The warm, upbeat music of Django Reinhardt reverberates throughout the Shuswap Pie Company Thursday evening, July 26, as diners enjoy the Willy Gaw Gypsy Jazz Experience with Bill Lockie on bass, Darrin Herting, Willy Gaw and Jordan Dick (not pictured) on guitar, and Richard Owings (not pictured) on violin on July 26, 2018. (File photo)

Show will go on in honour of Shuswap musician Willy Gaw

Fundraising concert at North Shuswap Community Hall to support family

By Barb Brouwer


The Shuswap music world is mourning one of their own this week, following the death of well-known musician Willy Gaw.

A fundraiser to help with health-care costs will go ahead in Celista this Saturday, but organizer and longtime friend Michel Brideau says funds raised will now go to support Willy’s wife Pamela and family in the days ahead.

Brideau had been thinking about planning something for some time when his neighbour, Renae Hollingsworth, recently told him, ‘I just saw Willy; we need to do something.’”

“She was the spark that got me going,” says Brideau of the event that will feature a silent auction, dinner and, of course, music. “I told her if she could take on dinner, I would organize the rest.”

And Brideau’s wife, Alice, is organizing the silent auction which has received beautiful donations, including two silk screen prints by noted artist Steve Mennie and a guitar from Acorn Music.

Brideau, who has known Gaw since the 1970s, say his friend’s passion for the past 10 years has been swing music.

Some of Gaw’s favourite musical friends joined him in the Willy Gaw Quartet – Richard Owings on violin, Bill Lockie on stand-up bass, Jordan Dick on lead guitar and Gaw on rhythm guitar. The quartet performed at the 2018 Roots and Blues Festival. Gaw also played in a trio with Bill Lockie and Jordan Dick and made beautiful music with Darrin Herting and Jacob Verberg.

Read more: Passion of Gypsy jazz in Django

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Read more: Django Reinhardt tribute

“Gadgology – was just phenomenal,” says Brideau of another quartet that included Lockie, Verburg, Owings and Gaw, and the gypsy jazz they performed.

Several of Gaw’s friends will perform Saturday night: Making Do, The Tappalachian String Band, Lee Creek Sunday Group, Jacob Verberg and Stephanie Clifford, Three Birchbark members including Richard Ownings, Sue Kyle and Alan Bates, Suzi Rawn, Glenn Hobbs and Jan Kedelka, Gillian Cran and Linz Kenyon and Jude Bastion.

“We’re really hoping to fill it up,” says Brideau of the hall that seats 200. “Our only goal is for everyone to be happy and generous.”

The doors to the North Shuswap Community Hall at 5456 Squilax-Anglemont Rd. in Celista open at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 for the silent auction, which closes at 6. A pasta and salad meal will be served beginning at 5 and the music will start around 7.

Admission is by donation, a meal ticket is $15 and there will be a 50/50 draw.

Anyone who is unable to attend Saturday’s event, is welcome to donate by transfer. Send an email to for information.


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Francois Et Guillaume, aka Willy Gaw and Darrin Herting, fill the hot, smoky Ross Street Plaza with some cool Gypsy jazz during a Downtown Live performance Aug. 9, 2018. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)

The Ghost Notes, with Mike Scharf on saxophone, Willy Gaw and Darren Herting on guitar, and Bill Lockie on upright-bass, fill the Shuswap Pie Company with warm, upbeat Gypsy jazz during a concert on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (File photo)

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