John Andrew Moore
1 December, 1918 – 25 April, 2021
MOORE, John Andrew – 102, of Cole Harbour. We the family announce the passing of our dear father on April 25, 2021 in the QE II Veterans Memorial Site. He is survived by his loving children; Paul (Carolyn) and (Vickie (Graham), four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren. He was the son of the late Richard and Mary (Colvert) Moore. My uncle Norman Moore was the impetus behind dad's learning to play. He died before he was 50 in Paris, Ontario where he lived most of his life. Before he left here he played fiddle in those days when CHNS was a new station on the air ... and he and his little "band" played 15 minutes a couple of nights a week playing country music. As you know, radio carries really good at night... especially in the summer. Norman was getting mail from all over the U.S. and Canada. He played local dances and his little brother (dad) would sit outside and listen. Eventually, he traded an old catcher's mitt to another kid for an old ukulele and taught himself to play, he was around 10 or 11. He and his brothers,Harold and Allen were well known in the area. Harold and Allen worked as the "Harmony Twins" and dad usually accompanied them ... although Harold played guitar. They were BIG on CHNS. That all lasted until around 1940 when Harold joined the R.C.N. Later, mid-war, Butter got called up into the Army and wound up in North Africa and Italy. Harold's ship, corvette K-234 ... HMCS REGINA, was torpedoed in the English Channel on August 8, 1944. Hit in the magazine, the ship went down in 28 seconds and Harold was one of the 30 odd men who were killed. Butter made it home and then along came the Moore Brothers ... depending on the job, there would be a BIG band with horns and a solid rhythm section. Butter and dad would sing together or Butter alone, on the ballads. Never home on a New Year's Eve ... always booked to play somewhere. They also had other configurations of small combos. In 1959 (approx) the small combo was playing down at the "Sands Club" @ Silver Sands. Dad came home one night from that job, ... raving about this young fella ( there with his friends who asked if he could sing with the band ...Sure!) From then on, this same group came every Saturday to the dance and the "young fella" sang one or two numbers. This was Denny Doherty ... long before he became a "Papa".
Later he graduated to a four string tenor guitar and played dances all over in the area for years ... until (about) 1951/52 he came home with a Les Paul gold top guitar. He eventually sold it for a lighter Gibson because the Les Paul hurt his back.
Dad did his new entry training for the navy in Toronto of all places ... and they were billoted in the horse barn at the CNE grounds. Dad puked his guts up more than once on the Great Lakes. Anyway, someone invited these boys to a mixer at Casa Loma where they had a big band and a guy who played ukulele and did George Formby novelty songs out in front of the band. The guys dad was with asked the guy if dad could play his uke during intermission. The guy said sure ... figuring that probably couldn't hurt the instrument ...everybody will feel good that their buddy had the chance to play. Then dad starts to noodle around and actually play. He did Formby's stuff better than Formby ... and almost immediately had the other musicians around him when he would go from one song to another, changing key on the fly and tempo. The owner of the uke just about shit his drawers. That's how good the old man was. Almost every Saturday or Sunday breakfast around home would end close to noon. Because dad would get the uke or guitar out and we would sing along ... four part harmony was nothing for us. I know songs that NO one else my age will ever know. Dad learned them from his father and off the old cylinder grammaphone.
Dad was one of a kind that's for sure. I was thinking the other day ... he used to drag me around to every rehearsal for every show he was in, and then some. When he and my uncle had "The Loft" on Silver's Hill ... I saw the remote broadcast setup for CHNS ... and heard the conversations about the old days between dad and Hank Snow. They worked all the church concerts and dances from here to hell and back ... then, a Judge did Hank a favor and told him to get out of town ( he was an awful boozer ... and trouble when he drank) ... so he got out and got straight and look what happened. Dad wound up working Fleet Mail as a member of the RCN and was drafted out to Prince Rupert during the war. The opening act for Hank was the Rhythm Pals and he (dad) says to Jack Jensen, "You Look familiar... were you ever...?" That was Jensen's home town and the bass player was from that area, too, if memory serves. Wilf Carter came in with his show on that same night. Dad knew him from working around. I met them all ... and then some at ages 6-12. Then, in 1960 or 61, I went to Halifax with him and stayed in the car with an earache while he auditioned for Don Messer's Show (another personal friend) and Bill Langstroth (the producer on Messer's show at the time) kept him playing for at least two hours. As it turned out at the time, they didn't think his stuff would fit the Messer format. I forgot to mention that dad gave Lanstroth his ideas on what would be a good show ... essentially, what turned out to be "Singalong Jubilee". Dad played in the backup band and made Langstroth's three chords on the banjo sound better than they were for the first two years of Singalong. BTW, there were three or four evolutions of that show, according to Langstroth when I had the chance to talk to him on Radio Noon one day on CBC. He was promoting a re-airing of the old shows dad had been on in the day. A few months later after those aired, dad got a nice residual cheque and a personal note from Langstroth to the effect of "if you ever have any more (successful) ideas