Photo by Chung Chow
Charlotte Diamond’s songs have woven themselves into the fabric of childhood for over three generations.
Most of us
know the words to Four Hugs a Day and May There Always Be Sunshine thanks to
their creator and performer, Richmond’s Charlotte Diamond.
On Friday, Aug. 25 at 7:30 a.m. Richmond time, Diamond received the Order of Canada for her music, her work with children and her work with teachers. Because the Richmond-based performer’s appeal spans our country, Diamond’s appointment to the Order of Canada is national.
This allows Diamond to put the initials CM after her name.
“Yes, I’m officially Charlotte Diamond CM now,” she says with a chuckle.
Canada does not have knighthoods or similar titles. In fact, Canadian citizens are barred from accepting such titles, even from other countries.
Instead, we created the Order of Canada to offer the same high recognition of accomplishment that a title bestows while still emphasizing the equality of all Canadians.
While Diamond’s investiture is a national affair, in the Governor-General’s residence, Rideau Hall, her road to the Order of Canada started here in Richmond. Even though she’s known for about a year that this was coming, Diamond didn’t know who had done all the work to nominate her.
“I only found out about two months ago that it is three local people who are really important friends of mine.”
She demurred when asked for their names, citing privacy concerns. But clearly it thrills Diamond that the three have connections to teaching, education and civic leadership.
Diamond says the song of hers that speaks to her most right now is Wounded Bird.
“It says, ‘You’ll fly again.’ I wrote it in 1992 for somebody going through a troubled time to say this too will pass.”
Living with a sling as her broken collar bone heals, ahead of the ceremony, Diamond says: “It’s going to be very, very exciting. I have a lovely black sling that I can wear.”
Diamond, broken bone and all, adds: “Well, I can’t play guitar right now but I can sing.”
Diamond started her full time musical pursuits by quitting her teaching career, cashing in her entire teacher’s pension to fund her first album, 10 Carrot Diamond.
“Sometimes you have to take a risk,” she says.
Looking back over her career, Diamond says of her Order of Canada: “It just validated all those 32 years of teaching, performing, and teaching teachers. I started in 1985. I started off with a bang. I don’t know how I managed it all in those days, being a mom.”
Now, preparing to move from their long-time West Richmond home to Sechelt, Diamond says after so many decades of her music: “We have so much in this house from 43 years as a performer and running a successful business out of this house.”
She says of all the clearing out and packing: “I’m celebrating a bit of a nostalgia tour--reading letters, feeling the appreciation of people who’ve helped me along the way. I have a lot of sorting to do, so our lives are at a pause point; packing and healing from my injury.”
“I will of course trim back some of the touring. It’s demanding and I want to spend more time up in Sechelt enjoying the beautiful location and my grandkids. This is an important stage of life.”
Diamond still looks to the future and her music.
“I always want to communicate the importance of music, and the importance of music in bringing joy and levity to our lives.”