Anyone in Pictou County who enjoys music knew Carlton Munroe – if not personally, then at least for his huge contributions to the scene. This week we lost that person who will always be remembered not only as a great guy, but one synonymous with the love and promotion of music.
His position with Glasgow Square Theatre booking acts, working as artistic director for the annual Riverfront Jubilee, his broad musical tastes, and a gregarious feel for the community – this all mixed to keep the area prominent on the musical map.
First off, condolences to his family, his loved ones and friends – Carlton will be dearly missed by all.
His diagnosis more than a year ago with an incurable form of brain cancer made people aware that his time was limited. But as many have commented, that doesn’t make the loss any easier.
No doubt, many of us harboured the hope that, somehow, by some miracle, Carlton would beat the odds, and the disease, and be with us for many years – as family man, community stalwart and champion of music and the arts.
When an event was held last January to raise funds to help Carlton and his family through a gruelling schedule and travel for medical treatment, the response was overwhelming – caring and joyous at the same time. The Bash for Carlton attracted friends, legions of music fans and a cast of top-notch artists he’d worked with and gotten to know over the years. He said at the time he was humbled by the turnout and overall result.
But for those who helped out and attended, the desire to come out, to give back a little, was no surprise at all.
Professional musicians who got to know Carlton – perhaps years ago, when they were just getting their start – will talk about his eagerness to give them a chance. That was the kind of dedication he showed continually in the promotion of artists, good music, live venues and the vibes that bring people together.
A radio personality earlier on, Carlton’s devotion and interest ran deep, as evidenced in his excellent East Coast Road Trip broadcasts from a number of years ago. With that program he brought the names and samples of dozens of artists into homes to tell fans about who and what were on the scene.
He was an aficionado when it came to music, from his wide knowledge of artists and genres to his abiding love for recordings on vinyl when a new release was available in that form. He made great inroads in the industry to make contacts, attend events and keep up with artists old and new and what they were up to.
Communities often note with a passing such as this that the person leaves behind big shoes to fill. Musical offerings will always be a part of what Pictou County is and does. Expect a lot of those organizing events and compiling artist lists to ask themselves, what would Carlton do?