In The Guardian, Aug. 25, the story called “Heart and Soul” brought much deserved praise for Charlottetown’s brilliant musician, Helen MacRae.
In the early 1950s I began visiting the newly-opened Canadian Tire franchise on lower Queen Street, operated by Helen’s husband and father. Although their space was limited, the store was packed with automotive equipment and more, its many customers served with a smile.
Also in the early 1950s, I was a junior member of the new Charlottetown Male Chorus that practised weekly in the YMCA at Euston/Prince. Stan Lancaster, a WWII British veteran who worked at Holman’s, was our director with young Helen MacRae as accompanist. Our music menu included many of the golden oldies, always ending with the majestic “Bless This House.”
That year the Male Chorus was invited to sing in Charlottetown, Summerside, Morell, Victoria and Eldon with receptive crowds over all. In one of these halls, the only musical instrument was an oldish pump organ which Helen cleverly handled with much amusement.
On our trip to Victoria that year we encountered the new Trans-Canada Highway under rough construction up that way with all its bumps and bangs. This frequently moved our friendly driver to outbursts of speaking to his Lord in tongues.
Happy memories, Helen, and best wishes for continuing to bring joy and therapy to so many through the miracle of music, especially by piano and the great pipe organ.