"Arnold MacDonald & Friends” reunion set for Sunday

Colin MacLean
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SUMMERSIDE – They’re putting the band back together.

For eight years from 1991 to 1999 the locally produced television show “Arnold MacDonald & Friends” helped fill Island homes with the sweet sounds of gospel music.

Now after 15 years of being off the air and largely off the stage, the old gang is getting back together for a reunion show in Malpeque this weekend.

Joyce Bryenton sang in the show’s choir for the eight years it was on the air and she can’t wait to see her show-mates all together again.

“It was such a wonderful time of being together. And both Arnold and Ruby were so inspirational to us… they were just so giving,” she said.

Darlene Harding played piano on the show for six years. She sports a big smile just talking about the reunion.

They’ve been talking about doing a reunion for years, said Harding, but enough of them finally got serious about it that they’re making it happen.

“You meet up with someone off the show and all you talk about is how much fun we had. So you say ‘we should get together and do something.’ We’ll we finally decided to do something,” she said.

“It was a challenge, but we’re going to have a lot of fun.”

The show is Sunday, June 1, from 7 until 9 p.m. at the Princetown United Church in Malpeque. Tickets are $10 for adults and children under 12 years of age are free.

Part of the proceeds will be split between the Salvation Army, Harvest House and the church itself.

Bryenton and Harding said they expect 15 regular band-members from the show to be on stage and about another 10 (at least) who were occasional guests on the show, to be in attendance.

“Arnold MacDonald & Friends” aired weekly on Bragg Communications, which is now Eastlink, and featured many of the Island’s best musicians of the day.

Arnold and his wife Ruby, both of whom have since passed away, became household names to many on the Island and Harding said many of their band members are still recognized for their time on the program.

They both expect a good turnout for the show so anyone who’d like a ticket is advised to get theirs early, though they will be available at the door on a first come first serve basis.

Tickets are available at Long and McQuade Musical Instruments in Summerside or by contacting George MacKay at 836-4469.

Colin.MacLean@JournalPioneer.com

@JournalPMacLean

Organizations: Princetown United Church, Salvation Army, Harvest House Bragg Communications

Geographic location: Malpeque, Summerside

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