St. Mary Magdalene Gallery Choir 1967

I want to post a brief tribute here to my friend Patricia Harton-McCord, a wonderful person and marvelous musician. She’s pictured here at choir practice with the Gallery Choir under the direction of Healey Willan in 1967. She’s the young singer in the second row, fourth from the right. She often recounted stories about those days and how Dr. Willan had been so generous with his time, mentoring and nurturing her obvious musical talents.

I first met Patricia as a student at U of Toronto and got to know her again as a colleague at the University of Guelph where she taught voice. We were so fortunate that she recently returned to St. Mary Magdelene’s with her family. The SMM church community meant a great deal to her, and I’m so glad we had that time together, however short.

Though Patricia had been in hospital for many weeks and in considerable discomfort, her outlook was amazingly positive and selfless. Her concern was always for others, and she inquired after everyone else and how they were doing. We lost a dear friend last night and she will be missed by all of us. We hope to sing a fitting Requiem for her on Saturday.

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7 Responses to Farewell to a friend

  1. We will, indeed miss Patricia. She was a loving and caring person who always took the time to encourage and help others in any way she could.
    Thank you for your thoughts, Stephanie.

  2. Allan Risk says:

    I was saddened to hear at yesterday’s service of Patricia’s death. I didn’t know her well, but we always said hello to each other at church and at the Out of the Cold dinners that we both contributed to. She had a wonderful smile, and always seemed genuinely happy when we ran into each other.

  3. Robert Loewen says:

    I was saddened to hear of Patricia’s passing. I knew she had returned to SMM with her family and, sadly, I did not reach out to reconnect. Patricia was one of the first people I got to know as a young scholarship student at the RCM. We became very good friends. Patricia introduced me to great choral organizations in the city, and was a real musical inspiration, in particular, in the area of melodies. Always sharing of her experiences with Pierre Bernac.

    Treasure memories.
    Robert Loewen D. Mus.

  4. Julia Armstrong says:

    No doubt it meant a lot to Patricia to return to SMM and sing in the Gallery Choir again in recent years. I am glad she had a chance to share stories and memories of Dr Willan with you. The music at tomorrow’s requiem mass will be a lovely tribute.

  5. Paul Mooradian says:

    Our family was truly saddened to learn of Patricia’s passing We knew her during the 23 years she spent with Robert at the Church of Epiphany in Oakville. A spectacular singing voice who often enhanced the church services. But what we will remember the most was her devotion to Alana and Robert.
    The Mooradian Family

  6. Burnetta Day says:

    It is with some sadness that I heard of Patricia’s passing. I have fond memories of her and her Mother, existing from the time we first met while singing in the Youth Choir at St. George’s United Church, under the direction of Lloyd Bradshaw.

    At that time, I was a very shy person and only able to express deeper feelings in front of strangers, through my music. Her tips and encouragement were very valuable to me at that time.

    I had hoped that one day we would be able to meet again and somehow arrange a reunion-performance with other singers that we both had known in those important formative years, and who had also continued on to have successful careers on the concert stage. Unfortunately this is no longer possible.

    I am very grateful to have known her.

    Burnetta Day, Soprano

    • Thanks for this Burnadetta. At her Requiem mass I met so many people who have memories of the youth choir you mention. So many life-long friendships were forged there.
      All the best to you,

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