A gift with resonance

Patrick Cauthers, uOttawa alumnus with Mychelle Gay and her son Philippe, both uOttawa retirees.

Music alumnus Patrick Cauthers proudly displays his professional calibre French horn, which he was able to purchase as a student thanks to the generosity of Mychelle Gay, seen here with her son Philippe, like her, a University retiree.

Patrick Cauthers needed a new French horn… but didn’t know how he’d pay for it.

The budding musician was halfway through his BMus program at the University of Ottawa. But his beginner’s instrument, the same one he’d been using since high school, was holding him back.

A scholarship awarded through the Camille Gay Fund—Hull Rotary Club that he received in 2012–2013 helped him buy a professional calibre instrument that he still uses today. “I felt the difference as soon as I had it,” he says.

Mychelle Gay is the donor behind this scholarship for students who are members of the University of Ottawa Wind Ensemble (wind instruments, brass and percussion).

Some would say that during the 19 years she spent at the Department of Music (now the School of Music) as an administrative assistant and assistant to the director, Gay was the “power behind the throne.”

“I raised five boys,” she says laughing heartily, explaining her unequalled reputation at the University as a peerless organizer and efficient manager.

At 89 years of age, Gay is a quick-witted woman full of memories.

Memories of her husband Camille, an occasional crooner and oldies fan, in whose memory she established the scholarship in 1989, with the generous support of the Hull Rotary Club.

But also memories of her father, Philéas Thibault, renowned choirmaster and one of the first graduates of the University of Ottawa’s old School of Sacred Music.

For Gay, music is a family affair. And thanks to her decision to ensure the future of the scholarship through a bequest, this passion, which connects her to her father, her husband, her brothers, her sisters and her sons, will live on at the University of Ottawa.

“I would like my bequest to further the passion of future musicians,” she says, explaining her giving.

But for Patrick Cauthers and many other students like him, it’s obvious that Gay’s generosity is already resonating loud and clear.

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