Charles was born April 11, 1950 in Lamont Alberta, son of Peter and Elizabeth Gargus.
As the youngest member of Peter Gargus & The Swingsters Band, at age 6, Charlie took his turn behind the drums and ignited a lifelong passion for music. Peter, his Dad, believed every musician needed to learn to play the drums first to “get the beat”. Those first few gigs were short runs as he would fall asleep on the bench on the stage or in an accordion case by about 10 PM, but he slept with a smile on his face.
A musician was born.
He learned how to play the banjo when his younger brother, Dwayne, took his place behind the drums in the family band. Charlie also learned how to play 2nd trumpet, the guitar, and bass guitar, depending on the needs of the band. Every weekend was busy playing music with the Swingsters, at Ukrainian wedding, dances, anniversary parties, etc. The band recorded several CD's and LP records and was well known across the province until their retirement in 1998. Then Charlie was invited to play with other bands as needed.
Charlie taught his son, Jarod, how to play the drums. It was a proud moment for Peter to have 3 generations of drummers on stage with him. Charlie, a teacher by profession, taught others to play music. Today, he teaches about 15 adults and children how to play the violin, mandolin, guitar, even his two grandchildren.
Charlie inherited his Dad's special violin and thus began a new passion. He took violin lessons and practised every chance he could with his Dad. In 2001, he started to attend Fiddle Camps and was amazed at how many talented violin players there were in Alberta.
Mundare Fiddle Camp
Along with Debby, his wife, they started a one-day workshop for Ukrainian Music in Mundare in 2005. It offered instruction on violin, keyboard, dulcimer, guitar, accordion and now Ukrainian ballads. This workshop will celebrate its 10th anniversary in March 2015 and is still going strong. Participants travel from across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Toronto to attend the Mundare Fiddle Camp. The day wraps up with a Ukrainian feast and concert, wherein the students perform the songs they learned during the day. This is open to the public and is always sold out far in advance.
In the Athabasca Harvest Gold Fiddle Competition, in 2011, he took Second Place as a competitor in the Senior's division. Then in 2012, he competed in the Grand North American Fiddle competition in Radway, Alberta where he took Third place, and First Place in the Senior's Competition in both 2013 and 2014.
Charlie, along with two other talented musicians perform regularly at Senior Lodges, at the Ukrainian Village, at the “Open Stage” at Baba's & Borsch Ukrainian Festival in Andrew, the Andrew Garlic Festival, at the”Warwick and Mundare Music Jams”
Music is truly his passion and he loves to share it – and the Ukrainian music is his first love.