Country music hall of famer gives the gift of music

ARICHAT: A member of the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame is providing the gift of music this Christmas.

West Arichat resident, and local country music legend Robert Bouchard, stopped by St. Ann Community and Nursing Care Centre in Arichat on Dec. 9 and dropped-off CDs to keep residents of the facility entertained over the holidays.

“I donated the CDs because I can’t be here as often as I normally would, obviously,” he said of the public health restrictions. “They seemed to like what I do, so instead of being here in person, I’m here on disc.”

Before COVID-19, Bouchard performed for residents of the Arichat facility on Sunday afternoons.

“It’s always fun. I do a lot of older stuff, I do a lot of stuff not much past the 90s,” he said. “I mix it up and they seem to enjoy just about anything. They send out requests once in a while which is neat too.”

St. Ann administrator Lynn LeBlanc recalled she was approached by Isle Madame musician and volunteer Delores Boudreau about Bouchard’s offer.

“When Delores called and said you were willing to do this, we thought that was fantastic that you were still thinking of us,” LeBlanc told Bouchard. “So that was really nice.”

Director of care, Olivia Boudreau, said live entertainment is very popular with residents.

“Every Sunday, we used to have somebody come in a play music,” Boudreau said. “They’ll be glad to have music back, for sure. They all miss it.”

Because Bouchard is so popular among the residents and willing to volunteer his musical talents, the administration decided to make this donation extra special.

“When Robert comes, they enjoy it immensely,” LeBlanc said. “I haven’t told them that this is happening. That we’re going to be getting some CDs, so we’re going to have a little Christmas gathering around the 15th and we’re going to have this as part of their gift. I think that’ll be really nice. They’ll really enjoy that.

“We thought we should make something special with it because he’s good to come in, so I think it’ll be a nice treat for them.”

Installed as a member of the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014, Bouchard is celebrating 51 years in the music industry. He made his first television appearance at the age of 14, and started playing professionally when he was 20.

“I did some recording too over the years, it’s been fun, I had a great time, and no regrets whatsoever,” he said looking back at his career.

Bouchard added kudos to the staff of St. Ann for taking care of residents.

“You guys do a hell of a good job with the seniors here,” Bouchard told LeBlanc and Boudreau. “The staff gets them up and dancing. Everybody’s happy, and it’s a really nice atmosphere.

“It’s a small gift but hopefully it puts a smile on a face or two.”