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VIDEO: Antigonish woman hits all the right notes with The Pandemic Waltz

Margaret MacGregor-MacDonald of Antigonish reached into her creative side to write The Pandemic Waltz. CONTRIBUTED
Margaret MacGregor-MacDonald of Antigonish reached into her creative side to write The Pandemic Waltz. - Contributed

Contacted at her Antigonish home, Margaret MacGregor-MacDonald was asked by a reporter if she’d be willing to speak about a piece of music she had created during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Margaret did one better.

“I’ll play it for you,” she quipped. “I’m right here at the piano; you could see what you think.”

The composition – aptly called The Pandemic Waltz – played with a light and relaxing melody over the phone for the next 45 seconds.

“So there you have it. You like that?” she then asked, to which the scribe replied, “I do!”

Margaret, 86, decided to write the music after seeing other peoples’ creative ideas flow into her email. Things such as memes, GIFs and other humorous images have not only kept her entertained during the pandemic, but have also given her inspiration to be creative herself.  

“One thing the pandemic is doing is making people create things,” she explained. “So I said one day, ‘why don’t I try something?’ So I sat at the piano, and I have to say, it sort of fell on the keys. And then the next day I tweaked it a little bit and thought, ‘that’s what I want.’”

Margaret, who grew up in Upper South River, has devoted her life to music. She attended the former Mount Saint Bernard College’s school of music (which later amalgamated with St. FX), leading to a career in teaching private music lessons in voice and piano. Margaret was also an assistant organist and soloist at St. Ninian Cathedral Church for 50 years. She also sings Gaelic and enjoys listening to Mozart.

“It’s my life, really,” she said of music. “I can’t think of life without it so I guess that’s the best way to put it.”

Jackie Dunn MacIsaac is a former student of Margaret's and was the first to share the new music on her Facebook page.

“When Margaret performs this tune, her classy touch enables the melody to sing and you can’t help but imagine dancers gracing the floor in time,” said Dunn MacIsaac.

Mary Farrell, Margaret’s niece, also shared her aunt’s music on social media. Also a former student of Margaret’s, Farrell says her aunt has always been extremely creative – a gift she passed on to the people she taught.

“She’s always shared her gifts and her talents, and you’ve been a better student as a result of her gifts,” said Farrell.

The Pandemic Waltz wasn’t Margaret’s first dance. She had penned other pieces of music for the church and even wrote a graduation waltz for her granddaughter last year. She said it’s likely she’ll create more music in the future.

“I think so; I might try something else sometime… maybe I’ll get inspired another day,” she laughed.

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