Jenny Daigle, Allen Desnoyers,  Haley Allen

This past year, I missed performing with my wonderful compatriots who did stellar work on the last two tours, and have been so enjoyable to tour with.   Thank you, Jenny and Haley!   Sadly in 2020, our cancelled four province tour was to include a performance of Pier 21 in Ottawa for the Ministry of Immigration on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, not something that can be rescheduled.  


But touring is only part of my work: as a composer/playwright,  my favorite thing is creating work.    A TV miniseries based on my musical “Pier 21” was just optioned by Nomadic Pictures and we’re working towards putting that on a screen near you – networks willing!

It’s been enjoyable researching the new Pier 21 miniseries with the support of people who lived in Halifax during World War Two, including Wanda Robson, Viola Desmond’s sister, and a number of former residents from the Black community associated with Cornwallis Baptist.     My favorite quote came from Leslie Oliver, son of Reverend William Oliver, the only Black Canadian Army Chaplain during W.W.2.. His mother wrote this in 1944:


“We are all on the verge of a new age. None of us are prophetic enough to know what is ahead of us. But I am convinced of this that we can reach our goal of human happiness, prosperity and peace only by working together unselfishly for the good of humanity.


If our country is to go forward then all of its citizens no matter what their color or creed should be given a chance to take their place. To each according to their ability not to each according to their color. Race prejudice is out of date. It’s as out of place as Nazism and Facism. This new age demands courage, wisdom and unselfishness, and above all applying the Golden Rule daily to our lives. Then shall strife cease and none need be afraid.”


Is it any wonder Viola Desmond felt such support in 1947, when this was the church her family attended?