Joy pro­vided through mu­sic

Her­man Har­ris, host of ‘The Har­ris and Har­ris Coun­try Jam­boree’, dead at 83

The Central Voice - - Classified - BY ROSIE MULLALEY [email protected]­gram.com Twit­ter: Te­lyRosie

The year ended on a sad note for many peo­ple in the Har­bour Grace area as they mourn the death of a beloved cit­i­zen, mu­si­cian, vol­un­teer and gen­tle­man.

Her­man Har­ris, 83, died Fri­day at the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal after a brief ill­ness.

As the news of his death spread through­out the com­mu­nity, con­do­lences im­me­di­ately poured in to the fam­ily, in­clud­ing sev­eral mes­sages on the Face­book page, which was shared with his wife, Ma­rina.

The cou­ple, who were mar­ried for 61 years, were well-known in the com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly for their vol­un­teer work and their per­for­mances on the va­ri­ety tele­vi­sion show, “The Har­ris and Har­ris Coun­try Jam­boree,” which Her­man hosted with their old­est daugh­ter, Chris­tine.

For many years while the show ran on the com­mu­nity chan­nel, it at­tracted hun­dreds of lo­cal singers and mu­si­cians, many of whom went on to big­ger and bet­ter things in the mu­sic in­dus­try.

“Sad to hear (about Her­man’s death),” Shan­neyganock’s Mark His­cock posted on Face­book.

“I had a few ap­pear­ances on Har­ris and Har­ris Jam­boree! Rest in peace, Her­man.”

Billy Sut­ton of The Fables told The Tele­gram that grow­ing up on Ban­ner­man Lake Road — bet­ter known in town as the Pipetrack — he knew the Har­ris fam­ily most of his life and that they were al­ways car­ing, help­ful peo­ple. He said Her­man and Chris­tine, in par­tic­u­lar, had a huge im­pact on his mu­sic ca­reer.

“(They) lit a fire in me that nei­ther I nor them even knew they were light­ing at the time,” said Sut­ton, who noted his brothers took gui­tar les­sons from Har­ris fam­ily mem­bers and that as a small boy, he would watch closely.

“The first chance I got to get my hands on that gui­tar, I had taken it in and, un­be­knownst to me, I was off to­wards a life em­bed­ded in mu­sic.”

At age 10, Sut­ton, his two brothers and friend Blair Verge formed a coun­try/folk band and ap­peared as guests on “The Har­ris and Har­ris Coun­try Jam­boree.” Dur­ing a tap­ing of the show, he first met His­cock, or as Sut­ton de­scribed him, “this kid in a sweater vest and salt and pep­per hat, propped up on a stool play­ing the ac­cor­dion and singing.”

Sut­ton would go on to work with His­cock on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, hav­ing played of­ten with Shan­neyganock.

“So, really, it was Her­man who is par­tially re­spon­si­ble for me tak­ing the road I took in life,” said Sut­ton, who also played with the En­nis Sis­ters, the Gov­ern­ment Rams and Ir­ish tra­di­tional ac­cor­dion group Cordeen.

Her­man and his wife went on to per­form count­less shows for peo­ple all over Con­cep­tion Bay and Trin­ity Bay, from Le­gions to se­niors’ homes.

“They are house­hold names in Con­cep­tion and Trin­ity Bay,” Sut­ton said. “Her­man Har­ris was a great hu­man be­ing who will be missed by many, many peo­ple.”

Her­man leaves to mourn three sons: Gor­don, Alex and Her­man Jr.; three daugh­ters: Chris­tine, Elva and Nena; and nine grand­chil­dren.

The Tele­gram pub­lished a story about the fam­ily in May, when Chris­tine re­ceived a kid­ney do­na­tion from her brother Alex, 31 years after Gord do­nated one of his kid­neys to her.

“The Har­rises are a fam­ily of car­ing and lov­ing peo­ple who would go to hell and back to help some­one out, the kind of peo­ple that al­ways seem to put oth­ers be­fore them­selves,” Sut­ton said.

“And Her­man, he just lived for mu­sic and the hap­pi­ness that it brought other peo­ple.”

FACE­BOOK PHOTO

Her­man Har­ris, who died Fri­day, Dec. 28, and his wife, Ma­rina, were house­hold names in the Con­cep­tion Bay and Trin­ity Bay ar­eas, par­tic­u­larly for their vol­un­teer work and weekly com­mu­nity TV show, “The Har­ris and Har­ris Coun­try Jam­boree.”

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