Arthur Freund

Arthur (Art) devoted his professional life to Music and the Performing Arts. He grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and Music Specialist qualifications from the University of Western Ontario. He pursued his calling as music teacher with the K-W High School Board (now the Waterloo Region District School Board) in 1957 and, during his 31 year teaching career, established music programs in three local high schools spending much of his teaching career at Grand River Collegiate Institute, Kitchener where he was Music Department Head. As a busy young teacher, he was still able to devote enough time to his favourite instrument to complete the requirements for his ARCT in trombone by 1959.

He had joined the Kitchener Musical Society Band as a trombonist in 1945 at the tender age of 12 under conductor George Ziegler. Over the years, Art became heavily involved in the musical life of the community and highly respected among his peers. When George Ziegler was approaching retirement, Art was one of four applicants (two others from Kitchener and one from London, ON) for the position of musical director. Art received the unanimous approval of the executive to succeed Mr. Ziegler and the baton passed to him officially on May 1, 1967. Under Art's direction into the early 1970's, the Band added many young male and female members from local high schools. The Band continued the tradition of playing on Remembrance Day at the large Cenotaph prominently displayed in front of the old City Hall (at the intersection of Frederick and King Streets). Immediately following the ceremony, the Band would make the short march leading the crowd to the memorial service at the old Lyric Theatre where the instrumentalists accompanied the hymns and salutes. The Band also appeared annually in the Thanksgiving Day and Santa Claus parades down King Street. As social conditions changed (eg. when Remembrance Day was no longer a school holiday and cadet training was no longer a part of the high school curriculum) it became more complicated to organize the Band for marches; especially during school hours.

Again, the Band adjusted to the times by performing more "sit-down" concerts at local parks and special events and eventually curtailed its marching activities altogether. The navy blue uniforms with yellow trim were aging and becoming expensive to alter and repair to accomodate the younger members. So in 1968, the city funded new uniforms for the Band. These new flashy burgundy jackets and hats, black pants and skirts with burgundy and gold striping gave the 50 member band a very distinctive look. At the concert held on Sunday Dec. 15 in the auditorium at KWC&VS when the new uniforms were presented, Art narrated a musical version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas". This piece has become a favourite of the Band performed at many Christmas concerts. At some of these concerts, Art would disappear from the podium for a few numbers while someone else conducted and Santa would make a surprise appearance during this unexplained absence. In 1971, Art took a year's sabbatical to study further at the Northwest German Music Academy in Detmold, Germany. Dr. James Gayfer filled is as interim conductor during that year. For a time, the Band became known as the Kitchener Concert Band, but that name is no longer in use today.

If there was an event of the performing arts in the area, you could be certain that Art knew about it and was likely involved in some capacity. One fledgling organization that attracted Art's long-term devotion was the Twin-City Operatic Society (now the well-established and successful K-W Musical Productions). He played trombone (1948 - 1989) and was musical director (1967 - 1973) in annual musicals such as the "Wizard of Oz" and "The Pajama Game" performed at KWC&VS and later "The Music Man" and "The Sound of Music" performed when the troupe moved to the Waterloo Collegiate auditorium. In 1944, Dr. Glenn Kruspe, C. F. Thiele, and A. Bernhardt co-founded the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra. The Lyric Theatre provided the venue for the first concert with the Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Choir in April 1945. