A Tribute to Donna MacDermid

Today Nova Musica is saying goodbye to a longstanding member who left us suddenly and too soon. Donna MacDermid, our principal flute player passed away suddenly at home on August 12th, 2021. 

Donna was a very active and lively member of Nova Musica. She had a bubbly personality and a sharp wit that brought joy to everyone around her. She was an exceptional musician, whose beautiful flute solos often soared above the sound of strings and other wind instruments.

Donna was particularly proud of a duet arrangement of Bist Du Bei Mir by J.S. Bach she performed with her daughter Heather at our winter concerts in 2018. Even when the pandemic forced Nova to suspend rehearsals, Donna was a regular attendee at Nova music appreciation nights, which we used as a small way to connect to one another in our love for music.

Together with Cheryl Vinge, I played flute next to Donna for several years. We were ‘flute buddies’ as we liked to call it. We not only rehearsed together, but we often played duets, attended concerts and workshops. Our friendship was founded in our shared love for music, but it branched out into many aspects of life. We were frequently sharing book recommendations, recipes and Donna was always interested in what we were doing in our lives. 

Donna was a supportive force, always encouraging us to try harder parts, often making us laugh with her off-hand rehearsal commentary. One Christmas she gave us all flute socks and we wore them with pride. She admired flute players like Sir James Galway and Gareth McLearnon and the frequent video shares in our Facebook messages always brought a smile to our faces followed by heated discussions about how challenging the piece would be to play.

The loss of Donna is sudden and leaves a big hole in the Nova Musica family. I do believe, however, that Donna would want us to continue to make music together and so we shall. 

Nova Musica Community Orchestra would like to extend condolences to Donna’s daughter Heather, and her extended family for their loss.

Hanne Pearce