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Alumni make music in The Early Morning

by Jo Ann Johnston | June 16, 2017

A simple love of music brought a lawyer, a dietician and a French immersion teacher together to form a band and craft their own unique sound – after their day jobs and the kids are asleep.

Western alumni Malcolm Scott, Johanna Kaipainen and Sandy MacDonald are all successful in their own careers, but music has always been the common force that drives each one.

“We are all spouses and parents,” said Scott, BA’01, LLB’04. “But everyone has to have an interest or an identity outside of their 9-to-5. We have The Early Morning – it’s an amazing opportunity to create something unique and entirely our own, something we can be proud of.”

The Early Morning
Johanna Kaipainen, BSc’03 (Food & Nutrition), Malcolm Scott, BA’01, LLB’04, and Sandy MacDonald, BA’00 (Kinesiology & French), BEd’01, are seen here with The Early Morning bandmates Jim MacDonald and Bronson Metcalfe.

The band first struck up a friendship in 2015. The two couples, three of them Western graduates, have seven kids between them. Weekly practices resulted in 10 shows in 2016 and the band’s official debut at a friend’s 40th birthday party.

“We’re lucky that a simple twist of fate brought us together so we could take this passion and craft it into a real product.”

At its core, The Early Morning sound is indie rock with songs defined by its hooks, harmonies and personal lyrics of love and life. As for influences, the band appreciates any music that rocks and rolls, with a twist of soul and country folk.

Scott is a personal injury and family lawyer by day and plays electric guitar and vocals in the band. Jim MacDonald, a private music teacher, shares lead vocals and plays acoustic guitar.

Together, they are the principal band songwriters and have each been involved in the music scene and songwriting for more than 20 years.

MacDonald has a solo career under the name The Jim MacDonald Show; Scott played in local 90s indie band, The New Grand.

They both have a unique sound, different from the other, but common in its influences and desired output. They also both knew they would need some help rounding out the new group.

Little did they know their wives would take their musical journey in a whole new direction.

Despite never having played instruments before, both woman quickly became devoted to learning the art of crafting songs, playing live and the band was formed.

Kaipainen, BSc’03 (Food & Nutrition), a registered dietitian, works as a pediatric diabetes educator by day and plays bass in the band at night. Sandy MacDonald, BA’00 (Kinesiology & French), BEd’01, teaches Grade Three and learned to play drums.

After a successful year as a foursome, the band sought a keyboardist to open up their sound. Bronson Metcalfe joined the group earlier this year.

“Sure, rock and roll is a young person’s game, but we are trying to re-write the rules and create something that stands out from the rest,” Scott said. “Each member contributes with ideas and concepts from our career lives, our parenting lives and our home lives.”

Catch up with The Early Morning in London, ON when they perform July 22 at Inspire! Community Expo, Springbank Gardens.


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