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Red Deer music icon celebrates 100th birthday – Red Deer Advocate

A Red Deer woman who spent nearly 40 years leading the Red Deer Youth and Community Orchestra celebrated a milestone birthday this weekend.

Antoinette Stuppard turned 100 on Saturday – the now retired bandleader celebrated her birthday at Villa Marie Covenant Care in Red Deer with family and friends.

“It’s quite exciting. It’s an important step for anyone to reach this age,” said Céline Stuppard, Antoinette’s daughter.

“It’s not every day that you turn 100.”

Antoinette learned the violin and joined a student orchestra in Manitoba at the age of 14. She then performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and other orchestras before moving to central Alberta with her husband in the late 1950s.

“She wanted a house full of music. That’s what she told my dad when they got married,” she said.

“She taught her four children. We all started at a very young age and her dream was to bring music to her community and that’s exactly what she did for Red Deer.

In the 1960s, Antoinette formed the Red Deer Youth Orchestra. At the time, there weren’t many opportunities for young musicians to play in a city orchestra, Celine said.

“She started advertising for students…and she taught until she was over 80. She taught and made the orchestra. Her love of music and her love of people and children was just astounding,” Celine said.

“The patience and grace she brought has been a gift to hundreds of people. I still play, my older sister still plays and teaches. It has been an incredible journey for her to reach this milestone (of 100 years) . »

To this day, Antoinette still enjoys hearing music, Celine added.

“I’m going to play old orchestral pieces that we used to play back in the day and the smiles come. She’ll even say, “Oh, I like that one.” No matter how old a person is or where they are on their journey, music seems to have a way of tugging the heart strings,” she said.

Red Deer’s music scene continues to thrive, years after Antoinette started the orchestra.

“Now we have a symphony and there are music programs,” she said.

“We are so lucky to have him and so many other people, we are blessed to have him in this community. Musically, there have been so many others too… who have dedicated their entire lives to the music of the city of Red Deer.

Celine said other people who have created a legacy in the Red Deer music scene include the late Sadie Braun, founder of the Red Deer Chamber Singers, and the late Keith Mann, who led the Red Deer College Symphony Winds.

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