Waterloo-based Patti McKague has been immersed in music for as long as she can remember. A public relations specialist, mother of two teens, and occasional performer herself, McKague had often dreamed of attending the JUNO Awards. This year, her wish was granted as Patti entered and won the TD Ultimate JUNO Awards Experience contest. From Friday March 28 through Sunday March 30, she and friend Paul Moser soaked in a mass of Canadian music moments. McKague spoke with TD Music to share some of her experiences.

Thumb patti and paul junos in td green room inset Patti McKague and Paul Moser in the TD Music Green Room
TD Music: Why is music important to you?

Patti McKague: Really, I don’t remember a time when music wasn’t something that I was really drawn to. I remember going to concerts from the time I was 10 or 11, and I’ve always had a really deep connection and reaction to music of many genres. I tend to be drawn to anything with a really nice acoustic guitar and a lot of rich harmonies.
Also, my dad is a musician; he literally plays every instrument you can imagine. I used to sing in a band too; we performed in pubs on weekends. We played a lot of acoustic folk, with lots of harmonies.

Thumb patti junos packageTD’s Ultimate JUNOS Experience info!

What inspired you to enter TD’s Ultimate JUNOS Experience contest?

I do most of my banking online, and there was a contest offer that popped up. Most pop-ups, I tend to just keep going through, but this one mentioned the JUNOS so when I saw it, I thought ‘Of course I’m going to enter this.’ I filled it out in a few minutes, hit ‘submit,’ and didn’t think twice until I got a phone call at work one afternoon. I actually didn’t believe it! At work, we have open-spaced work cubicles, and the people around me gradually became concerned that my kids had been up to something as I kept saying ‘Seriously? Are you sure?’ By the time the conversation had finished, there were a lot of people around my desk.

Have you been to the JUNOS before?

Never, but I have watched the broadcast, and have thought that it would be a great show to see live because there’s so much fantastic music in one place. It never dawned on me that I would get the chance to go.

From the moment I arrived, it was the most unbelievable experience. We landed, and within half an hour of being at the hotel, we were headed to the JUNO Cup hockey game to watch the Rockers play the NHL Greats.

Thumb patti junos with ron sexsmith in green lounge

Patti with Ron Sexsmith in the TD Music Green Room

What were some of your other highlights?

The Behind the Scenes Tour ran Saturday [March 29] morning, and what a great way to see what would happen on Sunday evening. It was really interesting to hear John Brunton, the JUNO Awards Broadcast executive producer, say that the driving factor in producing the show, for him, is ensuring that the music and fans connect. [He said] it’s not about music talking to musicians. To see how that actually plays out when you go to the JUNO Awards Broadcast added so much perspective.

After that, we visited the TD Music Green Room. The TD folks had said ‘Come by; there’s lots of people coming through,’ so we decided to go, and the timing couldn’t have been better. We hung our coats up, turned the corner, and I practically walked into Ron Sexsmith. I gasped, turned around, and said to my friend Paul really loudly ‘Ron Sexsmith is here! Ron Sexsmith is here!’ Then I composed myself, shook Ron’s hand, and told him how much I had enjoyed his set at the West End Cultural Centre the night before. He’s just so humble and unassuming, and very lovely.”

By four o’clock on Saturday, my friend Paul looked at me, and said ‘Can you believe that we haven’t even been here 24 hours?’


Thumb patti junos paul by juno award bannerPaul Moser

Sunday was the big event; how was your experience of the JUNO Awards Broadcast day?

We went to the Red Carpet Audience in the late afternoon. On one side of the carpet is the media, so artists come along and do interviews with them, and then on the other side are fans. We were part of that fan audience, surrounded by screaming teenagers (laughs).

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That’s one way to use your voice. Speaking of which, do you still sing? We don’t do as many gigs as in the past, but I’m hesitant to let it go. In fact, I’ve started to take singing lessons again to really get some of that technical stuff back. My 50th birthday was in March so this JUNOS experience was an amazing way to mark and celebrate it, with something I’ve loved my whole life. Truthfully, being there, made me feel pretty young.