like this, John, by all means get in touch"? An indirect result from those shows was the Halifax City Ukulele program that Chalmers Doane came up with and,.... at one of the Musician's Ball Events ... he said as much. They taped all day Saturday over on Bell Road in Halifax ... and when lunch time came, if the weather was nice, they would all go out under the trees for lunch. Dad always took his uke out and Karen Oxley and the rest whose names I forget would sing. Lorne White and Chalmers Doane were in the chorus and, as I said, EVERYBODY sang ... dad taught them some of the old songs (that only he knew, having learned them from my grandfather, or off the old cylinder records) and that's where Doane got his inspiration to use the ukelele as an introductory instrument. This is one for the books. Dad was providing half/time music at some show that Dartmouth Alderman Graham J Noseworthy had been MC'ing. There was a man in from the States ... all dressed in cowboy garb ... who did fancy rope tricks and was a SHARPSHOOTER ... with a couple of six guns. He was good ... twirled the guns and did quick draws,etc. He then proceeds to do his sharp shooting act ... and asked for VOLUNTEER out of the audience to stand in front of his lead backboard to be shot at. Not a sound in the place ... certainly no volunteers. Graham J Noseworthy stands up and volunteers (a more than reluctant - like, scared to death) "Johnny Moore". Everybody claps. He said afterward, he was "scared shitless" but went through with possibly being killed ... no tricks involved and live ammo used. Sunset Carson positioned dad in front of his backstop ... with a piece of ordinary blackboard chalk held between his lips. Carson, positions himself ... takes aim and fires ... splitting the chalk in half. I'm guessing this was in 1951/52 in June or July @ the old Dartmouth Rink, before it burned down. John Moore is better known to his friends and the public as "Johnnie". Born Dec.1,1918 into a large family of 10 brothers and sisters he became interested in music at the age of eleven when he traded a catcher's mitt to an older brother for a ukulele. He taught himself to play a lot of the songs that were popular during the period. During this time, his older brother was playing violin in a local band that had been formed to play at local dances and many nights would find John outside listening to the music and wishing he could be playing inside. He practiced and practiced so that eventually he became pretty good and by the time he was into his teens he was playing for local dances himself. A local radio station CHNS, had an amateur talent show that was broadcast every Saturday and John appeared on that show innumerable times as a single, playing and singing popular songs. As his reputation grew from his radio appearances, he became more and more in demand as an act that was included in local church benefit concerts or on visits to local hospitals .As his own popularity was growing, his two younger brothers also became almost-weekly fixtures on the same radio broadcast. Their act was called the "Harmony Twins" even though Harold was a couple of years older than brother Allan. During the 30's, the Harmony Twins, accompanied by older brother John were the hot act of the day. They worked everywhere in the local area on bills with the then unknown Hank Snow. All of the Moore brothers were remembered with great affection by oldsters who used to listen to them on the radio some 60 years ago when they were a featured act on "Uncle Mels" talent show. In about 1937, Harold joined the Royal Canadian Navy and was at sea in 1944 when his ship, the corvette HMCS REGINA, was torpedoed and he was killed. Allan was drafted into the Canadian Army and served overseas. John was drafted into the Army but had previously applied for naval service. The Navy was considered the senior service and, therefore had first pick. John, who was now married, left home one morning in 1941 dressed in an Army uniform and came home later in the day in a sailor's suit. Stationed to Canada's West Coast, John's talent was in demand for the many YMCA and USO shows that were put on to entertain all of the Canadian , American and British Servicemen who were posted to the base in Prince Rupert. When the war ended, he was posted back to his home area in Nova Scotia and took his release from the R.C.N. in 1946. He was now employed as a civilian employee with the Department of National Defence during the day but on weekends was playing in local dance bands that he led and, was also in demand as a sideman in other bands. During this period he wrote and performed many of his own songs including a tourist promotional jingle for his home city of Dartmouth, N.S. This jingle, ("Come Along to Dartmouth , N.S.") extolling the virtues of the "City of Lakes" was used extensively by the City of Dartmouth to promote its 1950 bi-centennial celebrations throughout the New England states with great success. John Moore got absolutely nothing for his efforts- no publicity, no civic recognition - and certainly no money. In the early 50's John finally traded in his four string tenor guitar for a brand-new gold- lacquered "Les Paul" solid- bodied six-string guitar. His first Gibson. And why not? He was working at his day job and playing 3- 4 nights a week at the Mic Mac club in Dartmouth where they were packing them in every night. During that time there were very few places to go in the area and there was a large population of Naval personnel who wanted to meet girls. John started to perform some of the songs he had written and the audience loved them. When he went in to buy a new set of guitar strings at the local music store (which also sold records) the proprietor mentioned that he had been deluged with requests to buy records of his songs from the kids who attended the dances. They had been going around singing them and didn't know