MacKay, Ronald R.
Ronald (Raymond) MacKay. Bandmaster, conductor, teacher, hornist, composer, b Dunnville, Ont, 26 Sep 1928, d Cole Harbour, NS, 14 Apr 2008. Ronald MacKay studied conducting with Ifan Williams at the Maritime Conservatory of Music and french horn with Keith Vernon and Reginald Barrow of the Detroit and Toronto symphony orchestras respectively. He graduated as a bandmaster from the Canadian Forces School of Music in 1959 and taught there 1961-3. While in the Royal Canadian Navy he served as principal horn, then bandmaster of several navy bands. He also held the position of music director at Point Edward Naval Base, Royal Canadian Sea Cadets. He played principal horn for the Nova Scotia Opera, the Halifax Symphonette, and the Halifax and Victoria symphony orchestras and performed with the Alfred Coward Contemporary Jazz Octette. He served as director of Acadia University's Summer School for Instrumentalists 1970-88, of the Nova Scotia Summer Music Camp 1975-9, of St Mary's University concert and stage bands 1976-9, and of New Brunswick's Carleton County Music Festival summer camp 1986-9.
Ronald MacKay organized the Nova Scotia Provincial Band (non-competition) Festival and Workshop in 1973, and the Atlantic Stage Band Festival in 1975, co-ordinating the latter again 1978-9; and he co-ordinated the Maritime Music Festival in 1986 and 1989. He taught and directed the bands at the Cobequid Educational Centre, Truro, NS 1970-91. The centre's symphonic band, formed in 1966, appeared throughout the Maritimes, in Ontario and Quebec, and in Bermuda, England, and the USA. In 1989 MacKay became conductor of the Scotia Wind Ensemble in Halifax. He continued to conduct, compose and adjudicate until the year of his death.
Ronald MacKay wrote several marches, including March 'Nova Scotia' for former Nova Scotia premier Gerald Regan and Happy Hundred Song in honour of Truro's centennial, and he composed and arranged music for students and for the Nova Scotia Olympic Folk Festival, and other works such as Annapolis Royal Suite. The Canadian Band Association honoured him with its National Band Award in 1997. He was president 1986-8 of the Maritime Band Association, of the Nova Scotia Band Association 1991-3, and of the Canadian Band Association 1990-1.