Monday, October 19, 2020

Remembering Blues Supporter John Valenteyn

Earlier this month (October 4), Toronto Blues Society co-founder John Valenteyn passed away of a rare blood disorder. Among his many achievements include reviewing many Blues CDs for the Maple Blues newsletter and hosted a long running Blues radio show. Our condolences to his family, friends and fans.

Here are a few social media comments from local artists.

Smoke Wagon Blues Band

Deepest condolences to friends and family of John Valenteyn.  Founding member of The Toronto Blues Society. John was such an amazing friend to the blues community in Canada.  I will always remember our very first review from John way back on our very first album. I was so excited I drove to Toronto and picked up a whole bunch of copies for our friends and family. Every review, amazing radio play, and support over the years has meant the world to us. Thank you John RIP

Lily Sazz (Cootes Paradise)

Your selfless dedication to blues music and the people who create it was appreciated more than you may have known. Our last exchange involved you reaching out to me to make sure you received advance access to our new Cootes Paradise album, as you'd be heading up north and wanted to make sure to write a review in the August MapleBlues newsletter. In an industry where anything other than being ignored is really appreciated, you stood out as someone who always acknowledged and appreciated us. You were a true gentleman, and a kind, gentle soul. Deepest sympathies to Brenda, friends, family, and colleagues. Your loss will leave a canyon in the community. 


Saddened to hear of the passing of John Valenteyn, one of the true pillars of Canadian blues and the nicest guys you'll ever meet. His passion and knowledge of blues was unrivaled and he supported so many blues artists as co-founder of the The Toronto Blues Society and through his over 30 years as host of The Blues Hour on CJRT and CIUT. Only a few months ago, he reviewed our 50th album for the Maple Blues Newsletter in John's Blues Picks, as he'd done for so many of our albums over the years.

Our sincere condolences to his wife of 46 years, Brenda Valenteyn and family. John will be dearly missed......
 Chris Antonik

I was fortunate to be a guest on John's show several times, and his review of my first record 10 years ago helped instill the confidence and encouragement I needed to get moving in this business. 

Rhoaul Bhaneja

RIP John Valenteyn Blues DJ on CJRT and CIUT, long time Toronto Blues Society member, reviewer of thousands of Blues recordings for Maple Blues Magazine and a one time record store sales man who turned so many customers on to blues music (and more) on his shifts. Condolences to his many friends and family. 

From the Toronto Blues Society:

After a difficult fight with a rare blood disorder HLH John passed mid day on Sunday October 4 at Toronto Western Hospital according to his wife of 46 years, Brenda Valenteyn. Co-founder of the Toronto Blues Society in 1985, John was a pillar of the Canadian blues community broadcasting at CIUT 89.5 FM for fourteen years following a twenty year run with The Blues Hour at CJRT (now jazzfm). According to life long Port Colborne friend Doug McVicar, John’s first taste of broadcasting at Queens University flipped him from a path in engineering to the Ryerson Radio and Television Arts program and his stint as a producer, leading to years on the air. An avid collector, John travelled yearly to the Chicago Blues Festival trolling the aisles at Bob Koester’s Blues and Jazz Mart while catching live shows at Petrillo Band Shell.

His enormous collection made him a natural member of the Maple Blues Award Steering Committee and monthly Maple Blues newsletter reviewer in John’s Blues Picks. His knowledge and passion for blues recordings and artists made him the leading figure in Canada’s blues history. He will be missed.

Cards to Toronto Blues Society and in lieu of flowers, donations requested to TBS via online or cheques to the office address: 910 Queen St. W. Suite B04, Toronto-ON M6J 1G6.

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