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Terry Kelly Receives 2005 CCMA Humanitarian Award

For Immediate Release:

Halifax, NS

Last night in Calgary, Alberta, the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) presented Terry Kelly with the 2005 CCMA Humanitarian Award during their Industry Awards Gala. This award is voted on by the Board of Directors of the CCMA and is presented to a person(s) and/or event(s) that have made an outstanding contribution involving extraordinary time and energy in the support of humanitarian causes through country music

CCMA President Heather Ostertag delivered a heartfelt presentation to a surprised Terry Kelly. During her speech, Ostertag said “…He is being honoured this evening because of all the work that he does in helping to make the world a better place. His heart has no boundaries. He is authentic and the way he encourages people to be their best is inspiring. Through motivational presentations Terry has given of himself to tens of thousands of students, teachers, parents, government and business employees throughout Canada and the United States. Many of these have been done without any monetary benefit

Using personal anecdotes peppered with humour, songs and audience participation, Terry encourages individuals to develop their own values and strategies for living and working happily and healthily. ….

Twelve year old Cameron Van Welter was one of the children greatly influenced by Terry and he was on hand last night to escort Terry to the podium. During Ms. Ostertag’s presentation, she delivered Cameron’s words.

“The year that I met Terry I was having a lot of difficulty in school. I was getting suspended almost every day for defying authority. I was a very angry person. Anything would set me off. Terry offered to play a show at my school free of charge the next time he was in Toronto provided that I agreed to introduce him. He came to Toronto shortly after we had talked and he played not one but two shows, one for students in Grades 1-5, and another for students in Grades 6-8”

“My life has changed a lot over this last year. I am much calmer and kinda sorta patient. Terry among other things got me started to play guitar, and I do that a lot now so he has been a big influence in my life. This year I was given the Award for ‘Most Improved’ by my Principal and Terry was one of the influences who helped me get a better attitude. I didn’t make the change overnight. It was an everyday thing. This may sound simple, it isn’t and Terry helped me understand that. Thank you Terry.”

Between the lines

By Clare-Marie Gosse
The Independent

Musical drama based on First World War letters sent from soldiers to women they left behind

Writers Sandy Mackay and John Meir used research and material from hundreds of real-life letters written during the First World War to build the script for Two Minutes of Silence – A Pittance of Time, inspired by Newfoundland singer/songwriter Terry Kelly’s song, A Pittance of Time. The musical drama, soon to tour the province, features local actors Brad Hodder and Sara Tilley in two principal roles. The script unravels around the emotional inadequacy of letters – all John and Elsie have to span their separation – and private monologues revealing the newlyweds’ true frustration and pain.

The First World War saga features original live music as well as some well known war songs, Kelly performs centre stage with musicians Floyd King and Trevor Mills. They’re flanked by Tilley and Hodder in emotional time capsules. The unique and moving production explores the unspoken pain behind so many written words. Elsie, the lonely sender of socks and chocolate, privately rages and sobs at the insignificance of her gestures, and John realizes the impossibility of ever describing to her the suicide of fighting at the front, the friends dead, the rats, the lice, the stench.

“They never really told one another what was actually going on because they were being protective of one another and in the letters we get to read between the lines,” Kelly tells The Independent. “We figured the letters would have an emotional hold – everybody knows what that feels like on some level … everybody knows what it’s like to be away from someone.”

Kelly is a well known Canadian celebrity, known for his award-winning singing and songwriting, his athletic achievements, professional and motivational speaking, and perhaps, most notably, his energy for life. Kelly contracted eye cancer as an infant, and his family in St. John’s made the difficult but ultimately rewarding decision to send him at the age of seven to the Halifax School for the Blind, which nurtured a love for music and his love for a challenge.
Last year he was awarded the Order of Canada.

The inspiration for his song, which, in turn, inspired the performance, Two Minutes of Silence – A Pittance of Time, came four years ago when he witnessed a rowdy customer in Shoppers Drug Mart. Out of respect for Remembrance Day, a request was made over the public address system for customers to join staff in two minutes of silence.

One customer refused. Angered by the experience, Kelly went home and started to compose. “I have a venting mechanism by writing songs so I wrote a song in response to that. From that we put a music video together and then from that we got the idea to maybe put a show together.”

The tour kicked off with a special media preview at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre November 3. From there, the musical drama will be performed in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI before returning to Newfoundland and Labrador with multiple dates across the province, wrapping up back in St. John’s on November 21.

