Rosemary McGhee


In 2017, the Katharine McLennan Award for exemplary volunteer and community contributions was awarded to Rosemary McGhee.

This award is in recognition of contributions, over a 42 year period, to Cape Breton Island in the areas of music education, choral performance and music appreciation. But at the heart it is Rosemary’s deep love of the arts and firm belief in their value in the life of the individual and society in general that have been a driving force throughout her life, much of which has been spent in Cape Breton.

A native of York, England, Rosemary McGhee graduated from the ‘Guildhall School of Music and Drama’ in London and gained a Certificate of Education from the ‘University of London’ Institute of Education. She holds a diploma in ‘The Kodaly Approach to Music Education’ from Acadian University. After teaching in northern England, Ms. McGhee came to Canada, settling in Cape Breton as a music educator in 1974.

Since that time Rosemary has taught music at the elementary, junior high and high school levels within the jurisdiction of the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board. She participated on professional committees to devise the Grades 5-9 Music Curriculum and on the Provincial Committee to develop the Grade 12 High School Music Programme.

Throughout her career Ms. McGhee endeavoured to foster the development of choral music, conducting choirs at all age levels and acting as accompanist for the Cape Breton Youth Choir for nine years. Ms. McGhee has been a member of the ‘Cape Breton Chorale’ since 1974 and has directed the senior choir at St. Anthony Daniel Parish in Sydney for over 40 years. Since retiring from teaching in 2006, Ms. McGhee has continued to pursue an active role in the field of choral music and community music appreciation. She continues to use her musical talents, rich background and sense of commitment to the arts to enrich our Cape Breton community and society as a whole.


For 2017 the featured artist was Colin Grant. To learn more about Colin, visit his website.