Artistic Director of Summer Music retires after 26 years

Summer Music Camp 2018 came to an end on Friday (July 27th) with the final Grand Finale concert. 

             Grand Finale Concert of Summer Music 2018 had performances by all three levels of                                                                                  bands, including the Festival Winds

This year’s camp venue was hosted by the Blue Water School Board at Saugeen District Secondary School (SDSS) and Saugeen Central Elementary School in Port Elgin.  The camp that has normally been held in Southampton was unable to be accommodated in 2018 due to several facilities undergoing renovations.

Marg Funston is recognized after 10 years as a Board Member and several as Board Chair

In it’s 31st year, the camp is about to also undergo leadership changes as Artistic Director Ridley Gilmore, who has been with the organization for 26 years, retires along with long-time Board member Marg Funston.

  Artistic Director, Ridley Gilmore (2nd from L) is presented with a plaque signed by students and indicating a scholarship in his name

Through Gilmore’s long history of contacts within the world of music instruction, he has been able to attract top music teachers and musicians from across North America.  In recognition of Gilmore’s passionate dedication to music and musical instruction, a scholarship has been established in his name.

This year’s final Grand Finale concert, that included the Festival Winds conducted by David Leach, impressed the near capacity audience at SDSS.  Leach has been a guest conductor at the camp for six years and has been the Director of Bands at Ann Arbour High School since 2002 and his Sr. Band performed on an international stage having toured China and playing in New York’s Carnegie Hall.  He holds a Masters in Music Ed. at Eastern Michigan University.  His conducting style and instruction brings out the best in the musicians.

From the very young in ‘Tots & Tunes’ and ‘Musical Beginnings’ to adults in the Senior Band and Festival Winds, the camp has become a musical learning experience for every age.

The Summer  Music Society, umbrella organization for the Summer Music Camp and Something Different Concert, “… provides more opportunities for artistic and cultural growth and cultivates not only the education and musicians who come to the camp but also explores future outlets for local talent and opportunities for audiences to experience performance arts.”

                ‘Musical Beginnings’ teaches musical performance at an early age

“You have no idea how lucky you are in this area to have this kind of musical asset,” said Conductor David Leach.  “It has been proven that young people who take up music do better in almost every other facet of learning. Their test scores are better and they interact with others on a higher level. This musical camp cannot be compared to any other in North America.”

To become a Friend of the Summer Music Society, the annual fee is only$10.  Visit for more information.