“This is a musical drama about remembrance,” says Kelly. “… and we chose to set this in the First World War because it was supposed to have been the war to end all wars but it was really a war that was the beginning of modern warfare as it were … airplanes were being used and explosives and bombs, so even though it was different from today, much is the same

Kelly’s Pittance of Time Moving Musical Theatre

By Andrea Nemetz, Entertainment Reporter
The Chronicle Herald

Those who didn’t find their eyes wet with tears – or at least misty – at the end of “Two Minutes of Silence: A Pittance of Time” at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on Tuesday night are likely made of stone.

The musical-theatrical production, which features music by singer-songwriter Terry Kelly along with A First World War love story written by John Meir and Sandy MacKay, is well done throughout with an exceptionally moving ending.

Tuesday was the first performance of the show, which Kelly hopes to take on a regional tour next year around Remembrance Day. Tonight it will be performed at Ottawa’s Centrepoint Theatre.

Inspired by Kelly’s song “A Pittance of Time”, which appears on his CD “The Power of the Dream”, the two-hour show is structured a bit like the runaway hit musical Mamma Mia.

Mamma Mia features hit ABBA songs but isn’t about the Swedish supergroup. The entirely unrelated plot is advanced by the infectious disco rhythms of the iconic 70’s band.

A Pittance of Time features some of Order of Canada member Kelly’s biggest songs –“Moment to Moment”, “Safe Home”, “In My Father’s House” as well as “A Pittance of Time” – with the modern day songs used to illustrate the emotions of the two main characters whose lives play out more than 80 years ago.
Those characters are newlyweds Elsie (Jen MacDowell) and John Murray (Josh MacDonald) whose wedding has been rushed ahead before John departs for Europe.

Mine manager’s son John has volunteered for service even though his father could have secured him an exemption after Albert, his best friend from childhood, convinces him it’s the right thing to do.

The story is told through letters written by John, first on his journey overseas and then from the trenches, and by an increasingly despairing Elsie left behind at home. It begins on Oct. 1, 1914 with John jauntily declaring he’ll be home by Christmas and ends on April 15, 1917 with the battle at Vimy Ridge.
The sets are simple – Elsie at home with a wooden writing desk and box of letters and John behind a wall of sandbags – and the costumes evoke the period.
The spotlight shines on each character as they read the letters in which they pour out their hopes, fears, thoughts on the war and love for each other.
In between letters, Kelly, on electronic keyboard, Floyd King on guitar and Joe Butcher on bass perform Kelly’s hits as well as war songs including “ Pack Up Your Troubles”,“Its’s A Long Way to Tiperary”,“Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” and the “Whiffenpoof Song”.

After John learns he will be a father Kelly illustrates his euphoria by singing “We Can Do Anything”. When Elsie moves in with her parents after giving birth to little Victoria, Kelly shows her seeking the safety and warmth of family by singing “In My Father’s House”.
Kelly is at his best pouring his heart into his own material while MacDowell is outstanding, capturing the shifts of emotions of the woman left behind with ease and grace. And MacDonald is every inch the young idealistic soldier.

The production ends with a screening of the video for “A Pittance of Time”, a tribute to soldiers of yesteryear and the peacekeepers of today.

2003 East Coast Music Awards (ECMA)

At the 2003 East Coast Music Awards in Halifax, Nova Scotia Terry received his seventh ECMA award – Roots Traditional Solo Artist of the Year.

During the ECMA Industry Awards Brunch, Tony Kelly (Terry’s brother, manager and business partner) was awarded Industry Builder of the Year.

Governor General Announces New Appointments to the Order of Canada

“Ottawa – Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, today announced 100 new appointments to the Order of Canada and six promotions within the Order….”

Among the appointments is Newfoundland native (Nova Scotia resident) Terry Kelly.

The following citation was written by the Governor General’s Office and is posted on her website ( ) with those of the other new appointees.

Terry Kelly, C.M.

Member of the Order of Canada

“A man of determination, perseverance and talent, he inspires people of all ages. Blind since the age of two, he uses his own life experiences to motivate others. A popular motivational speaker, he discusses fears and dreams, challenges and goals and the value of enthusiasm. A runner at the 1980 Paralympics, he has also made his mark as a musician and is the recipient of six East Coast Music Awards. His latest album is the first CD ever to be released with liner notes in Braille. A portion of the revenues from every album sold is donated to the World Braille and Literacy Foundation and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.”

Saint Mary’s University Honours Terry Kelly

At Spring Convocation 2002 Saint Mary’s University acknowledged Terry Kelly and his work with an Honourary Doctorate of Arts.

