Rodney Brown – My quest to honour my hometown’s namesake and subject of my songs William McGillivray

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Rodney Brown with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra
Rodney Brown with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra
Rodney Brown with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra
Rodney Brown with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra – photo by Shannon Lepere

THUNDER BAY – Northwestern Ontario musician Rodney Brown shares, “My quest to honour my hometown’s namesake and subject of my songs William McGillivray. After retracing McGillivray’s steps back to the Scottish Highlands I went to London England to see where he died. His biographer Marjorie Wilkins Campbell claimed he was buried underneath the nave of the Old Wren Church St. James’s Piccadilly but I could find no evidence after combing the church walls one morning. The church confirmed but explained that his grave might have been bombed during WW2”.

“They suggested I check the old church records at Westminster Archives where I found a document from 1825 proving his burial there. After notifying the church and others in Canada I began to take on the quest to have a new plaque made,” adds Brown. “After five years of consultations and negotiations and twelve wording revisions McGillivray’s plaque was fixed at the church on July 16, 2012”.

Plaque marking the grave of William McGillivary

Photo by Phillip Sury.

On Friday, October 19th 2012 Brown will celebrate his new release, “Fort William” with a special CD Launch Concert at 8:00 p.m. the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, 1 Paul Shaffer Drive, Thunder Bay, Ontario. 

“Fort William” details the legacy of the voyageurs and the First Nations peoples at the North West Company’s fur trading post on the Kaministiquai River over 200 years ago. Orchestrated by composer Lise Vaugeois, “Fort William” is an evocative follow-up to Rodney’s well-received recordings, “North Land” and “The Big Lonely”. Producer Keith Horner and engineer David Burnham recorded Rodney’s 11th album on stage at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium. 

“Rodney Brown is a strong musical ambassador for our city and region. His songs bring to life the rich history of the place where we live and work. The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra is delighted to collaborate with Rodney on this effort to capture the spirit and adventure of Northwestern Ontario’s fascinating past.” said Arthur Post, Music Director. 

Tickets may be purchased online, by phone or in person at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium (www.tbca.com). Tickets are at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium box office, call (807) 684-4444 or Toll Free 1-800-463-8817.

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