Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - OPINION -

Peo­ple who are blessed with a tal­ent are for­tu­nate. Those who pos­sess more than one ex­cep­tional abil­ity are ex­tra­or­di­nary. Paul Brandt is such an in­di­vid­ual. When the Cal­gar­ian was in­ducted into the Canadian Coun­try Mu­sic Hall of Fame, he demon­strated his cus­tom­ary com­mon sense and hu­mil­ity at the cer­e­mony.

“There’s some­thing about Cal­gary … that con­nects with the mu­sic com­mu­nity,” Brandt re­marked. “It’s not sur­pris­ing to me that so many peo­ple have come from Al­berta and made it on the world stage. There’s some­thing about it in the air.”

Brandt, of course, has been a fix­ture of the Canadian coun­try mu­sic scene for more than two decades. His early sin­gle, My Heart Has a His­tory, ap­peared on the Top 10 of Bill­board Hot Coun­try Songs — mak­ing him the first Canadian male singer to en­joy such suc­cess since Hank Snow in 1974.

Brandt re­ceived his nurs­ing ac­cred­i­ta­tion from the Univer­sity of Mount Royal — which was then a col­lege — in 1992, which is ev­i­dence of his car­ing na­ture. He has nur­tured his con­tact with the univer­sity ever since, even serv­ing as sto­ry­teller in res­i­dence.

His ac­com­plish­ments — and ded­i­ca­tion to the school — re­sulted in Brandt re­ceiv­ing an hon­orary de­gree this spring, which adds to the ac­co­lades he was awarded from the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge in 2009, among other recog­ni­tions.

“From early on in my ca­reer, the goal has been that the Paul Brandt legacy would not be about me,” he said dur­ing the cer­e­mony at Stu­dio Bell, home of the Na­tional Mu­sic Cen­tre and the Canadian Coun­try Mu­sic Hall of Fame.

“The fo­cus has been on pro­vid­ing fam­i­lyfriendly, world-class coun­try mu­sic, en­ter­tain­ing and en­light­en­ing, pro­vid­ing an es­cape and en­gag­ing friends and fans alike and de­vel­op­ing a platform to raise money and aware­ness for causes and projects that I be­lieve the world needs.”

What an in­spir­ing am­bi­tion. Brandt is not only a tal­ented singer, but a hu­man-rights ac­tivist who has most no­tably stood up against hu­man traf­fick­ing in Cal­gary, which is an of­ten un­seen but preva­lent scourge in the city.

He has also cham­pi­oned the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into miss­ing and mur­dered Indige­nous women.

Cal­gary is for­tu­nate to have many in­di­vid­u­als who can ex­cel in their cho­sen fields, while mak­ing im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions in other ar­eas.

Paul Brandt is among them. He pos­sesses tremen­dous song­writ­ing abil­i­ties and a won­der­ful voice. He also demon­strates care and aware­ness for his com­mu­nity, which is to be saluted. Cal­gary Her­ald

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