Duncan Grant Bursary Fund Helps Students Realize Career in Music

Duncan Grant Bursary Fund Helps Students Realize Career in Music

July 30, 2019

 
Duncan Grant

Duncan Grant

From the bombast of international musical productions, to the subdued funk of smooth jazz, to the classrooms of Fanshawe College, Duncan Grant was a musician whose versatility and dedication was matched only by his strength of spirit. Passing away after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer, his legacy lives on through his music, his family, and the Duncan Grant Bursary Fund.

From a very young age, Duncan and his siblings were surrounded by music.

 

“All seven of us played at least one classical instrument,” recalls Cam Grant, one of Duncan’s younger brothers. “Mom and Dad both played in the London Symphony Orchestra, with Mom being Assistant Concert Master as well as teaching violin at several schools around London.”

Cam and Duncan’s paths mirrored one another’s closely, with Cam following in the footsteps of his big brother.

“I was lucky to have him paving the way for me,” says Cam. “I was able to walk up to my parents and say ‘Guess what, I’m not going to college like you thought; I’m going on the road with a band!’ and they’d be like ‘Yeah okay, you’re the second one. Let’s hope you’re the last!’”

After attending the Choir and Orchestra program at St. Peter School, now housed at St. Mary Choir & Orchestra Catholic School, Duncan studied Music Industry Arts at Fanshawe College. Duncan would go on to tour internationally, playing tribute shows in Germany, where he met his wife Natalie, and as a member of the German and Japanese/Australian productions of Starlight Express. He eventually started working as an instructor at Fanshawe, teaching music theory, technology, and harmony.

His last project before his passing was a smooth jazz album called Floating Point.

“It’s meticulously good sounding,” says Cam about the album. “It sounds like instrumental Steely Dan.”

 

Floating Point performing the first track off Loating Point, "Pucker Up" at their CD release party in London ON with Duncan Grant on keyboards.

 

It was Colin Stewart, a friend Duncan had known since grade school, who thought of doing something in Duncan’s name after he passed away in 2017. With a generous donation from Chris Potter, another childhood friend of Duncan’s, they started a private fund.

Cam and Duncan’s sister Allison came up with the idea of moving the fund to London Community Foundation. The Foundation’s flexibility, donor support, and services like issuing tax receipts made the choice an easy one.

“It just made more sense than going through a bank. We had it in a bank to begin with and didn’t see any benefit from it,” says Cam. “I get a good vibe walking through the door at LCF. Everyone’s in the zone.”

The Duncan Grant Bursary Fund will award its first bursary as part of LCF in 2019 to a student at St. Mary Choir & Orchestra Catholic School who wants to pursue a career in music. The money can go towards lessons or even the purchase of an instrument.

“Once a year, I’m going to go to the school and tell a little story about Dunc,” says Cam. “And when Colin, Natalie and I stop taking care of it, his daughters will take over. This could still be going a hundred years from now. That’s the point.”