BRAMPTON, ONTARIO: “Music was definitely part of it, from an early age. In one form, one type, or another – there was always music around us.”
Harold MacIntyre spent his early childhood in Sugarcamp before moving to Port Hawkesbury at the age of 15. Next month, during a formal ceremony in Truro, MacIntyre will be inducted into the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame.
He will be accepting the honour alongside five other individuals at a Hall of Fame dinner and ceremony at the Best Western Glengarry on September 14th.
A self-professed ‘quiet guy’, MacIntyre has garnered a tremendous following and accumulated many accolades over his 40-year career. Recording eight albums and performing on several national television programs – including three guest appearances on the Tommy Hunter Show. MacIntyre has also shared the billing for several Nashville stars, including George Jones, Gene Watson, Freddy Fender, Bill Anderson and others.
Despite his impressive career, when asked about his experiences MacIntyre recalled one local performance in particular.
“I’ll tell you something: the greatest thrill of all was playing in the arena in Port Hawkesbury,” he recalled. “It’s sort of that whole thing about going back home and playing for your home town crowd. I remember when I played there, it was the first time I had been back home. It was a big honour for me – they made me the Parade Marshal, that year. Yup, that was a big honour for me.”
MacIntyre says he has fond memories of growing up around Sugarcamp and Port Hawksbury.
“It was a pretty close place; we were a tight knit group – everybody knew everybody. There was a lot of Scotch music, a lot of fiddle music. There was a lot of time for singing and walking on down the dirt road, that’s for sure.”
He adds that while his family didn’t play instruments themselves, there was no shortage of encouragement when he expressed an interest.
“I probably had an itching to play. I always enjoyed singing. Once I got the opportunity to get in with the band and make some money at it I thought, ‘Well, this is it.’”
MacIntyre says he has always had a passion for music. Though, he credits the atmosphere of the times and the musicians around him as the inspiration to spark his industry success over the next four decades.
“I never thought music would become a career for me until I got to Ontario. I got into my first band and then I started to take it a little more seriously. At that time, there were a lot of people that I worked with, and hung around. So, I guess my inspiration was a little bit of everything.”
His upcoming Hall of Fame induction is a bit of a shock for him.
“Well, I’m a little surprised, to start with. That’s something that never crossed my mind, until sometime last year when people started bringing it up to me. That was the first I’d ever really thought about it. You know, I don’t think too many people start out thinking they’re going to end up in the Country Music Hall of Fame…. and here I am.”
Hall of Fame President, Roger Bleasdale, says the organization is pleased to honour such a talented and distinguished group of inductees, this year.
“They have a very broad range of talents and it is their willingness to share that talent with audiences across the province and beyond that keeps the country music tradition alive and well in Nova Scotia.”
For MacIntyre, the support of his home town means the most.
“I’m choked up at the overwhelming response I’ve received from Port Hawkesbury. I’m just honoured and totally flabbergast, I must say.”
MacIntyre will be coming home to perform in Cape Breton this Fall. He will play at the Port Hawkesbury Legion, Branch 43, on September 20. He’ll also be at the Admiral Lounge in Port Hood on September 21.