“Terry’s ‘vision without sight’ is truly remarkable and his commitment to the personal growth and development of individuals of all ages and abilities is commendable. Terry’s motto and trademark phrase ‘We Can Do Anything’, certainly reflects his zest for life, perpetual commitment to all people, and his contagious enthusiasm to ‘Do It Now’.”

Singer Kelly launches CD with Braille on liner notes

By Greg Guy / Entertainment Editor
The Halifax Herald

Terry Kelly made history on Tuesday by officially unveiling the first CD ever that includes Braille in the liner notes.
The Blind Newfoundland singer/songwriter launched the CD, called “The Power of the Dream”, in style Tuesday at a Government House reception, hosted by Lt.-Gov. Myra Freeman and her husband, Lawrence.

The multiple-ECMA Award-winner remembers listening to music and yelling to his wife, Anne, “who was busy making dinner at the time,” and asking her to read the liner notes.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have these notes in Braille,’ ” Kelly told the invited guests.

Besides the Braille pressed on the liner notes, the CD is also enhanced. The Blind and visually impaired with Braille printers can print out the credits and words to the songs.

The liner notes include the credits and tracks of the songs in Braille.

The CD features 13 original Kelly songs, one which he had co-written with Floyd King called In the Garden, and another he penned with Mark Murphy and Maureen Ennis of Newfoundland’s the Ennis Sisters, called Guardian Angel. Other high-profile collaborators include Lennie Gallant, Bruce Guthro and Ron Hynes.

Tuesday’s launch was also a celebration of literacy and music.

Elizabeth Hamilton of the Canadian Institute for the Blind in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. explained the history of Braille and said for the blind and visually impaired, Braille equals literacy, print, equality, independence, employment and choice.

For the first time in the history of Government House, guests were sent their invitations in Braille.

Lt.-Gov. Freeman also presented a framed certificate printed in Braille to Kelly, along with a printed copy.

While attending the World Blind Union’s Fifth General Assembly in Australia in November 2000, Kelly was asked by his friend Euclid Herie, who was in his last term as president of the World Blind Union, to perform a song that would close the conference.

“I’d written the music and pulled together some of the lyrics, but the heart and soul of the song came together after I listened to those people speak at the conference,” Kelly said, of the title track, “The Power of the Dream”.

“Intellectually I’d always known I was fortunate to live in Canada, but when I was among people who painted pictures with words and emotions really brought it home.”

“The Power of the Dream”, with a chorus “Changing what it means to be blind/Step by step one day at a time/Still much to do but it shall be/That the sighted eyes of the world/Will be able to see” means a great deal to Kelly personally.

“It’s about empowerment and taking responsibility for the dreams you have,” Kelly said. “It’s about the power we can find inside of us all.”

Kelly will give a dollar from every CD sold to the World Braille and Literacy Foundation and the CNIB.

At the ceremony, Marjorie and Sheldon Fountain were presented certificates for their contribution to the CNIB in Nova Scotia and P.E.I.

Kelly along with musicians Floyd King and Bruce Jacobs performed three tunes from the CD, including “You Have All of Me”, “Hold On To Me” and “The Power of the Dream”.

The CD hit stores on Tuesday, distributed by EMI and Tidemark

Honourary Doctor of Civil Law

On May 17, 2001, the University of King’s College bestowed on Terry Kelly, at its 212th Encaenia (convocation), an honourary Doctor of Civil Law.

Terry Kelly was nominated for his contribution to humanity.

As a composer, entertainer, athlete, motivational speaker, and human being, Terry has moved people across Canada and around the world to look at life differently. Blind from an early age, this award-winning recording artist created his “We Can Do Anything” motivational presentation in 1995 to inspire others to live in a positive manner and overcome personal handicaps, great or small.

Terry’s gift is that he inspires both children and adults to make the most of their lives, and in doing so, changes the preconception of what people think it means to be handicapped.

From school classrooms to corporate boardrooms, from the recording studio to international conferences, from national radio shows to the pilot seat of an aircraft, from the controls of a Seadoo to the running of a sub-five minute mile, Terry Kelly has been there. He has used these life experiences to motivate tens of thousands to live their own lives to the fullest and, by his example, overcome personal “handicaps” of all types.

Honoured With King Clancy Award

Terry is one of three people honoured with the 2000 King Clancy Award, a highly coveted award presented to Canadians who have increased public awareness about the potential of disabled people.

The King Clancy Award was established in November 1986 by the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons. It commemorates the contributions of the late King Clancy, a well-known hockey player and humanitarian, and was formally presented to Terry, Walter Gretzky (Wayne’s father) and Stephanie MacClellan at the Sixteenth Great Valentine Gala at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle.