Nova Scotia

COVID-19 inspired this 86-year-old musician to write a pandemic waltz

The Pandemic Waltz, written by Margaret MacGregor-MacDonald from Antigonish, N.S., is airy and hopeful and sure to make you forget all about the dark days of COVID-19.

After marvelling at the creativity she saw in others, Margaret MacGregor-MacDonald decided it was her turn

Margaret MacGregor-MacDonald's life has always been about music. (Submitted by Mary Farrell)

The notes seemed to fall from her fingertips and onto the keys.

That's how 86-year-old Margaret MacGregor-MacDonald from Antigonish, N.S., describes the moment inspiration struck for a piece of piano music she calls, The Pandemic Waltz

She tinkered with the tune for a day or so, and settled on an airy and hopeful melody that's sure to make you forget about the dark days of COVID-19.

"I became just in wonder of all the creativity that the pandemic was causing, so I said one day, 'Why don't I try something too?'" MacGregor-MacDonald told CBC's Maritime Noon on Tuesday.

Deciding on the genre of music was easy. "I just like waltzes," she said.

"A friend of mine turned 50 and I wrote him a happy birthday waltz and my granddaughter graduated high school last year in Halifax. I wrote a graduation waltz for her," MacGregor-MacDonald added.

Her niece, Mary Farrell, posted a video of MacGregor-MacDonald playing The Pandemic Waltz on Facebook earlier this month and it's been viewed more than 3,000 times.

"It makes me smile. It feels like hope," said Farrell, who is deputy mayor of the Town of Antigonish.

With its "Celtic flair," Farrell said the waltz is also an homage to the town, which is home of the Highland Games. MacGregor-MacDonald has performed there in the past.

This year's event was cancelled due to the coronavirus, but Farrell said her aunt has still found a way to reach people with her music.

"She's such a talented and gifted lady and she's contributed greatly to music in Antigonish," she said.

A lifelong musician

MacGregor-MacDonald was born into a musical family and taught music for many years.

She attended Mount Saint Bernard College's School of Music, which later became part of St. Francis Xavier University, and was also the assistant organist at her church for 50 years.

Farrell said her aunt was a very patient and kind piano teacher.

"She made you want to be a better music student because of her gifts," she said. "She brought the best out in you."

MacGregor-MacDonald said music has helped her cope with the loneliness of the pandemic when she can't have as many visitors or go out as much as she used to.

"I can't imagine being without music," she said. "I just can't think of it. What would I do if I didn't have music?"

With files from CBC's Maritime Noon

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