In Memoriam David Aurandt
October 16, 2020
It is with great sadness that I and the directors of the Gallery Players of Niagara share news of the death this past spring of a close friend, devoted supporter and valued board member, David Aurandt. David’s profoundly helpful connection with the Gallery Players began before we ever presented a concert.
In 1994, David, already a respected art curator, was appointed Director of the Rodman Hall Arts Centre, which at the time housed a gorgeous old Steinway piano that he was keen to hear played. He got in touch with Heather Taves (who at the time was Assistant Professor of piano at Brock University) and together they planned a few concerts.
By 1995 the odd concert became a series of concerts and the Gallery Players of Niagara as we know it was born. David was quick to offer help whenever possible. The gift of rehearsal and concert space, some funding for performer fees and the use of the office photocopier (an essential tool for musicians!), were all generously offered. I think David knew what was needed to nurture a small, fledgling chamber ensemble, and took every step he could to help us “spread our wings”. This was his singular gift.
After leaving Rodman Hall in 2000, David was appointed Executive Director at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa and not long after that was in touch with me to see if we could bring our concerts to Oshawa on the Saturday proceeding each of our Sunday afternoons in St. Catharines. We accepted immediately and enjoyed several years sharing our concerts beyond Niagara. Again, his vision and generosity served the group profoundly well; an opportunity to perform our chamber programmes more than once significantly improved what we were able to offer our growing audiences.
In 2012 David returned to the Niagara Region, accepting the position of Director/Curator at RiverBrink Art Museum. Between the founding of the Gallery Players and his return, we had become a charitable not-for-profit and I wasted no time in inviting him to join our board of directors. He generously served two very productive terms.
Our name itself is a reminder of the Gallery that first housed us. We will be forever grateful for David’s vision to fill that space with music and his invitation to explore and create. Our 2020-2021 season is dedicated to his memory.
Margaret Gay, Artistic Director