Guitarist, vocalist, bandmate, friend. Peterborough is saying goodbye to Jan Schoute.
“Peterborough hasn’t just lost a musician; they’ve lost a wonderful human.”
Those are the words of his former band-mate, Terry Guiel, on Tuesday, just a day after the body of his friend was found at home. Schoute, a longtime staple on the Peterborough music scene, died suddenly Tuesday at the age of 54. At this point, those close to him say it’s unclear how he died.
“For many years to come, we’re going to miss his contributions,” Guiel said. “He was the first one you’d call if there was a charity, someone in need.”
Throughout his life, Schoute was always likeliest to be found anywhere live music was playing. And most often, he was one of the musicians on the stage.
“He made it look easy,” said Brent Bailey, who played next to Schoute for years, first in Jericho’s Wall with Guiel, and lately with a new band, The Bailiens.
“You never knew where Jan was going to show up. I played with Ronnie Hawkins for a number of years, and I remember being at the Air Canada Centre, and all of sudden Jan is there with his guitar, and I was like, ‘how did you get in here?'”
Most recently, Schoute would have been found at McThirsty’s Pub on Thursday nights, strumming his guitar.
“He was like a stand-up comedian when you were having a conversation with him,” said co-musician Robert Atyeo. “He was very smart and very intelligent, and just kind. And boy, could he play.”
Wolf 101.5 host Matt Diamond is organizing a fundraiser Sunday night at the Red Dog Tavern.
“Jan was a family man, he loved his family more than anything,” Diamond said. “We were just thinking, what is the greatest way we could get people to share in his love and his legacy, but to try to raise some money for his family.”
It’s also a chance to pay tribute to their dear friend.
“Music was his legacy, of course. That’s what he loved to do to make people smile,” Diamond said.