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Manitoba History No. 89
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No. 89

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Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Garnett “Gar” Gillies (1921-2006)

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Gar Gillies
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Musician, vocalist, inventor, entrepreneur.

Born at Winnipeg on 28 February 1921, he formed the “Jump Band” in 1942, playing trombone. The band was unique because most of its arrangements were written by two of the band members: Jack Fulton and Dave Shearer. They were also the first band in Winnipeg to have a six channel audio mixer and multiple microphones. Most bands at the time used a microphone only for the vocalist. Gar built the mixer and bought six microphones to properly amplify the band. Building on the nucleus of the “Jump Band,” Gar formed his Big Band. In 1946 they performed nightly at the Auditorium for summer dances sponsored by the Kinsmen. Gar went on to make “Garnet” amplifiers and sound systems. The “Garnet” name became known worldwide when the “Guess Who” took Gar’s sound equipmenton their tours. He died on 23 December 2006 after a difficult battle with cancer.

Sources:

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 30 December 2006.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 26 May 2016

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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