Morinville residents and father and son Chad and Morgan Melchert are heading out of province to take part in two separate major events. Chad Melchert is up for another CCMA All-star Band Drums Award, and Morgan is off to Brandon, Manitoba to play baseball with Team Alberta’s U15 team. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
by Stephen Dafoe
The first couple weeks of September are exciting ones for a Morinville father and son. Chad and Morgan Melchert head out of province on separate adventures. Chad is off to Halifax for the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards where he is up for the All-star Band Drummer of the Year Award once again. His son Chad is off to Brandon, Manitoba to play in a baseball tournament with Team Alberta’s U15 team.
The Melcherts will be joined at their respective events by two other Morinville residents. Zach Froment joins Morgan Melchert on the U15 team, and Morinville resident and Jesse Peters Trio bass player Travis Switzer is also up for an award at the CCMAs.
U15 Team Alberta
Fifteen-year-old Morgan Melchert was recently selected for the U15 Prospects team to represent the province in Manitoba this week.
“It’s a tournament of all Canada and a team from Idaho,” he said. “They all play against each other. It’s a big tournament for 15- and 14-year-olds.
Melchert switched teams this season to the SJP Blue Jays, based in Edmonton’s west end. Although the team had a bit of a rough year, Melchert said he had a good season, one that resulted in him getting selected for the U15 team.
“They told me I was on their radar as a good player halfway through the season,” he said. “They were impressed by my attitude and my playing efforts. After I was told, I was really excited to be on that team.”
Melchert plays all outfield, a position he loves.
“I just love to play defence. I love to flash the leather and throw out runners.”
The upcoming tournament in Brandon, Manitoba will bring teams from B.C., Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Idaho. Melchert said he is hoping to take his U15 team to victory in the upcoming contest and is looking forward to taking on an American team.
“I’m excited to see what they’ve got,” he said. “I know we’ve got Alberta power. We should be good against them. I’ve heard that they are pretty good ball players, but I know as the province of Alberta we have very good baseball players ourselves.”
The Manitoba run is another stop on a baseball career that the Morinville Community High School student hopes will one day take him to Major League Baseball.
“MLB is the dream, but I just want to take it step by step,” he said. “The next step is to make the Midget team, and the step after that is to make a college team, and progressing from there. Hopefully, I make one of the biggest baseball schools in the States. Arizona State or Lousiana State. ASU and LSU are my favourite baseball schools in the US.”
Like many athletes today, Melchert does not limit himself to one game. In the winter, he plays basketball with the Morinville Wolves Jr. Boys and he is also involved with the school band.
Melchert’s considers himself a team player, no matter what he does, but particularly in the game he loves. “What I hope to accomplish is supporting the team,” he said of his philosophy on the field. “I want to win for the team, be my part of the team, and just do team at bats. Sacrifice bunts, stuff like that. I just want to win with the team, not as myself.”
Morgan’s father Chad said he was pleased to see his son and Zach Froment making the team. “I think it’s really impressive that two kids from Morinville are the best players in Alberta at their age,” Chad Melchert said.
Off to CCMA Awards
Morinville resident and Gord Bamford drummer Chad Melchert is heading to Halifax next week for the Canadian Country Music Association Awards event Sept. 10 to 13.
Melchert won the CCMA drumming award in 2012 and 2014 and is once once again up for the All-Star Band Drums award. In addition to waiting to see if his name is called when the envelope is opened, Melchert will be joining other Canadian country music professionals in performing for their peers.
“I think it’s always nice to know that people think that of you,” Chad Melchert said of being nominated once again. “It’s encouraging. You are always in good company with great players that are equally your friends. Whether you win or lose, I think it’s OK. You always feel good coming out of it. Every year it’s guys that I know really well.”
This past summer has been a mixed bag for the musician because Gord Bamford is currently between albums and although Melchert has played on half of the new album, it has afforded him some free time this summer to take on other gigs.
“Half was recorded in Calgary and half in Nashville,” Melchert said. “That is a rare thing for artists to have their band play on it. But being a session player myself, it allows me and some of the players to be part of it.”
In addition to recording Bamford’s new and unnamed album, Melchert said he did a good bit of recording with other artists over the past two months. “With Gord being busy with that album, we had a slower summer with a select few dates here and there. Next summer we will be absolutely insane with the new album, which is also his first American release. We’re starting to get spins on radio down there.” When Your Lips Are So Close, a huge hit in Canada, has been remixed and getting traction in the US market.
Although Melchert is looking forward to touring the new album next year, he said he also loves doing session work. “I think the biggest difference is that live you are essentially replicating moments that are already done,” he said. “The thing I like about the studio is it’s all new. It’s spontaneous. You really can’t prepare for it in many ways. There is a certain breed of musician that’s meant to do it and some just aren’t. Some guys can walk in there and are comfortable with the pressure and can express themselves quickly. I think the biggest part of being a studio player is having great ideas and having them quick.”
It is an important skill set in a world where time is money and studio time is strictly by the hour. Melchert said skilled session players save both artist and record label money. “I thrive on that pressure. I love it,” he said, adding his personal preference is working in the studio. “I love it. I was lucky enough to get into it an early age. I was about 14 when I started. It’s just special. I thrive on that pressure. It’s fun.”
Though he has a love of studio, he is looking forward to the upcoming CCMA trip, an event where he will perform with other music professionals at the luncheon, gala, and with Gord Bamford during the awards show.
“It’s kind of exciting when you get flown out and get to play,” he said, adding Morinville resident Travis Switzer, who won an award last year, is once again up for honours this year. “Having a drummer and bass player living in Morinville is pretty amazing. He’s a phenomenal player, and I’ve known him for years. He’s a great player who crosses many genres and does well in all of them. When he moved to Morinville, it was just happenstance that we’re both living here. I’ve played with him on quite a few shows.”
Support local music
Though Melchert will spend a week with Morinville musician Travis Switzer and others deemed the best of Canada’s country music scene, the all-star drummer said it is important for residents to support the local music scene.
“The music side in these small towns needs to be paid attention to,” he said. “When there are concert nights, I think it’s important [to attend]. Other than sports – hockey games and stuff – it’s important that we as a community support these events. Whether it’s a two dollar or five dollar cover charge, pay it and show these kids something. For me, music was a way to get out of a smaller city and do what I love. It would sure be great to see kids get that opportunity these days.” Melchert said he is impressed with the local music scene, particularly what he has seen in some of the school bands. “I obviously can pick them out pretty quick, and there are lots of kids that have a good ability,” he said.