Press Releases about the Jubilee Musical Tribute

Jubilee Choir Begins Preparations for Perth-Queens’ Anniversary Concert

On a snowy night in Perth, the combined choirs of Men and Women of the Tay, St. James and St. Paul’s Church choirs and friends began the rehearsals in preparation for the huge choral and orchestral concert to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Perth Military Settlement and the 175th anniversary of Queen’s University. At concert time, the Perth singers will be joined by the Queen’s Choral Ensemble and Queen’s University Orchestra. The University was founded partly due to the efforts of Perth businessman William Morris and hence the joint celebration of both anniversaries.

 The music for the Perth concert reflects the history of Perth. The major musical work will be the lilting Schubert Mass in C, composed in the anniversary year 1816.  Among the other selections are Moonlight on the Rideau, composed for the Perth Citizens’ Band by W. R. Spence in 1936 and a new and very funny song about the Mammoth Cheese composed for the occasion by Perth musician Jack Hurd.  The Concert will be performed at Queen’s on Friday evening, March 18th and at St. John Catholic Church in Perth at 7:30 pm on Saturday evening March19th.  Perth tickets are available through


Photo by David Zimmerly

Jubilee Musical Tribute Concert Event in Perth

The year 2016 will be a banner year for both Perth and Queen’s University.  The Military Settlement on the Rideau, which later came to be known as Perth, was founded two hundred years ago in 1816.  A prominent Perth settler and businessman, William Morris, was instrumental in establishing Queen’s College, later to become Queen’s University. Queen’s will also be celebrating their one hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary in 2016. A Perth-based committee of Queen’s graduates and friends called the “Friends of Queen’s/Perth Anniversaries” was formed to institute ways to celebrate these milestones and the Perth/Queen’s connection.

The committee didn’t have to look too far to realize that three local residents conduct musical ensembles that have Perth and Queen’s connections.  Shelley McLaren, conductor of the Men and Women of the Tay choirs, and Brad Mills, Director of Music at St. Paul’s United Church, are both Queen’s music grads.  Gordon Craig, owner of the Perth Manor Boutique Hotel, conducts the Queen’s University Orchestra. Through a collaborative effort a signature musical event has now been planned which will involve the Men and Women of the Tay, the choirs of St. Paul’s, St. James and Friends, the Queen’s University Choral Ensemble and the Queen’s orchestra.

This massed 200 voice choir and orchestra will perform a Jubilee Tribute Concert  to be held at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Perth on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. The concert will feature Schubert’s Mass in C written the year of Perth’s founding in 1816 among other selections from 1916 and 2016.

Please circle March 19 on your calendar and plan to attend. Further information and where to obtain tickets will be forthcoming in the February and March editions of The Humm.

Submitted by Glenn Tunnock. Photo by David Zimmerly.

Perth's Jubilee Musical Tribute Concert will bring shouts of “More Cheese, Please!”

Perth Military Settlement's 200th and Queen's University's 175th anniversaries are being celebrated with music on March 19th in Perth at the Jubilee Musical Tribute. The Queen's University Choral Ensemble and Orchestra will be joining local choirs to perform Schubert’s Mass in C and other musical pieces from 1816 to 2016. Combined, there will be about 250 sharing their voices and musical talents. The directors and conductors have masterfully developed a program that honours and rejoices in our past and will create memories in the present.

 Jack Hurd has created a special piece for Perth's 200th Anniversary that will be performed for the first time at the concert. Hurd is a local retired music teacher, composer, conductor and performer. He has, with creative license, set to music the lyrics of the poem “Ode on the Mammoth Cheese”.

The Ode was written by James McIntyre. McIntyre has been humorously and affectionately referred to as one of Canada's worst poets. He was born in Scotland in 1828 and came to Upper Canada in 1841. He moved around the province and eventually settled in Ingersoll. As a poet he was called upon to read at local events. He published two collections of poetry. One of his most famous poems was the “Ode on the Mammoth Cheese” and hence he became known as the cheese poet. In 1997 Ross and Kathryn Petras created an anthology entitled “Very Bad Poetry” and McIntyre's Ode was included in the book. Since then there has been an interesting revival of some of our best bad poets.

McIntyre's poem is about an actual mammoth cheese produced in Ingersoll in 1866 and sent to Toronto, New York and Britain. It only weighed 7000 pounds compared to Perth's 22,000 pound cheese. Perhaps stories of this cheese and the poem inspired the commissioning of Perth's famous cheese in 1892.

Hurd says he “views life through a lens of humour” so this fun, often nonsensical, poem inspired him. “Let the words be silly but the music must always strive for sublimity!” Hurd has added or changed some words “the essence according to him”. He has created a well crafted contemporary choral piece or “musical romp” that lets the music elevate the verses to a magnificent musical indulgence without calories or cholesterol.

Hurd's creative abilities have been shared and enjoyed in school auditoriums and classrooms during his teaching years at Queen Elizabeth and PDCI. He has written several musical plays and made three CDs. His passion for music and teaching have encouraged and inspired many. He says “working with choirs, unleashing the chemistry of all these people singing together is probably what I enjoy the most”.

After listening to this concert piece we will all be shouting “More Cheese, Please!”. Tickets for the concert are $22(Adult), $12(Student) and are available from Tickets Please, 39 Foster St., Perth or online . The concert is 7:30 pm at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Perth. 

Linda Cuthbertson