|The Honourable Dr.
Thomas Benjamin Banks
OC AOE LL.D.
|Senator for Alberta, Alberta|
April 7, 2000 – December 17, 2011
|Appointed by||Adrienne Clarkson|
|Preceded by||Ron Ghitter|
December 17, 1936 |
|Profession||pianist, conductor, arranger, composer, television personality and former senator.|
Born in Calgary, Alberta, he moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 1949, where he has resided until the present day. He presented a show on CKUA called "The Solo Piano of Tommy Banks" in about 1960. Of his time at CKUA, Banks said in an interview, "I'd lurch into the studio on Sunday morning and go and set up the microphone and turn everything on and then sit down and start playing."
He hosted the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) television show, The Tommy Banks Show, from 1968 until 1983.
Since his 1950 professional debut, Tommy Banks has, as the Toronto Star pointed out, "... done everything a musician could wish for." MacLean’s Magazine observed that "It would be easier to list the things he doesn’t do." He is the recipient of the Juno Award, the Gemini Award, the Grand Prix du Disques-Canada, several ARIA Awards, and is a member of the Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame.
Musical touring has taken him to the farthest reaches of China, to the Eastern Europe that used to be referred to as "behind the iron curtain", and to most points in between.
He provided musical direction for the ceremonies of the XI Commonwealth Games, EXPO ’86, The World University Games, the XV Olympic Winter Games, and for countless television shows. He has produced and/or conducted command performances for Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family, and for President Ronald Reagan.
He was the founding chairman of the Alberta Foundation for the Performing Arts, a member of the Canada Council from 1989 to 1995 and a policy consultant to the Council from 1996 to 1998. He was chairman of the Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation from 1989 to 1991. He is the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Alberta, of the Sir Frederick Haultain Prize, the Alberta Order of Excellence, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.
He has conducted symphony orchestras throughout North America and in Europe. His recordings are on Century II Records, distributed by Royalty Records.
He is a member of the A. F. of M., ACTRA, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (U.S.), the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, and of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.
He was appointed to the Senate by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson at the recommendation of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in 2000. He represented the Senatorial division of Edmonton, Alberta. Sitting as a Liberal, Banks was the Chair of the Senate Standing Committee of the Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources from 2002 to 2009. Banks sponsored bill c-464 in the Senate which passed in 2010, tightening bail conditions to protect children against those accused of serious offences. Known as "Zachary's Bill" the legislation stemmed from the 2003 murder of Zachary Turner by his mother who had been controversially bailed after killing Zachary's father. On December 17, 2011, he reached the Senate's mandatory retirement age of 75.