PEI

Why Tim Chaisson's mom — and others like her — deserve their own award

They're like hockey moms, but with "warmer seats,” says Joanne Schieck, but the commitment is just as big for mothers of musicians. That's why for years at the East Coast Music Awards, she and her friends have been honouring those moms with "EC-MAMAs."

EC-MAMAs recognize 'super supportive' moms of East Coast musicians

Tim Chaisson with his mom, Karen, and wife Jane Allen Chaisson. Chaisson, who plays with the band The East Pointers, says his mom has encouraged him throughout his music career. (Submitted by Tim Chaisson)

Tim Chaisson was 17 when he wrote one of his first songs for his mother, Karen. It was a challenging time for his family, he said, and the song, Oh Mother, was about letting her know everything would be OK.

"I remember singing it for her and she started crying and and I'll never forget that," he said.

Chaisson, now 32 and a fiddle player and singer with ECMA-nominated band The East Pointers, says his mom has always been his biggest fan. She has not only encouraged him, but his five older siblings as well, and a family growing up in Bear River, P.E.I.

"She was always at every show and always bragging about her kids and always encouraging us," he said. "I've considered myself very lucky to have had a mom like that."

So it's no wonder Karen Chaisson is one of about 30 mothers of East Coast musicians who have received an EC-MAMA, a homemade doll statue awarded to recognize their unrelenting support.

We're like hockey moms, but with better seats — warmer seats.— Joanne Schieck

It was started by Joanne Schieck of Donaldston, P.E.I., and a group of friends about 14 years ago. They make them in the likeness of the artist, and hand them out to moms they meet at events and parties during the East Coast Music Awards.

"It's been just so much fun," said Schieck, the mother of sax player Nikki Waite and mother-in-law of P.E.I. musician Andrew Waite.

"We're like hockey moms, but with better seats — warmer seats."

Joanne Schieck, the mother of sax player Nikki Waite and mother-in-law of P.E.I. musician Andrew Waite, shows the EC-MAMA she received from her friends. (Shane Ross/CBC)

Nothing against the fathers — "We've met lots of great dads too," Schieck said — but it started out as a mom thing and took off from there.

The first EC-MAMAs were given to Flo Sampson and her sister Debbie Mullins, the mothers of Nova Scotia musicians Gordie Sampson and Keith Mullins.

Since then, recipients have included the mothers of Bruce and Bradford Rooney, Irish Mythen, Meaghan Blanchard, Kinley Dowling and many others. Schieck, who has received one herself from friends, expects to hand out more at the ECMAs this week in Charlottetown.

'Little fun thing'

The dolls are always well received, she said.

"We think it's delightful how they're so happy about it, I mean it's just a little fun thing that we've been doing but it means a lot to them."

Chaisson said his mother proudly displays her EC-MAMA on a window in her home.

He said as a new parent himself, he'll take some cues from his mom. He said his mom always had trust in her kids.

"Even when it kind of came time where you're supposed to choose what you're going to do with your life, you know, after high school and university and all that kind of stuff, she never really pressured me either way, it was always encouragement towards music," Chaisson said.

"She was super supportive and just always let me be me and let the music kind of always continue and, yeah, she's really special in that way."

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About the Author

Shane Ross is a former newspaper and TV journalist in Halifax, Ottawa and Charlottetown. He joined CBC P.E.I.'s web team in 2016.

With files from Matt Rainnie

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