Les Rawson

The Pathway of Fame experiences a “first of its kind” category this year.

In the year 2000, prolific songwriter Cyril Rawson was inducted. This year, his father Les Rawson is an Inductee – which marks the first father-son Inductions to the Pathway.

During World War Two, Les Rawson served in the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Norfolk, which was one of the ships to track the Bismarck and was present when the German battleship sank.

But it was after emigrating here with his wife and young son that he was to make his mark in the world.

Les Rawson made a huge impact on the musical history of our area. He not only accomplished that by giving young musicians the opportunity to get a start in their career by making the newest music products available, but – more importantly – through generosity, and trust. Les gave them a way to actually own their own instrument, which in most cases they could not afford.

Rawson’s Music Centre was a full-service music store, which also featured teaching studios. Les offered the local musician the tremendous opportunity to own their desired instrument over time, without the need for a credit check. He trusted musicians to make a weekly or monthly payment – keeping track on a personalized card in a box under the counter.

Les’ store became a place to meet and try out the newest instruments. Those meetings are credited with the birth of bands led by Bobby Kinsman and Del Crary, as well as other big bands. Les and his wife, Lillian, were also very involved in the Kiwanis Music Festival.

Les passed away in 1969 at the young age of 56, but left behind a legacy of grateful musicians who will never forget the trust, and confidence he placed in them.

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