In March 2012, I was looking for a way to remember Bruce in a meaningful way. Marsha Goold initially set up a fund to help me through that rough time, and many friends contributed immediately. But after things settled down, remarkably, there was a bit left over.
I asked for financial advice and approached a couple of different organizations.
I needed to find a group that would be willing to do the ongoing work of administering the fund, acknowledge donors with tax receipts, and use the money to do something that would honour Bruce’s passion for choral music, his commitment to educating young people, his kindness and his quirkiness.
Pax Christi Chorale, who typically finds innovative ways to make cool things work, stepped forward to administer the fund. Donations now come in throughout the year by cheque, and online through our website. Contributors receive tax receipts, and the money is used to fund projects that Bruce would have loved: projects off the well-beaten musical path; initiatives that particularly involve young people, or allow us to add that extra musical ingredient that might be dropped if the funds aren’t there.
I recall when Pax performed Mendelssohn’s Saint Paul in 2006. Studying my conductor’s score, I pointed out to Bruce with interest that Mendelssohn’s orchestration contained a serpent – an antiquated, twisted instrument, half way between a gigantic cornetto and a tuneful black sausage. For me that was a quaint detail worthy of note, but for Bruce it was an imperative. “We must have a serpent in the show” he said – repeatedly – and repeatedly. After much research, we actually did use the instrument. It was Herb Poole of the Canadian Opera Company orchestra who stepped up, found an instrument, and played it in the show, much to Bruce’s delight.
Each year the choir uses the fund to finance our musical dreams. Bruce’s fund helped us initiate a programme with Fr John Redmond highschool, conducting workshops with the students, culminating in a semi-staged production of Handel’s oratorio Solomon in 2013. The excitement those young singers brought to our performance was palpable. You could actually feel the energy in the room, even before the show began!
Again in 2014 Bruce’s fund assisted with our video project “Now the Queen of Seasons” premièring a Canadian composition. We hired professional filmmaker Robert DiVito, and with the choir singing by memory, it is a wonderful testament to the choir’s musical accomplishments. I’m sure we will look back in ten years and cherish this short video. The project certainly would not have happened without the support from Bruce’s memorial fund.
This year our hope is to make the first complete recording of the oratorio JUDITH by C.H.H. Parry. It’s true. Believe it or not a Canadian choir will be the first to record this major dramatic oratorio by the most important English composer of the nineteenth century. We’ll be digitally capturing the live performance at Koerner Hall, but we will not have the funds to complete the recording until after the performance is over, since we’ll have engineering, editing, mastering, design and production costs, and the very large orchestra will require an extra royalty payment to finish the recording.
We will also be wrapping up a long-term project – a CD of my own compositions – recorded by Pax Christi Chorale and Chamber Choir with True North Brass, string orchestra, percussion and organ. The CD will be called “Winter Nights” after my cantata by that name, dedicated to Pax Christi Chorale’s former board of directors Chair, Emily Burgetz.
Bruce’s memorial fund will continue to support innovative projects for Pax Christi Chorale long after I have ceased to be the artistic director, and I am confident that my successor will be grateful for the freedom to pursue creative musical projects.
If you’re so inclined, you can click here to donate to the Bruce Kirkpatrick Hill fund, or write a cheque to the fund c/o
Pax Christi Chorale
295 Wright Ave.,
Thanks for keeping Bruce’s memory alive by making cool musical things happen.