Keith Bennett

Keith Gordon Bennett

Friday, February 25th, 1955 - Tuesday, September 24th, 2019
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BENNETT, Keith Gordon

It is with great sadness that the family of Keith Gordon Bennett announces his peaceful passing on the morning of September 24, 2019 at age 64. He was diagnosed in May with a brain tumour and handled the rapid progression of the disease with incredible grace. The family thanks the many generous, kind people who supported Keith and us through these challenging months.

A lifelong North Vancouver resident and professional musician, Keith was an adventurer and loved sailing, skiing, mountain biking, canoeing, fishing, hiking and travel. A renaissance man, he also thoroughly enjoyed painting, pottery and woodwork.

Keith attended Burrardview Elementary, Windsor Secondary and Carson Graham Secondary. After graduating from the Capilano College Commercial Music Program, he went on to compose, perform, record and teach music for over 40 years. Although he was a gifted vocalist and guitarist, the instrument he loved most and for which he is best known is the chromatic harmonica.

Keith played for 10 years as the Vancouver Canucks’ ‘Harmonica Man’, was a featured soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, performed in two long-running Arts Club Theatre musicals, and filled countless venues with his unique sound and pure, unbounded love of music. His harmonica playing has been internationally recognized, notably at the World Harmonica Festival in Germany, and his playing has been featured in film, television, commercials and hundreds of studio albums including nine of his own.

Keith is survived by his wife Shelley, son Jason (Carmen), daughter Marina, their mother Brenda, his brother Roy, sister Alice and his many nieces, nephews and step children. Keith was predeceased by his parents, Eric and Doris, and his sister Fay.

Keith will forever be loved and remembered by many who were touched by his gentle, kind, modest and generous nature. He left a legacy of not only his beautiful music, but of spontaneity, creativity, wit and adventure.
In Keith’s name, donations may be made to Music Heals or the BC Cancer Foundation (refer to links below).

To write a condolence to the family, and for Celebration of Life details, please visit

“If music be the food of love, play on.” (Shakespeare)

Music Heals:

BC Cancer:
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Service Details

  • Celebration of Life

    Monday, November 4th, 2019 | 2:00pm
    Monday, November 4th, 2019 2:00pm
    Italian Cultural Centre
    3075 Slocan Street
    Vancouver, British Columbia V5M 3E4
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence

Rob Marr

Posted at 08:36pm
To the family and to Keith.
I wasn't informed of your passing until recently. I always looked up to you when seeing you at Cap College and seeing you perform
at jazz venues around town. I was so honoured to be able to become your regular bassist along side Howard Abel and perform as your back up band for almost 10 yrs off and on. I will cherish those music making times and going canoeing with you up indian arm.
Much love Rob (rockin roberto) Marr

Hyo Nessel

Posted at 09:06pm
I met Keith through my dad and stepmom, and took some guitar and vocal lessons from him a few times. Even if my interactions with him were relatively brief, much of what he said, songs he showed me, and outlook stuck with me to this day. Rest in peace, you'll be missed..

Doug Wardrop

Posted at 01:15pm
I met Keith at Carson Graham Sr. high. I have been musical for my whole life and played 5 instruments badly! One of them was the blues harp and play with our mutual friend at Carson, Paul Tolan. When we figured out that Keith was a young master/genius of the blues harp and could never get close to his talent. I didn't quit because of it as he was always gracious about it and encouraged me along over the years. I bought chromatic harmonic myself and likely have it somewhere. Then he'd got gigs at the Snuggery at the Harvest restaurant and it was a hang of ours too. But specifically, we would show up to play. Good times!
After high school, I went to work as a sailmaker, helped build racing boats etc as that was another passion. We stayed together for friends for many years. I don't remember the boat we had at that time I invited Keith to come cruising to the Gulf Island/San Juan Islands. I think he was a real newbie sailor at the time and we arrived at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. There was is a strip of bars along the waterfront. Like the Electic Company etc and we went to a bar called "Thursday Harbor". There was local band playing and Keith, as gracious as he was, asked if he could join in with his harp. I think he asked the band they new "Room to Move": by John Mayall ( one of Keith's signature tunes at that time) and the band thought they could hum a few bars. Well, Keith got up and started to play. The patrons and band went into shock! Just stunned with his talent. After a few more tunes there were people were coming out on the street and the bar as they couldn't believe it! We had all the drinks and food paid for and closed the joint. Next day we headed around the island to Roche Harbour and there was a band on the dock that night. Keith asked to sit in too. He did a tune or two but we got the impression they were a little stuffy resort town and not really welcomed to play further. Jealousy maybe? The next day we went back to Friday Harbor and back to that bar that evening. The bar manager said: "Holy Smoke - where were you guys yesterday! The whole marina and town should up!". Pretty remarkable really.

The other story sticks in my mind that we used to go up to Whistler before it became a tourist trap of Whistler proper now. Keith got a gig at the Christiana (?) Lodge near the old gondola up. He found a homemade camper shoved into the trees off the road on near the lodge. That's where we stayed for that season. Not much in the way of comfort or heat but we were young, stupid and adventurous enough to do that. Good times!

Sail on brother Keith - We hardly knew ye!



Posted at 12:38pm
I'm so sorry that Keith is gone...for your loss, and for the beautiful music he brought to us all.
Keith was a joy to work with and combined his big hearted music with a great focus and technique.
And always playful and funny!
Play on Keith
love from Terry Frewer

Howard Johnston

Posted at 10:33am
I was shocked and saddened to hear of Keith’s passing. Living in the USA now I only met with him a few times recently.
I met Keith in the late 1990’s, taking guitar, harmonica, and voice lessons with him.
We became friends and I followed him to many “gigs”, I loved to hear and watch him play. I was first in line for his “CD’s”, and had him autograph each one. (I am glad I did)
Keith played events for the company I worked for, and I was a roadie when he moved all his equipment, by boat, in the rain, to play for “Earl’s Restaurants” Christmas gathering on an Island off West Vancouver Yacht Club.
We both lived in the Deep Cove area, and he took me sailing many times. He loved sailing and spent many days cruising through the Gulf Islands, playing at various pubs. He kicked my butt mountain biking down Mount Seymour. He played and sang in the stage show of “Carole King’s, Tapestry” for 15 weeks. He told me he couldn’t listen to her music much after that.
He was a fun, vibrant man with so much talent, the way he could play harmonica was amazing.
He was a lover of life and music, (what else do you need?)
My thoughts go out to Shelly (we only met a few times), Brenda, (I love your music too), and his many family and friends.
I will miss him and think of him when ever I play, or hear harmonica.
Keith, your music lives on in your students and I will play for you often.
Your friend and fan, Howard Johnston.

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