A Choral Platinum Jubilee Celebration

Over the course of the history of the Drummond Foundation since its founding in 1893, the women of the Drummond family have been early pioneers and advocates for health care and social services in Montréal. Their commitment made a critical difference in the lives of many in the community and across the country. From Lady Julia Parker Drummond to Dorothea Drummond Millar to Helen Elizabeth Drummond Henderson and Elaine Cahn, the women of the Drummond family have continuously driven social change to improve the lives of others for over 130 years! 

This deep commitment to public service was exemplified by the late Queen Elizabeth II throughout her exceptional life of service. Inspiring women at the Drummond Foundation continue to be committed to public service through to the present day, through our Senior Grants Coordinator Megan Batty who proposed to celebrate these shared values with a series of choral concerts. Together with Marie Senécal-Tremblay, head of the Community Grants Committee, she submitted a proposal to Heritage Canada, The Drummond Foundation was  delighted to be awarded a Platinum Jubilee Fund: Celebration and Commemoration Grant in 2022.

The Platinum Jubilee Pin awarded by the Canadian Heritage Platinum Jubilee Fund: Celebration and Commemoration Program and Poster from the performance at the Chapelle Bon-Secours on November 6, 2022

A Choral Jubilee Concert Program

Over a period of ten months, the team at The Drummond Foundation worked diligently to gather together sixteen young and emerging professional singers from across Canada and the USA who are currently studying or based in Montréal. This very special Platinum Jubilee Choir was conducted by Megan Batty, the Drummond Foundation’s Grants Coordinator who is also an up-and-coming conductor, soprano, composer and graduate of McGill University and Queen’s University.

Megan Batty conducting the Drummond Foundation Platinum Jubilee Choir at the Chapelle Bon-Secours on November 6, 2022. Photo credit: Alain Wong

As choir conductor, Megan Batty curated a concert and program that took the audience on a journey exploring the depth and breadth of Canadian choral music by highlighting works from composers across the country who have been active over the course of her late Majesty’s 70–year reign. Over the course of seven decades, Canadian choral music has expanded to include many voices, contributing to what is today a flourishing community of professional composers, conductors, and choral singers.

The Drummond Foundation Platinum Jubilee Choir, with Grants & Donations Committee Chair Marie Senécal-Tremblay, and President Bruce Drummond McNiven.

In addition to highlighting choral gems from throughout her late Majesty’s reign, Megan’s program tied into several of Her late Majesty’s roles in Canada of bringing Canadians together and encouraging excellence through the Governor-General and the Order of Canada (with selections from several composers themselves Members of the Order). The Platinum Jubilee Concert included music in English and French, as well as in Ojibway. Pieces by Canadian composers Leonard Cohen, Tracy Wong, Laura Hawley, Allison Girvan, Kathleen Allan, Marie-Claire Saindon, Diane Loomer, Andrew Balfour, Mark Sirett, Imant Raminsh, and of course – Oscar Peterson, created a spectacular program that was truly outstanding.

Performance for residents at the Saint Margaret Residential Centre, November 5, 2022

The Platinum Jubilee Concert Series included several performances. Our first performance was, of course, for the benefit of the residents of Drummond Foundation’s long standing community partner Saint Margaret Residential Centre located in Westmount QC. Thanks our Canadian Heritage grant, we then performed a Jubilee Concert, free of charge, for the general public at the historic Chapelle Bon-Secours for a full house of Canadians and visitors.

Performance at the Chapelle Bon-Secours, November 6, 2022. Photo credit: Alain Wong

From 9 years old to 90 years old, the power of music strongly resonated across this wide range of audience members. Residents at the Saint Margaret Residential Centre connected deeply with the songs and rhythm of the music. The Center’s Recreational Therapist noted that residents were still talking about the concert months later. The Chapelle Bon-Secours performance was attended by over 100 audience members who offered a rousing standing ovation and an Encore. Audience members were thrilled with the performance, telling Foundation organizers that it was a “magnificent” and “truly fabulous” concert, with “a perfect choice of music.” 

Following the success of these two performances, we were honoured to receive a special and unexpected request from one of the Drummond Foundation’s community partners, the Atwater Library and Computer Centre in Westmount, QC. As part of closing ceremonies for their own Platinum Jubilee Exhibition, they invited the Platinum Jubilee Choir to perform as the closing celebratory event of their wonderful exhibition. The Drummond Foundation Platinum Jubilee Choir was delighted to add a third public performance to round out our concert series, reaching an even wider audience in so doing.

The Foundation is both pleased and proud to have been able to support this innovative musical program. In doing so, we brought together community partners, emerging artists, and Montréalers from all walks of life. Through the Drummond Foundation Platinum Jubilee Concert Series with support from Canadian Heritage’s Jubilee program we were able to shine a spotlight on a living form of Canadian heritage and bring to life its evolution over the span of the reign of an extraordinary woman, monarch and leader of the Commonwealth and of Canada.