A long-time Salt Spring Islander was recently honoured by being named a StarMeritus in the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Lynne Partridge’s nomination was initiated by legendary B.C. singer-songwriter Roy Forbes to recognize her pioneering work in representation for performing artists and songwriters.
“When I first came to Vancouver in the summer of 1971, the music industry was a lot like the Wild West,” said Forbes. “And through her work with BMI and PROCAN [Performing Rights Organization of Canada], Lynne generously guided me and so many other writers through the tangled web of the fledgling Canadian music industry.”
Partridge began working at Aragon Studios, which was one of the first music studios in Canada, established by her father Al Reusch and others.
“Here she met many luminaries of the Vancouver music industry while doing everything from managing the office and bookings to studio set-up,” states the BCEHF website.
“In 1968 she was hired to establish the Vancouver office and oversee Western Canada for BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) Canada, recruiting new members, being the first contact for new and established members and building relationships with the local industry. At that time, when no one in the West was aware of performing rights, Lynne single-handedly educated hundreds of songwriters on the value of their copyrights and music publishing, providing support and encouragement to a fledgling music industry.”
Partridge gives an example of why songwriters needed support.
“They would only get one cent per song per record sold,” she told the Driftwood.
Her work ensured the songwriters were also compensated when their songs were performed. That change would make a big difference to someone like Jim Vallance, who co-wrote songs with rock star Bryan Adams, she said.
At a tribute event to Partridge in 1988, Adams said, “Lynne is one of the few people in the music business who knows what she’s talking about.”
Paul Horn also spoke at that event.
“When it comes to performing rights, Lynne is one of the most knowledgeable people in the business and she has had a great impact on the composing and publishing end of my career,” he said.
Partridge also worked with Tommy Banks at Century II Studios, where she met her future husband, Dale Partridge, and then returned to Vancouver.
“In 1978, while working with The Irish Rovers and their manager Les Weinstein, she heard rumours that the western office was closing and returned to BMI Canada to revitalize the organization,” says the BCEHF site, “which was renamed PROCAN and today is known as SOCAN [Society of Composers, Artists and Music Publishers of Canada].”
By 1989, when Partridge retired from PROCAN, the office had 13 staff taking care of the rights of 7,000 music industry professionals.
She continued to work in publishing and management for The Irish Rovers and Raffi until her move to Salt Spring in 1993.
She said she wanted to move to the island so badly that she bought a property she could operate as a bed and breakfast.
“It got me over here,” she said.
Partridge ran the B&B for seven years, and then in 2000 became the operations director for ArtSpring in its early days, working with then executive director Paul Gravett.
Although she has been active in the community in a number of ways, her past accomplishments aren’t known by most people here.
“I was in the industry for 25 years, but that was a long time ago and it is rare for it to come up [in conversation],” she said.
She might be more known for recent years spent volunteering at the Extended Care Unit at Lady Minto Hospital serving tea and cookies, and at the Visitor Centre in Ganges. She is also a driver for the Salt Spring Seniors Services Society. Like many people, she misses her volunteer activities, which are currently suspended due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. In the local arts realm she has also served on the Salt Spring Folk Club board.
The StarMeritus recognition is not Partridge’s first major honour. She also received a special JUNO award in 1987 following her retirement from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS) board of directors. It was bestowed “in recognition of her dedicated efforts on behalf of CARAS and the JUNOS.”
No live event to honour hall of fame inductees will take place this year due to COVID-19. StarMeritus members, previously known as “Pioneers,” are acknowledged with brass plaques on display in the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame gallery at the Orpheum theatre in Vancouver.