MacPherson, Lester


 Lester and his wife Gerry

 

Lester MacPherson is a well-known local performer in Kings County, Prince Edward Island, and has been a fixture at award shows, festivals and benefit concerts for many years. He was one of four children born to Angus and Jamie MacPherson of Glenmartin and started playing music at a young age. He grew up on a mixed farm in Glenmartin. He recalls having a good childhood there and remembers himself and his brother Sam as being quite close.

Lester’s father played the guitar at home, and his mother’s brothers Jim and Orwell O’Connor would come over and play with him. Lester first started playing at around age of thirteen or fourteen, mostly learning to play on his own. His Uncle Jim was the one who encouraged him to keep going, telling him that he was good at it. Later, Lester dedicated his Gospel album to him. He remembers buying a record - not only before his family had a record player, but before his family had electricity. The first time he played for a crowd was at the Murray River Hall in 1969; he got up on stage to play just one song at first. He recalls his legs shaking like crazy, and thought that everyone could see it. He asked God to just get him through the song, promising he would never get on stage again. However, when he finished singing, the crowd gave a nice round of applause and wanted him to do another. From that point on, he was hooked on performing. 

Lester married Gerry MacAulay in September of 1982 after meeting her through Gerry's mother Dot, also a well-known local talent. Together, they raised two children, Justin and Jessica. Jessica is a Resident Care Worker and works at a nursing home in Charlottetown, enjoying what she does. Justin is in the military and just finished an 8 month tour of duty in Iraq. His parents proudly display a picture in which he received a medal for his work.

It was in 1987 that Lester first started recording and has since turned out 8 tapes. Lester and Gerry are great supporters of their local community. Lester has played at thousands of benefit concerts over the years, doing as many as four a day on weekends. Gerry, Lester, and Roger Kelly established a community school in Cardigan in 1985. The school now has many programs, ranging from music to woodworking to stained glass and is a quite popular winter pastime. Gerry and Lester are still involved with it. Gerry used to sing at many benefit concerts as well, starting with her mother when she was young. Neither of Lester and Gery’s children have taken up music yet. 

Lester’s list of accomplishments in music is long and includes four music awards. He has won Male Artist of the Year with the PEI Music Awards, Country Male Artist of the year in 2002 and the Island-Wide Talent Competition in 1983. 

In 2004, Lester was part of Driftwood, a short tour of the Maritimes with Newfoundland group “Boys Green”. Lester never could really tour much because he found it difficult to get time off working as a deck hand and quarter master for Northumberland Ferries.

While we were at his house, he kindly offered to show us his “music room.” We figured that it would contain some of his tapes as well as those of local talent and such. This music room, however, would rival those of Hollywood collectors, containing many records still in their original packaging and some never having been played. He had to put 3 extra supports in his basement to support the weight of the records. He has signed photographs of some of the great musicians of old such as Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr., Jeannie C. Riley, Highway Men, and many more. He has band posters and memorabilia from tours of various musicians over the years, hundreds of music magazines, and much more. Music isn’t just a hobby to Lester, it is a passion. He has collected material over several decades and has run out of room. He has more items waiting in storage until he expands his music room. Every inch of wall space in Lester’s music room is covered with pictures; whether it be famous musicians of old or small town musicians he has played with over the years, they share the same space.

 

Click here to hear an audio clip of Lester's interview

 

Click the link below to hear Lester play "Trouble" in his younger days

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uA40rt5n81I&feature=player_detailpage

 

Click the link below to hear Lester play "Trouble" when he was a bit older

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9vuL_5nFHU&feature=player_detailpage

 

Written by Betty-Anne Acorn from the memories of
Lester Macpherson

In Partnership with