The Sunday Magazine

The Gift: A documentary about adoption, music and a remarkable nun

Rob Gloor always knew he was adopted. And he knew that his birth mother had asked his adoptive mother to make sure there was music in his life. Rob's search for his birth mother led him from rural Ontario, to Expo 67, to hidden corners in the Catholic Church, and finally to Smithers, a small town in northern BC. That's where the story of Sister Mary Andrew and a glee club called "The Harmonettes" came to life.

Rob Gloor (The Parish of All Saints Ladner)

Every Sunday morning at the crack of dawn, Rob Gloor drives from his home on Bowen Island to the ferry. In the early morning light, he travels for almost 2 hours to his part-time job - music director and organist for a church in Ladner, a town outside of Vancouver. And almost every time he makes that journey, he thinks about his birth mother.

Rob always knew he was adopted. He also knew it was a private adoption, and that the one request his birth mother had made of his adoptive parents was this: please give him a life with music. The request was honoured. Rob had piano lessons, sang in a boys' choir. He studied voice. He was nurtured and supported in every way.

Sister Mary Andrew, Holy Cross.

For a long time, Rob had no inclination to search out his roots. But in 2006, he began to look for his birth mother in earnest. His search led him from rural eastern Ontario, to Expo 67, to hidden corners in the Catholic Church, and finally, last month, to  Smithers, a small town in northern BC. That's where the story of Sister Mary Andrew and a glee club called "The Harmonettes" came to life. 

"The Gift" was produced by Rebecca Hass. 

Just One Little Candle, from the Live at Expo Album. The Harmonettes theme song that closed all their concerts, this one includes Ed Rea announcing, who was also a member of the band.

The Harmonettes perform the theme song from the film Dr. Zhivago.
Larry Miller

Larry Miller was one of Sister Mary Andrew's students at St. Joseph's school; his three sisters sang in "The Harmonettes". He remembers what it was like to perform for Sister Mary Andrew; what she wore when she went tobogganing with the kids; and how exciting the trip to Expo was, for everyone in Smithers.

Larry Miller had three sisters that sang in the Harmonettes and he was a student of Sister Mary Andrew at St. Josephs School. In this clip he remembers ‘singing’ for Sister Mary Andrew and when she went tobogganing with the kids.

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