Saturday, March 29, 2014

Local News

The Bandman's Last Bow

Strahl delivers Charlie Young tribute to the House

Released by Robert Pearsall/PA to MP Mark Strahl


Charlie Young was a talent local Chilliwack musician entertaining people for 80 years.


hilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP, Mark Strahl stood in the House of Commons today to remember local Rotarian, Charlie Young.


"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Charlie Young, a local music and Rotary Club legend, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 94.

"Born in the UK, Charlie joined his first music group at the age of 14, playing the clarinet and saxophone. He continued to perform for the next 80 years, with his last gig at the Chilliwack Rotary Club luncheon, just five days before he died.

"Charlie joined the World War II effort, and brought comfort to allied troops all over Europe with his music. It was during the war that he met and married his beloved Mary, also a musician. They made beautiful music together.

"They moved to Canada in 1955, and soon after formed the Copper Room Orchestra, performing at the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel. Their award winning music was the backdrop for many a memorable evening on that dance floor.

"Charlie's memorial service was fittingly a musical celebration, with his last band, the Rotations, doing their best to play on, even though their heart and soul had passed on.

"'Forever Young' Charlie Young left a lasting legacy. He will be missed."



See more photos on the Facebook tribute page here and read his obituary from Henderson's Funeral Home below.



YOUNG, Charles (Charlie) Henry March 29,1919 to March 05,2014

Charles YOUNG ObituaryCharlie passed away after a short illness in the Chilliwack General Hospital.

Charlie was predeceased by his wife Mary in 2008 and is survived by daughter June and husband Rick Deeley of Summerland, BC; granddaughter Ann Koenig, RCMP Inspector of Toronto, Ontario; great granddaughters Emma and Amy of Toronto, Ontario; brother Jackie; nephew Derek Young and Liz Rhodes and many other nieces and nephews and good friends.

Charlie was predeceased by his brother William. Charlie grew up in Sunderland, UK and at the tender age of 14 joined Archies Juvenille Band as a clarinet and saxophone player. He continued to play until his last gig of the weekly meeting of the Chilliwack Rotary Club 5 days before he died. Eighty years of beautiful music! Charlie served as a military musician during the war, playing for the troops in France and Holland, and Belgium after D-Day.

After the war Charlie headed up his own band that performed all over Scotland and northern England. Some of the concerts were broadcast on the B.B.C.

In the mid fi fties a musician friend heard of an opportunity in Canada with various Military Bands, and after the deprivations of post war rationing in the UK the opportunities in Canada seemed very inviting. Charlie and family arrived at Camp Chilliwack in 1955 where Charlie joined the re-knowned Royal Canadian Engineers Band as lead Saxophonist.


Shortly after getting established Charlie, wife Mary (piano), Les Barker (tenor sax) and Tom Hardin (drums) formed the Copper Room Orchestra at the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel. Charlie, Tom and Les played with the Military Band during the day and the Copper Room in the evening until midnight six days a week.

After retirement in 1985 Charlie was asked to join the Rotary Club of Chilliwack where he and Mary brought their musical talents. At this time they were joined by John Blessin (bass) and either Mark Blessin or Paul Blessin on drums.


This group has played for the meetings with the addition of Joanne Hankey (piano), Paula Dewit (trumpet) and John Forman (percussion). Charlie was a real professional even learning new music in the last few years. The Rotations are going to miss him. Charlie was a jokester.


He was famous for the fake mouse that suddenly appeared from his shirt pocket and also the crazy wigs and goofy glasses he wore. The Blessin family will feel the loss of Charlie very profoundly as he was considered to be part of the family.


Donations can be made to Rotary Polio Eradication Program. A musical celebration of life was held at Henderson's Funeral Home, Chilliwack, on Thursday, March 13th at 2:00pm. Online condolences can be left here courtesy of



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