Windsor sculptor wants to honour influential music director with bronze statue

Donna Mayne said Rosalie Trombley influenced our culture and the careers of hundreds of artists.

Rosalie Trombley, dubbed 'the girl with the golden ear,' is a former CKLW music director

Rosalie Trombley, shown in a photo released by the Juno Awards, is well known for her career at CKLW. (

A Windsor sculptor wants to honour former AM800 CKLW music director Rosalie Trombley, who was a trailblazer and a tastemaker in the 1960s and 1970s.

Trombley, who is now retired, influenced our culture and the careers of hundreds of artists through her work at the Windsor radio station then known as The Big Eight, sculptor Donna Mayne said.

"She was the music librarian at the time and the program director noticed she had an ear for music and could pick the number one hits," Mayne told CBC Radio's Windsor Morning.

Mayne is proposing to create a full-size bronze statue of Trombley in the city. She recently received funding from the City of Windsor's Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund to work on a clay bust study for the statue.

Trombley, who hails from Leamington, became the station's music director in 1968 and she became known as the girl with the golden ear.

LISTEN: Sculptor Donna Mayne joins Windsor Morning 

According to a publication from the University of Windsor archives, Trombley helped elevate the careers of Bob Seger, Martha Reeves, The Guess Who and Alice Cooper by featuring their songs on the station, which had a wide reach and an outsize impact on music at the time.

Trombley was the inspiration behind the 1970s Bob Seger song bearing her name. She's also a Juno winner. Mayne noted Trombley was the first woman to receive Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award at the 2016 Junos. 

Mayne wants to honour Trombley's contributions, but her quest in wanting to create the statue is also about ensuring that women in our region's history are represented.

"It's just time. We've got lots of lots of tributes to the men, and you know, rightfully so, but we've got namely war heroes and politicians and businessmen but really nothing that speaks [to] the influence of women in our history and culture here," she said.

Donna Mayne is shown in a 2019 photo working on a clay bust of Mary Ann Shadd. (Tony Doucette/CBC)

Mayne has also created a sculpture of anti-Black slavery activist and newspaper publisher Mary Ann Shadd. The statue's unveiling has been delayed but is scheduled for Oct. 1 at the University of Windsor.

"She will be the first sculptural tribute to a woman here, and I just really want to make Rosalie the second," she said.

With files from Windsor Morning