Neil Perry – Entertainer – Deceased

Neil Perry (1918-2010)

Neil was born on September 3, 1918 at the Alnwick Indian Reserve in Alderville, Ontario. His parents were Helen Crowe and Richard Whiteduck Perry. He lived on the Reserve until the age of five, at which time his family relocated to Ardoch, Ontario where his father's relatives resided.

Neil showed an interest in music at an early age by watching and listening to his father play the fiddle. Playing the fiddle came naturally for him and before his feet could touch the floor when he sat on a chair, he was going with his father to entertain for dances and house parties.

As he got older he taught himself how to play the guitar and also taught his brother Harold, and sister Ruby. He entertained with the guitar socially but eventually the fiddle became a life long passion. His style of playing was very unique and most everyone that knew him could identify his music.

After getting married and building a home on the North Road in Plevna, he and his wife Flora and brother Harold formed a band called "The Perry Orchestra”. Neil was on fiddle, Flora on hawaiian guitar and Leon Clement as caller. "Darling Nelly Gray" was his specialty. They played for many dances in Northbrook, Flinton and Harlowe, Ontario. Every dance ended with the same tune, “Home Sweet Home“.

Even though he was playing for dances weekly, he still made time to have a jam with friends and musicians, two of whom were George and Laurie Perry.

When Harold moved to Toronto, Walter Cameron joined the band as lead singer and guitar player, Gilbert Dunham on piano or bass, fiddle or accordion, and Hartsel White as caller. At this time, they started playing every Saturday night in Ompah and Friday nights in Plevna when they needed a band.

The fiddle was an important part of his life and he played it almost every day. It seemed only fitting when on December 1, 2010, at the age of 92, Neil passed suddenly at home after playing one last tune on his favourite fiddle.

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