Lifetimes: Kitchener’s ‘Mr. Music’ introduced skilled careers of lots of musicians

At 13 several years previous, musician Mike Bergauer started his career actively playing trumpet on the radio. By 14, he was instructing new music, actively playing in a qualified band and conducting orchestras.

Plenty of musicians and concertgoers in Waterloo Area have been impressed by the person they referred to as “Mr. Tunes.”

Mike died at 89 on March 17, 2023. His remarkable legacy coated seven a long time.

Mike was born Aug. 26, 1933, the 2nd son of John and Barbara Bergauer. The pair were being ethnic Germans from Romania exactly where their 1st son, John Jr., was born. John Jr.did not accompany his mother and father to Canada when they immigrated in the 1920s though he did join the family afterwards. Mike was born in Kitchener.

John Sr. was a musician and a machinist. Barbara worked as a prepare dinner at the University of Waterloo.

Immediately after large school, Mike took a woodworking job right until learning that the Waterloo Catholic District School Board was searching for a audio trainer. Even with his lack of educational credentials, Mike was employed and eventually took in excess of the audio coordinator’s career. This path authorized Mike to each complete with bands outside the house of college and encourage and instruct the next generation of musicians.

But 1st he wanted to upgrade his training. Mike enrolled in an intensive music instructing training course at the University of Toronto, ending a 6-yr software in a few yrs. He joked to a reporter, “I consider I played each individual instrument apart from the harp.”

Mike comprehended all genres of audio and played with many bands in excess of the decades. Even though executing, he met a fairly youthful singer and tap dancer Adie-Jane (AJ) Fraser, who was faucet-dancing on her toes, ballerina-fashion, down a set of stairs.

They married in 1953 and experienced four little ones: Michelle, Tony, Val and Michael, all of whom turned musicians.

Mike would shell out his 35-yr profession building a tunes software for the school board, training in both elementary and superior schools. His final submitting was St. Jerome’s Significant University, but he also opened up the music software to the girls from neighbouring St. Mary’s Superior University. His pupils not only learned songs, they had been presented essential life classes from their impressive instructor.

Kitchener-born jazz saxophonist John Tank reported Mike was the initial to inform him to imagine in himself.

This was a groundbreaking plan, Tank reported in a cellphone interview from his New York City property. No a single experienced ever stated that to him before. The pupils were taught to think in God, in their school, in their teachers, but hardly ever by themselves.

“I’ve under no circumstances overlooked,” mentioned Tank.

The initial time he laid eyes on Mike, the new music trainer rolled up to Tank’s elementary university on a motorbike, enormous pack on his back. The pack contained “three-foot substantial photos” of all the musical devices in an orchestra. Mike stood in entrance of Tank’s Quality 2 course and described the cello, the trombone, the French horn, all of it.

The thought of so many devices enjoying jointly was magical to the children. It was a lesson quite a few kids by no means forgot.

Tank would inevitably come to be a personal university student of Mike’s.

“He taught me the basic principles of audio,” he explained. “No one particular could teach jazz like Mike Bergauer.

“He gave me a lot of self-assurance.”

Top Pocket drummer Don McDougall recalled currently being in songs class when Mike questioned if he was fascinated in playing skillfully in one particular of his bands.

“He was essentially handing me the beginning of my profession at 17,” recalled McDougall. “It’s no coincidence that innumerable musicians, many continue to enjoying currently, came out of that pretty exact new music class.”

Mike wrote preparations, ran a non-public observe, assisted learners start off dance bands, performed concert events and created the most effective kids’ musical generation in Canada for the 1967 centennial.

For his years of devotion to songs, Mike was specified a life time accomplishment award at the 2007 Arts Awards Waterloo Location.

“He was a very good human being,” claimed his daughter, Michelle Bergauer. “He gave all people a good deal of like.”

Immediately after retiring in 1989, Mike discovered a new interest carving intricate styles into wood boxes. He termed the method he established “decarvage,” which bundled chip carving decorated with paint, stain and inlay. In 2017, Homer Watson Gallery held an show of his incredible do the job.

AJ died in 1996. Mike died on March 17, in a nursing household, his thoughts foggy with dementia. But however the at any time-present smile was there, the ability to make all people all-around him experience unique.

A celebration of his everyday living and musical legacy will be held June 4, 1 to 5 p.m. at Bingemans.

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