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'It is truly sad that such a special person is no longer with us'

'It is truly sad that such a special person is no longer with us'

Published on September 19, 2022

The Royal Conservatory community joins the world in mourning the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Canada's head of state and the longest-reigning British monarch. 

As a special tribute to Her Majesty, we share a performance of one of her favourite hymns, “The Lord is My Shepherd,” sung by soprano Jonelle Sills, a 2022-23 Rebanks Fellow at The Glenn Gould School, accompanied by pianist Geoffrey Conquer, a 2016-17 Rebanks Fellow and alumnus of The Taylor Academy. 

The piece explores themes of protection, inner strength, and graceful guidance, and was sung at the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten in November 1947, as well as at the late Queen’s funeral. 

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Dr. Peter Simon
Before she ascended to the throne in 1952, the late Queen's father, King George VI incorporated The Royal Conservatory of Music in 1947 in recognition of its status as one of the Commonwealth's greatest music institutions.  

Formerly known as The Toronto Conservatory of Music, upon receiving the Royal Charter signed by King George VI, it became The Royal Conservatory of Music, as it is known today. In 1997, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Charter, Queen Elizabeth II visited Canada and commended The Royal Conservatory for its distinguished contribution to music education and to musical life in Canada. She presented a signed declaration, which is now housed at The Royal Conservatory building in Toronto. 
RCM Royal Declaration

Dr. Peter Simon, President and CEO of the Royal Conservatory, recalls with great fondness his meeting with the Queen in Toronto in 1997. “She had an extraordinarily warm and glowing smile that made you feel relaxed, welcomed and honoured. She was immensely gracious and open and therefore having a conversation with her was very easy and a true pleasure,” he said.  “What an extraordinary person she was and it is truly sad that such a special person is no longer with us.”

The RCM’s ties to the British monarchy remain strong. In 2012, The Royal Conservatory was granted a Royal Patronage from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (now King Charles III) and was also selected to work with Prince's Charities Canada to expand Learning Through The Arts, The Conservatory's successful arts-based educational intervention program, into the United Kingdom. 

Only a select few organizations in Canada (6 in total) have received a Royal Patronage from King Charles III, demonstrating a proven track record of sustained public service and accomplishment on a national scale.