Be Good, do Good

The Oades sisters (Susan, Jennifer and Valerie) with, from left, Daniel Gress (School of Music), Daniel Mills (first bursary recipient) and Antoni Lewkowicz (dean of the Faculty of Arts)

Thank you!

"It was very humbling to be named the first recipient of an award in memory of Mr. Oades. Evidence of his legacy is spread across the Canadian brass community. To be a part of this legacy leaves me with an incredibly warm feeling, and I am extremely honoured that the Oades family has chosen to support the School of Music in this way."

– Daniel Mills (MMus '14), Calgary trumpeter

When, in 1974, Robert Oades decided to become a full-time member of the University of Ottawa Department of Music, after 20 years as an educator, administrator and professional trumpeter, the English native was only following a passion for teaching that he had always felt, one his daughters, Susan, Jennifer and Valerie, know a thing or two about.

"Dad always taught, even when he was with the Toronto Symphony or the National Arts Centre Orchestra. He always had private students. Always. They just came in — it was a bit of a revolving door. And forget about getting any sleep on a Saturday morning!" says Jennifer, laughing.

"His connection to students went far beyond the classroom. He was really interested in their lives and liked to help them out in any way he could," adds Susan. Moreover, Oades remained a mentor to many of his former students until his death in 2013, at age 88.

On his passing, it was obvious to his daughters what to do.

"When Dad died, we thought, 'How can we continue his legacy, his memory? What would he have liked?' and we thought that a bursary would be really fitting," explains Susan. And so, the Robert W. Oades Memorial Bursary came to be. The bursary supports students in the brass program of the University of Ottawa School of Music. Recipients must also be involved in their community.

"Community involvement was important for my dad. Life wasn't all about music," explains Susan. "His motto was 'Be good, do good.' The bursary is part of that principle. It is honouring him, and it's also about giving back," adds Jennifer, who has sought to ensure the bursary's future through a gift in her own will.

During two benefit concerts in support of the bursary organized by Oades' former colleagues and students, the family was able see the extent of the gratitude felt towards Oades, who is recognized as the founding father of the region's brass community and one of the builders of the School of Music.

"For me," says Susan, "creating the bursary was very much about continuing his legacy, and honouring him, so it meant a lot. It still does. I hope the bursary will enable a student to come here and pursue their passion and dream, become a better player, and a better person."

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