the material was home-grown. They naturally figured that the songs they knew so well were on record. Unfortunately they weren't. At that time there was no Canadian music industry or outlet for home-grown songs or performers. If you wanted to make it in the music business you had to go to the U.S. A contemporary of John's did just that, he had been on the same concert circuit and radio station as John and the Harmony Twins many years earlier as a "cowboy" singer. Today Hank Snow lives in Nashville and is a member of the Grand Ole Opry. So the talent was here in Nova Scotia not the market. During the early 60's, John went to the CBC in Halifax to audition for the producer of "Don Messer's Jubilee", Bill Langstroth. He was shooting for a guest spot on the Messer show and auditioned with his guitar and ukulele. Even the technicians in the control booth were moving with the music but nothing happened. John got a nice "Dear John" letter from Langstroth saying that he couldn't use him on the Messer show but that there was a chance he could use him on a summer replacement for the show that was being contemplated. In the meantime John was working two nights a week playing dance music with his brother at an upscale beach club whose name was "borrowed" from The Sands in Las Vegas. Incidentally, it was at the "Sands" that a bit of history was in the making. It seems that every Saturday the same group of friends would show up at the club and were always the biggest fans and supporters of the band. As usually happens, someone from the group (who was buy now well lubricated) would come up to the bandstand and ask if one of the guys in their party could sing with the band. Being the type to give anyone a chance, John said, "sure." The guy proved to be a pretty good singer so whenever that group came to the dance, they would push their friend toward the stage to sing a song. And why not-he was pretty good and developing a following and he didn't make the band look bad. The young man was Dennis (Denny) Doherty who would later go on to fame (and the big bucks) as the lead singer of the "Mommas & the Poppas". Early in the next year something finally happened as a result of that earlier audition for Bill Langstroth at CBC John was asked to work in the back-up band playing ukulele and guitar for a summer replacement for the nationally-acclaimed" Don Messer's Jubilee." It would be called "Singalong Jubilee" and featured Langstroth as host and performer in addition to his duties as producer. The show married folk songs, which were in vogue then, with the sing-along concept which had been popularized by Mitch Miller's show. John worked mostly behind the scenes on this show which, in its fourth summer season spawned the career of one Anne Murray who would later go on to super-stardom and become the mother to Bill Langstroth's children. It was while on the "Singalong" show that John indirectly became responsible for the ukulele program that dominates the school music program in Halifax City schools. During breaks in the taping of the Singalong show, the cast members would go outside if it wasn't raining and sit under the trees for lunch. After lunch, John was there with his ukulele and the cast members would entertain themselves singing. One of the members of that chorus was Chalmers Doane who would later become responsible for music education in Halifax City schools. He thought back to the ukulele he had been exposed to when he had worked with John Moore on the "Singalong " show and thought that this would be an excellent instrument with which to introduce music to young students. Directly and indirectly John Moore has done a lot throughout his lifetime as a musician, song-writer and performer to bring music to the public. To-day, he's still a member of the AF of M, Local 571 and still plays occasionally with local combos as a guitarist or on banjo playing dixieland. He has a distinct ukulele playing style that has never been imitated and he has a repertoire of songs that are probably unknown to even the likes of Leon Redbone or Tiny Tim dating back to before the First World War that he learned from his father and others.
As good a musician and song-writer as John is he was never pushy and this has perhaps worked against him in the music "business". Besides over the years he had a wife and two kids to support so that didn't leave much time to go and camp on the doorsteps of music publishers. Until now, his music has remained his music. Perhaps it's time for a change.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
John Andrew Moore
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Mary Ellen Moore
3 May 2021
Dear Paul and Vickie,
Our childhood memories of the wonderful singing are filled with the joy of music, laughter, and family love for one another. I am so very sorry we cannot be together for your sake. Though, we left Nova Scotia our hearts and lovely memories are still there.
One day, in the future, it would be lovely to plan a family gathering in honour of Uncle Johnny.
Please accept our condolences for your loss. 💕
2 May 2021
I was redeployed to veterans when covid came.i worked with your father in physio. I enjoyed our time and chats together he was such a lovely man. I'm truly sorry for your loss.
1 May 2021
You were my first best friend even though you first told my mother you thought I was too young for you to play with 🙂
My condolences on the passing of your father.
1 May 2021
So sorry to hear you lost your dad Vicky. We are old now too I guess. We must be 75 or close. I remember playing with your dolls. My dad knew him, Charles Devonport.
Carol and Gary Eddy
1 May 2021
Vickie and Graham, Gary, and I send our sincere condolences to you and your family.
barbara savary (Bell)
29 April 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. We now live on Fox Point Lane at moms Beth and dad Alfies old cottage. Barb and Merrill Savary