There is great sadness among New England bluegrass fans this week, as Hazel McGee of White Mountain Bluegrass has passed away. Although expected for some time, the news was very upsetting to her many fans, and this lovely lady will be sorely missed.
Hazel, who performed for more than 40 years with White Mountain Bluegrass, was 73 years of age when she died on Monday morning, October 27. She and her husband, Mac, formed the group in 1970 and performed at festivals, concerts and shows all along the eastern United States, in four Canadian provinces, and in 13 European countries over their time together.
She had been dealing stoutly with cancer for several years, but was able to appear once again on stage with White Mountain Bluegrass at the Thomas Point Beach festival in Brunswick Maine for two sets this Labor Day weekend.
White Mountain Bluegrass was among the original bands decades ago at Thomas Point Beach. They were bluegrass pioneers in New England back in the 1960s, after the McGees moved north from their homes in the Georgia/Tennessee area.
Over the decades, they have undoubtedly been the hardest-working bluegrass band in New England, and made many many fine recordings. Their live album recorded in Holland in 1997 is available in iTunes, and other CDs can be ordered online.
Mac and Hazel have been recognized by the International Bluegrass Music Museum as Bluegrass Pioneers.
Hazel will be remembered for her startling clear, powerful and absolutely true tenor voice. She served as MC for the White Mountain Bluegrass show, and off stage was unfailingly friendly and gracious.
R.I.P., Hazel McGee.