A man who has ties to this area has been named the new President of the Manitoba Country Music Association (MCMA).
Miles Trach, formerly of Canora, currently lives in a bedroom community just outside of Winnipeg and is described as having been a staple in the Country Music community throughout the years as an artist and part of the MCMA as both a director and vice-president.
Trach recently spoke to the Kamsack Times on the phone about this development.
“I’ve been involved with the MCMA for a long time, so when the position of president opened up, I decided it was time for me to step up.”
Trach, who is “happily married” to his wife, Elizabeth, with two adult sons, Brody and Noah, has been playing with different bands in the Winnipeg area for over 25 years, but he firmly states that his career in music began in Canora with Stan and LuAnn Ostafie who operated the Parkland Academy of Music in Canora. “I developed my appreciation of music in Canora,” Trach said. “Stan is my dad’s first cousin and I started learning music when I was eight.”
Born in Winnipeg, Trach and his family moved to Canora when he was in Grade 3. His parents, Lenard and Stella Trach, purchased and operated Trach Funeral Home.
The family had many relatives in Canora, including his grandparents, Peter and Emily Trach. Among Trach’s Canora and Mikado family members were many musicians including his grandfather, Peter, and uncle, Laurie Trach, who would regularly entertain in the area with their fiddle and cymbaly music.
Trach graduated from Canora Composite School (CCS) in 1986, and moved to Winnipeg in 1987.
Although Trach is employed as an architectural engineering technologist working as a senior estimator and customer relations manager for Manitoba’s largest home builder, his passion is music and he has been very active in the Manitoba Country Music scene.
Among Trach’s friends in the music business is Ryan Keown of Roblin, who headlined the Smoke on the Water (SOTW) fundraiser in Duck Mountain Provincial Park for two consecutive years. “Ryan’s a friend of mine and he was also one of Stan’s music students. Over the years as a music teacher, Stan has taught so many people, and has been such a positive influence,” Trach said. “I’m grateful for his influence on my music career.”
Trach plays a number of different musical instruments, saying the accordion was the first instrument he learned how to play. He also plays piano, mandolin, acoustic and electric guitar and banjitar (a six-string banjo that has almost the range of a guitar). He also writes original material and is lead vocalist with the Hard Miles Band.
“Probably Dukefest in Rossburn, Manitoba, is the closest gig we’ve played to the Kamsack/Canora area,” Trach said. “We don’t play as much as we used to but still play about a half a dozen gigs a year.”
Trach is also passionate about his guitar collection. Earlier this past summer, Trach found a guitar on the Internet Marketplace site which he felt “needed rescuing.”
“I thought maybe I could use it for a decorative piece, maybe make it into a light fixture in my music room or something,” he said. “That is, until I saw it in person and saw the ‘Canora’ name on the headstock. The place I still consider my home town. I handed over the money without even looking any closer. It was in pretty rough condition, but still in the original box, and became No. 14 in my collection.
“I know Canora guitars were never known to be great quality, but I was excited to obtain it. Searching on the Internet I was unable to find a lot of information about Canora guitars, other than there were not a lot made, they came from Japan in the mid to late 60s, and were made in the same factory as Ibanez guitars.”
Trach set out to bring the instrument “back to life and see how she sounds.” To do that he cleaned up the body, neck and frets, re-glued the bridge to the sound board, took apart, cleaned and lubricated the machine heads, installed a new saddle, and put on new strings.
After the work was completed, Trach enlisted the opinion of a friend who is a luthier, someone who builds and repairs stringed instruments, and it was confirmed that the Canora guitar would never be resurrected as a player’s musical instrument, but rather, would be a “wall-hanger.”
“I was a bit disappointed that it had no value as a musical instrument, but it is a very unique keepsake,” Trach said. “Usually an older, solid wood guitar will have a better tone, and that’s why older guitars are preserved. The sound quality can improve with age, and they become more valuable.”
Trach is very excited about what this year will bring for the MCMA. “The Association is taking on a greater role of partnering with the Dauphin’s Country Fest, and will be working with them to celebrate Manitoba’s 150th birthday.
“The MCMA is undertaking some exciting initiatives this year, and will be celebrating their 6th annual Manitoba Country Music Awards in November,” he said. “There will be more opportunities for MCMA members to showcase their talents and song writing skills. The last few years have been a turning point and the MCMA has worked hard to have our members get recognition from the industry and recognition for the artists who are a part of it.”