Academic journal article The Hymn

Remembering Hugh D. McKellar: 4 December 1932-8 February 2012

Academic journal article The Hymn

Remembering Hugh D. McKellar: 4 December 1932-8 February 2012

Article excerpt

The Hymn Society has lost one of our quiet champions. Hugh Duncan McKellar, teacherlibrarian, hymnologist, organist, and freelance writer, died this winter in Toronto of complications following hip surgery. He was a dedicated Life Member of The Society.

Hugh was born and raised in Petrolia, Ontario. By age 19 he had obtained two Associate diplomas in piano - from the University of Western Ontario (A. Mus 1950) and from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto (ARCT 1951). Not one to waste time, he earned a degree in Honours French and English from the University of Western Ontario (now Western University) at London, while working simultaneously toward a Mus. Bac. from the University of Toronto; graduating with both degrees in 1955. By 1958 he had completed a B.Ed, and a Bachelor in Library Science at the University of Toronto, which led him into a career with the Toronto Board of Education as a teacher-librarian from 1958 to 1983.

His interest in hymnology prompted him to take a summer course at the Royal School of Church Music in Croydon in 1975, with a view to doing graduate studies in Canadian hymnology. Unable to find a supervisor for this project he concentrated his efforts on independent research in hymnology. During a research leave from his teaching position in 1977 he gleaned information about Ontario hymnody from Toronto libraries. He took an extended leave from July 1979 to April 1981 to research the history of church music in Canada. It enabled him to attend the international conference of the three hymn societies at St. Catherine's College, Oxford, in 1980.

Hugh typed 12,000 computer cards documenting hymn entries for the Dictionary of North American Hymnology and he wrote over 125 short biographical sketches along with several articles for the DNAH. He compiled two anthologies of early Canadian hymns to be sung during Toronto's sesquicentennial year in 1984. "Ontario Adores: A Sampling of Hymns Produced in the Province 1784-1984'' and "15 from 150: A Sampling of Hymns Written and Composed by Torontonians during the years 1834-1934" were published by the Toronto Sesquicentennial Board and The Hymn Society of America (which became The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada in 1989). …

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