Terry Penner was the co-founder of the Ottawa Folklore Centre and wife of Arthur McGregor. During the first years of the Folklore Centre, Terry did some bookkeeping while holding down a ‘paying’ job. The Folklore Centre took a while before it made enough money to pay an owner. Later, Terry ran the school of music, introducing lots of great programmes like ‘Pub Carols’, shape note singing and more. She also became our full time bookkeeper. In 1992, Terry developed breast cancer. She continued to work at the store while suffering an aggressive treatment schedule. In 1998, we decided to expand the Folklore Centre to its current location, hoping that the larger school would ease the financial burdens. In early 1999, Terry was diagnosed as terminal and she retired from the Folklore Centre. Her retirement party, in the Glebe Community Centre, was a wonderful celebration. Terry died in November, 2000. Terry wished for three things at her wake: a parade, a Dixieland jazz band and a celebration of her life. We held a parade from the Folklore Centre to the now-demolished Strand Theatre on Bank Street. We arrived to a Dixieland jazz band that included Terry’s brother on Euphonium and proceeded to have a lovely celebration of Terry’s life. In 2001, we started the annual Terry Penner Weekend Festival Choir at the now changed Ottawa Folk Festival. This is the first year that we’ve sponsored the choir at the Grassroots Festival. I think Terry would have approved!
With her unique enthusiasm Rowena Pearl’s talent shines especially bright when she engages all ages in making music together. Rowena brings her love of music to audiences as a music director of school, church and community choirs in the North Gower area. She is also a very popular music teacher, introducing a love of Piano and the Ukulele to dozens of students. In addition to participating in the Ottawa Grassroots Festival, Rowena is currently Musical Director of The Little Princess coming this summer to the Station Theatre in Smith Falls.