Triplets of renown

Got a PM the other day, oh, yesterday I guess, from Pierre Schryer, and that felt like quite a blast from the past!

When ‘Northumbrian Music Nights’ was in full promotions mode (between ’95 and ’05 I guess), we were fielding at least 30 gigs a year (between the village hall and the King’s Head), leaning heavily on a few special agents who sent us some glorious musicians over the years. Our job was to stay solvent, after an initial inpetus of a much-appreciated, if seemingly derisory, £5000 grant from the EU’s LEADER2 programme, and we eked out financial survival for the group while putting on some pretty brilliant concerts over an exciting decade. No brag, just fact.

Of these concerts, some of the best were those featuring Pierre Schryer and his band, and they had a special place in my heart too, coming as they did from Northern Ontario (Thunder Bay, to be precise, a connurbation along the western shores of Lake Superior), with an extra French-Canadian influence.

Anyway, well, it turns out that Pierre was one of triplets who originally found fame throughout their homeland by virtue of their musicality on stage, effectively from the time they began fiddle lessons at the age of eight. But Pierre was the one who went on to tour the world with his music, always bringing back new musician friends to his ‘Celtic Celebrations’ event in his home town, which he and his wife Merrie (then Principal Trumpet at the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, but now Professor of Trumpet at the University of Victoria School of Music, British Columbia) created from scratch.

So the Personal Message from Pierre came all the way from Victoria, it turns out, with his family nearly grown now (we remember him proudly showing off Merrie’s bump as she held a sustained note on her instrument) and he’s hoping to put on a small tour with his fiddle and a guitarist virtuoso, over here sometime in June, on their way up to Edinburgh, inevitably. Allendale always was a great stop-over point for touring musicians, if we could fit them in — in this case, the date in question is already booked at the village hall! Although we stopped music promotions over a decade ago now, it’s lovely to reminisce about one of our favourite bands, and I think I’ve managed to find a perfect regional promoter for this duo, thereby possibly finding ourselves in a delighted audience, rather than going through the heavy slogging of promoting!

Now, as to triplets: the photograph of the Coulson triplets is presented by the Allen Valleys Local History Group, and somehow it seems to fit with this piece too. Mattie Coulson was the Manager of the Allendale Co-operative Society Ltd for decades, of course. I think though, if anybody ever asked him for a party piece, he’d gracefully demur! But then, Mattie still found fame in our hearts, even though having a stage presence wasn’t an important part of his persona, at all.


  1. I well remember Pierre Schryer and his group of musicians. Saw all his concerts locally n bought his cd’s. Would be great to see him perform again.

  2. The distant days of NMN still have the sweat shirt…..wonder if it’s a collectors item yet, we had fun , stress, and many an anxious wait for full ticket bookings, but nothing would have happened with out Larry and Carries hard work, with a bit of help with some happy helpers, great time of my life and yes I recall Pierre too.

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