A trumpet was placed at the front of the stage at the beginning of the Peter Witherly memorial concert on June 8 in honour of Witherly, an avid player. (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

Community concert honours Peter Witherly’s legacy

The music society fulfills its financial obligation for the Peter Witherly Community Music Studio

Peter Witherly spent more than 30 years in Prince Rupert teaching thousands of students and directing dozens of ensembles, bands and choirs. Now the building that bears his name is paid for in full.

On June 8, the Prince Rupert and Region Music Society presented a $550,000 check to School District 52 at the Peter Witherly Memorial concert. That amount represented the remainder of the music’s society’s financial commitment for the Peter Witherly Community Music Studio, which opened in 2014.

READ MORE: Peter Witherly was Prince Rupert’s melody.

“It’s a moment that has been years in the making,” said Zoe Zentner, who presented the cheque on behalf of the society. “Peter would have paid it off himself if he could have and we didn’t want him doing that so it’s really good.”

The cheque presentation was simply a highlight in a night filled with memorable and moving moments. Approximately 600 people packed into the Lester Centre’s auditorium to pay tribute to Witherly — who passed away on Feb. 23 — in music, song and spirit.

“If he was the priest of Prince Rupert music, the Lester Centre was his temple,” said Michael Gurney, the concert’s MC .

According to those who knew him best, Witherly was not the type of man who would have sought or enjoyed the praise that was heaped upon him during the concert. However, the music, laughter and cheers that echoed from centre’s auditorium were testament to the impact he had on so many people in Prince Rupert and the region.

“I don’t think it’s ever been a mystery of the contribution that my dad made and there’s always been appreciation, but he was not the sort of person that sought the public glory like this,” said his son, Michael Witherly who offered a tribute to his father during the concert. “So in a sense there was this pent up need to do something like this because it never could have happened in his lifetime.”

READ MORE: Heart of our City – Prince Rupert’s man behind the music

The concerts performers included the Prince Rupert Community Band, the Prince Rupert Swing Band, the Rotary Choir, the Mermaids, the Undecideds, the Oompah Band, Skeena Jazz and the Dance Academy of Prince Rupert. All of these groups were either started or influenced by Witherly in some way.

The final item of the concert was “The Prayer”, which the entire audience sang heartily together along with the performers on stage.

“It was really a celebration,” said Kristy Tillman, who has taken over conducting duties for the community band. “It was almost a party to say ‘look what you’ve done for us’ and we’ll continue doing what he wanted us to do.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Power goes out for more than 2,300 in Prince Rupert

Many lost power briefly overnight on June 18

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada issues a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

New minister joins Prince Rupert’s Anglican parish

Paul Williams moved south to lead St. Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral

Students set new records at Prince Rupert Middle School track day

Three new marks set on June 15 at Charles Hays Secondary School

Prince Rupert Chevron’s tanks run dry

The Second Avenue West gas station began to turn away customers on Saturday morning

This Week Podcast — Episode 89

Cruise ship season is upon us, and special guests talk about the upcoming Bushwacker dinner

Sweden beats South Korea 1-0

Sweden gets benefit of video review in World Cup

Blue Jay Roberto Osuna not expected to appear in court

The Blue Jays pitcher is charged with one count of assault by Toronto police

Global warming cooks up ‘a different world’ over 3 decades

Over 30 years the world’s annual temperature has warmed nearly 1 degree according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Family separation policy starts dividing Republicans

Deep concerns arise over the child separation policy in the U.S.

Strong earthquake in Japan kills 3

The magnitude 6.1 earthquake that struck the area early Monday near Osaka

B.C. NHL prospect expected to make ‘full recovery’ after an incident in Calgary

Jordy Bellerive was injured in a reported house fire Saturday night

BC Lions defensive back Marcell Young levels streaker in home opener

Young hit the fan near one of the 45-yard lines

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

Two Mexican World Cup fans were among those hit

Most Read