Grandfather, grandson each taking to TeleMiracle stage with unique talents

Fabian Villeneuve (left) and Maurice Villeneuve (right) will be performing separately at TeleMiracle 44. (Fabian Villeneuve/Submitted)

Fabian Villeneuve was inspired by his grandfather Maurice to pursue music as a teenager. Now, the pair are prepping to perform on TeleMiracle in separate acts.

Maurice has lived in Prince Albert for nearly his entire life. While Fabian now lives in Saskatoon, he credits the city as the place where he kickstarted his passion—where he and his cousin put on shows in the downtown Arts Centre before branching off to form separate bands.

“He said he was going to put his name in (for TeleMiracle), and I said I was thinking about that too,” recalled Maurice.

“I’m happy for my grandson, more than myself. I mean, it’s nice that he made it and it’s nice that I made it, but my time is probably just about over for (music). I still do performing all over the place,” he said. He’ll also be performing at the Prince Albert Winter Festival coming up next month.

For Fabian, the thought of being on the Conexus Arts Centre stage in Regina brings back memories.

“I’ve actually been to many shows there and knowing that it’s that arena excites me and makes me nervous as well because I’ve seen so many of my favourite bands actually play there,” he said.

“I’m very excited. It’s a different opportunity for me…being that it’s going to be televised.”

Fabian, influenced by his grandfather, performed on stage for the first time at the age of 12. After that, his love for singing and playing guitar took off.

“He said if I wanted to play music that I have to put in the time and the effort,” said Fabian.

“Shortly after that I just started to learn music very independently and fast. And that’s when I started performing with friends and then playing in bands and eventually setting up my own shows in Prince Albert.”

As for Maurice’s background in music, “It’s long, a long history,” he said with a laugh.

“I’ve been singing all my life. My first stage appearance was at four years old.”

The two have different tastes in the art, however. While Maurice is known for his country and country-rock sound, Fabian has a background in heavy metal, although his style is slowly changing.

He started listening to artists like Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles.

Fabian will be playing on the Countdown to TeleMiracle, which will be streaming on its YouTube channel starting at 6:15 p.m. on Mar. 7. TeleMiracle begins at 9 p.m. that night and runs until 5 p.m. on Mar. 8.

He said he gets to play two songs, of which he wanted to showcase his different styles.

The first song will be Michael Buble’s “Everything” and the second is “Brother” by the Christian rock group called NEEDTOBREATHE.

Maurice, who’s set to appear on the main show, will be performing “Go Rest High on That Mountain” by Vince Gill.

Previously, Maurice had auditioned twice for TeleMiracle.

“I tried two times before, but they had a lot of people back then,” he said.

“But this time it was different,” Maurice emphasized, adding that there were less distractions such as people talking or practicing in the corner.

“I said ‘Regina? I don’t know if I’ll get picked for Regina.’ I guess we made it, so that was a surprise because there’s more people from that area.”

While Fabian is looking forward to performing, he also felt it was important to support TeleMiracle. The 20-hour telethon raises money for people in need of medical and mobility assistance.

“This is more or less just something to show my ability as a musician in a different range. I also did this to support TeleMiracle because I’ve watched it for years. I wanted to see what I could provide,” said Fabian.

“If it wasn’t for my grandfather, I don’t know if I would be performing—He raised me growing up as a child, supported and guided me to where I needed to be. Watching my grandfather play is both a privilege and a learning experience for me.”

“I’m very proud of him.”