Local News / Community
Mel Wilson takes his place on the wall
A group of close friends and former bandmates were on hand for the unveiling of a mural for High River's Mel Wilson on Wednesday. The painting by Don Hamm went up on the east side of Evelyn's Diner. Elaine Schow, who spearheaded the fundraising drive to get it done, says it's great to see it up on the wall. "It feels wonderful, it really does, I feel emotional, teary to see it, happy and I think it looks great. Don wouldn't let us see it, he did a mock-up on his computer, we said 'Oh yeah that looks great, we weren't allowed to see it again until we went to his studio about a week ago, I had a cry. "That was Melvin with his big hands. Ian Tyson was the one that called Melvin, 'Melvin Many Chords' so there's Melvin's big hands because Melvin knew a million chords and a million songs," she says. Schow says they hope to get some lights to show off the mural but that's not all. "We're going to put some speakers up with a Bose sound system and then people can have a little button to hit and Melvin will serenade you and Don said at Christmas time we'll go up there, we'll put green and red lights up and we'll put Mel playing Christmas songs." She also hopes to have a bench placed at the mural. Mel's son Jason says his father's spirit is all around the mural. "It's a real nice tribute to his memory, I'm glad to see it here and glad that everyone got involved and made it possible and really thankful and it's interesting because he used to teach right out of Randy's Roadhouse there (a building across the alley from the mural, used by a number of movies and TV shows) and lived across the street." He remembers special times with his dad fishing and travelling and being the 'roadie' for the band. Jason also remembers Mel's Christmas album recording. "I remember him recording it in the late 80s in the basement on a Yamaha tape deck that he had, it was a six-track tape deck so he did all the bass and all the instruments and it took a while, a few months to record and he got it mastered and then I would dub the cassette tapes and sell them at the farmer's market and then a few years later, about eight or nine years later, he got it digitally re-mastered and then cd's printed off of it." Jason says he still listens to it at Christmas and still has the songbook Mel played the songs from along with his notes as a keepsake. In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, HighRiverOnline and OkotokOnline encourage you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the HighRiverOnline or OkotoksOnline app.