Benefit for cancer-diagnosed musician Rick Young November 19 at The Venue

Support from Rick and Gailie's many musical friends buoying couple's spirits as chemotherapy looms

Gailie and Rick Young, known for their uniquely harmonized covers of Beatles music as well as hits by other 1960s British Invasion bands, have been a fixture at The Black Horse Pub in downtown Peterborough since it opened 12 years ago in performance. A benefit concert for Rick Young, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, takes place on Sunday, November 19 at The Venue in downtown Peterborough. (Photo: SLAB Productions)
Gailie and Rick Young, known for their uniquely harmonized covers of Beatles music as well as hits by other 1960s British Invasion bands, have been a fixture at The Black Horse Pub in downtown Peterborough since it opened 12 years ago in performance. A benefit concert for Rick Young, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, takes place on Sunday, November 19 at The Venue in downtown Peterborough. (Photo: SLAB Productions)

They worked the benefit for heart surgery-recuperating Bobby Watson in October 2013.

They were there again in March 2015 for ailing Lydia Black as friends rallied in support of the Black family and, in October of that same year, they were front-and-centre at a fundraiser for stroke recovering Buzz Thompson.

Now, friends of Rick and Gailie Young — there are many — are urging the community at large to step up and be there for the musical couple as Rick begins chemotherapy treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer that originates in the lymphatic system, the body’s disease fighting network.

“I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends” will be held Sunday, November 19 at The Venue (286 George Street North, Peterborough, 705-876-0008) from 1 to 10 p.m., with kawarthaNOW.com serving as the event’s digital media sponsor.

The Rick & Gailie Band (Alan Black, Gailie Young, Richard Simpkins, and Rick Young) in September 2016. (Photo: The Rick & Gailie Band)
The Rick & Gailie Band (Alan Black, Gailie Young, Richard Simpkins, and Rick Young) in September 2016. (Photo: The Rick & Gailie Band)

While the music lineup is a work in progress, confirmed acts as of this writing are, in order of appearance: The Quickshifters, Groove Authority. Max Mouse & The Gorillas, House Brand,
Rob Phillips Band, Al Black & The Steady Band, The Fabulous Tonemasters, The Bobby Watson Band, and Jackson Delta Electric.

Tickets cost $25 (kids 13 and under are free) and are available now at The Venue (286 George St. N., Peterborough, 705-876-0008) and Moondance (425 George Street North, Peterborough, 705-742-9425). Tickets are also available online at www.eventbrite.ca/e/benefit-for-rick-young-tickets-38786742190. For updates, visit the Facebook event page.

“Rick is maintaining … it’s hard on him,” says Gailie.

“The feedback we’ve received from friends, the love and the outpouring of support, has been amazing. People saying ‘You’ve got this’ and ‘I’ve been through this … I had it worse that you do and I’m 100 percent better now’ and ‘If you need somebody to talk to …’ and this and that. Rick’s spirits have been raised from the moment we found out to now by 110 percent. He’s not afraid anymore.”

Rick and Gailie Young. (Photo: The Black Horse Pub / Twitter)
Rick and Gailie Young. (Photo: The Black Horse Pub / Twitter)

A fixture at The Black Horse Pub in downtown Peterborough since it opened 12 years ago this past August, Rick and Gailie are known for their uniquely harmonized covers of Beatles music as well as hits by other 1960s British Invasion bands such Herman’s Hermits and Gerry and The Pacemakers.

Married in 2003, Peterborough-born Gailie met Toronto-born Rick at a house party in 1971 and struck up a close friendship. In 1992, her marriage at an end, Gailie reconnected with Rick, who moved with her back to Peterborough to live with Gailie and her young daughter Stephanie. It was at Historic Red Dog, at the urging of singer Charlotte Melby, that the duo first performed at open mic events. That marked the start of a four-year Wednesday evening gig at the Hunter Street West pub.

“It’s been hard on Stephanie … Rick basically raised her since she was five,” says Gailie.

“I’m hiding a lot of tears, like right now. I have to keep busy. Either that or I break down.”

To date, Rick has twice had 6-1/2 litres of fluid removed from his abdomen. He’ll start chemotherapy October 10 at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre under the care of oncologist Dr. Gordon Swain who, Gailie says, has been “very optimistic” in terms of Rick’s prognosis.

VIDEO: “Message of Love” – Rick & Gailie

“Rick has always been really healthy … very energetic, very positive, a go-getter,” says Gailie, noting that sitting idle is not something he does well.

The "I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends" benefit for Rick Young takes place on November 19 at The Venue in Peterborough. (Poster: Sean Daniels)
The “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends” benefit for Rick Young takes place on November 19 at The Venue in Peterborough. (Poster: Sean Daniels)

And while Rick won’t be able to attend the benefit — his weakened immune system prevents him from venturing out — he’s “blown out of the water” by the effort being made on his and Gailie’s behalf.

“I can tell you how many times I’ve heard ‘Anything you need, we’re there,'” says Gailie.

“People were saying ‘What can we do?’ Rick said, ‘I don’t want anything.’ He didn’t want that white elephant out there. But I told my really, really close friends. I had to or I would have gone nuts. People knew Rick was missing gigs. I thought, ‘OK, now I’ve got to put it out there.'”

“A fellow musician who’s a good friend, Terry Blankley, said not to fret. He went through exactly the same thing. He said ‘I was stage four and I’m still here seven years later.’

“That was a major boost for Rick. Don Skuce (former owner of Ed’s Music Workshop) when through it too and he’s rocking it. This the best thing that Rick can hear.”

VIDEO: Excerpt of “I Should Have Known Better” by The Beatles performed by The Rick & Gailie Band

Gailie, however, will not only be at the benefit for her husband — she’ll be in her familiar role of managing the music acts on and off the stage and keeping everything on time.

“You’re not keeping me out of this one,” she vows.

“The music community is my family. I’ll do anything for any of them. I’m so blessed and humbled, and so grateful, that they’re coming together for Ricky.”

As for an eventual return to the stage for the duo — they’ll soon release their first CD of songs written by Rick produced by Andy Pryde called The Lost Album — Gailie is quick to respond.

“Try and stop us.”

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Paul Rellinger
Paul Rellinger a.k.a Relly is an award-winning journalist and longtime former newspaper editor still searching for the perfect lead. When he's not putting pen to paper, Paul is on a sincere but woefully futile quest to own every postage stamp ever issued. A rabid reader of history, Paul claims to know who killed JFK but can't say out of fear for the safety of his oh so supportive wife Mary, his three wonderful kids and his three spirited grandchildren. Paul counts among his passions Peterborough's rich live music scene, the Toronto Maple Leafs, slopitch and retrieving golf balls from the woods. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @rellywrites.

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