Amidst all the formal attire and pageantry in the grand ballroom of Rideau Hall, Cummings, Bachman and McDougall appeared triumphant, a natural response to one of this country's highest honours that also comes with a $15,000 cash prize. The Guess Who has, with chart toppers like "American Woman" and "These Eyes," added a distinct Canadian flavour to rock and roll which is still evident today. One of the few Canadian bands who broke through the American border with Top 10 singles and millions of albums sold, the Guess Who has influenced legions of aspiring musicians and has proved that with a lot of talent and perseverance, anyone can go from playing their local community clubs to performing in front of Presidents, dignitaries and throngs of fans alike.
Millions of albums sold internationally is one thing, but to be recognized by one's own country for lifetime achievements in the arts is something far more special to our hometown boys.
Cummings, in particular, has not forgotten where he came from. Commenting that his throat ailment has improved, he is now free to reschedule the benefit gala for the newly-named Burton Cummings Theatre. Tentatively scheduled for some time in 2003, the concert will feature a performance by Cummings who hopes to raise money to refurbish the former Walker Theatre. A series of fundraising concerts is planned in order to ensure the long-term survival of downtown's gorgeous theatre. Cummings noted that this is the second building in Winnipeg which bares his name and that he wishes to "get back and take care of it."
On November 2, the band sang "Share the Land" at the awards gala at the National Arts Centre. Co-hosted by actor Colm Feore - who played Pierre Trudeau in the recent television film - and jazz singer Dorothee Berryman, the command performance will be taped for broadcast on CBC on January 2, 2003. Last Thursday, the band and the other winners were introduced to the House of Commons and partied on Parliament Hill.