Benefactor's Memory Honoured at Tribute Concert

A daughter’s heartfelt musical tribute to her late father will be part of the program when the University of Victoria Don Wright Symphonic Winds present a special concert in honour of their benefactor on April 3 at 8:30 p.m. in the University Centre Farquhar Auditorium.

In 2004, music educator, composer and philanthropist Don Wright gave UVic’s Faculty of Education $1 million to support its music education programs. The gift established several scholarships and the symphonic winds performing group, which has swelled to 70 members. The concert next month will also serve as the music education students’ final exam.

Wright’s daughter Priscilla, a critically acclaimed jazz and pop singer, will join the student musicians for several numbers including a live recording of a song in her father’s memory. Don Wright died in 2006. When she was just 14, his daughter had a North American hit record, and appeared opposite some of the biggest musical names of the 1950s, including Elvis Presley. But parental concern about her youth resulted in a career hiatus for the young pop star.

After marriage and graduation from the University of Toronto, Priscilla Wright rejuvenated her singing career, landing on Canada’s national song charts again in 1985. In 1988, she re-recorded her teenage hit “Man in the Raincoat,” which spent 18 weeks on the RPM magazine music chart. After a lifetime of singing, her first album earned her a 1993 Juno Award nomination for ‘Most Promising Female Vocalist.’

Wright continues to perform with several big bands and symphony ensembles, including the Toronto Pops Symphony Ensemble, and at jazz festivals including Montreal’s summer festival. She was in the audience in 2004 at UVic when her father’s gift to music education was announced.

“Don Wright’s generous gift to music education at UVic has enriched so many students’ lives,” says the ensemble’s conductor, UVic Professor of Music Education Dr. Steven Capaldo. “Now it’s their opportunity to give back to the community. The presence of Priscilla Wright both in the audience and on the stage, singing with them, will add a special poignancy to a wonderful evening honouring her father’s passion and love of music.”

Tickets to “Spring Serenade” with the Don Wright Symphonic Winds Ensemble, led by Capaldo and accompanied by Priscilla Wright, are $15 or $10 for students and seniors. They are available through the University Centre box office at 721-8480 or

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Media contacts

Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at 250-721-7656 or

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Keywords: in memoriam, philanthropy, legacy

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