Things went smoothly this weekend for the Centre for Christian Studies Annual Service of Celebration, with only a few minor hiccups: an incorrect hymn number in the worship bulletin, a couple of no-shows for the banquet. Oh, and Eric Tusz-King nearly stole Randy Bachman’s induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
On Sunday afternoon Eric Tusz-King, who, along with with Lynda Gow, was to be honoured at the CCS ceremony as a Companion of the Centre, hopped in a taxi and told the driver, “I can’t remember the address, but I’m being given an award today.” The cabbie gave him a congratulatory thumbs up and drove him directly to the MTS Centre, site of that evening’s Canadian Juno Awards. Upon stepping onto the red carpet, Eric was mistaken for Canadian rocker Randy Bachman and ushered backstage.
“I started to clue in when they took me to my dressing room and sat me down for an interview with a reporter from the Globe & Mail who asked me about my time in BTO,” explained Eric. “I’ve worked with a lot of groups in my time – DUCC, DWO, TCCR and ARCA – but I couldn’t remember what the acronym BTO stood for.”
Mel Kalbreg, head of backstage security, said, “My first thought when I saw him was, ‘Wow, Randy looks a lot different than he does on the radio.'”
Things got more awkward when someone handed Eric an electric guitar and told him to go onstage for his sound-check. “It seemed a very strange expectation for a CCS Companion of the Centre. Plus there was too much bass in my monitor, so it was kind of disconcerting.”
The mix-up became apparent when Randy Bachman and the other members of Bachman-Turner-Overdrive stepped onto the stage for their sound-check and found Eric trying to pluck his way through “Taking Care of Business.”
“They all thought it was pretty funny,” says Eric.
When the members of Arcade Fire found out that Eric was trying to get to an awards thing of his own, they volunteered to drive him to Thomson’s Funeral Home in their rented smart car. “I didn’t think it was necessary for them ALL to come along for the ride,” says Eric, “but I appreciated the lift.”
The Centre for Christian Studies honoured Lynda Gow and Eric Tusz-King as Companions of the Centre at a service of celebration last Sunday, a mere two days before the first day of April. The award recognizes a lifetime of ministry and commitment. But if you think they’re done with their activism, justice work, pastoral presence, and concern for the most vulnerable in society, baby, you ain’t seen nothing yet.