush during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. All three members of the band were in attendance. Paul from the Canadian Music Scene was on hand and took a bunch of wonderful photographs from the event which you can view on his website here. There's also this short video of the band from CBC news coverage of the event which you can watch below or at this link. There will also be a public Gala held this evening at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in honor of the award recipients. It's still not known whether the band will perform at the Gala, but there was this hint from the Ottawa Citizen earlier in the week:

.... 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." ...

The Canadian Music Scene will also be on hand at tonight's Gala and will be posting photos and reports. Eric at Power Windows reported yesterday that at 10:30 PM EST the National Film Board of Canada will be presenting film tributes to all of the award recipients in the Screening Room and via the NFB's apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.

On Thursday the award recipients attended Question Period in the House of Commons along with some other ceremonies on The Hill. Several MPs took photos with the band and posted them to Twitter; here's Tony Clement with Alex and Neil, Peter Braid with Alex and Neil here and here, and Geddy with New Democratic Party MP Mylene Freeman. Here's an article from the Winnipeg Free Press on Rush's visit:

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. ...

The Inside Politics blog posted a video of the exchange between MPs Clement and Angus referenced above - Rush and the other award recipients are recognized towards the end of the video. The Huffington Post also had an article highlighting the Rush-imbued banter at this link.

Related Posts:
[Rush to receive Governor General's Performing Arts Award this coming Saturday, May 5th in Ottawa]
[Rush wins Governor General's Award]

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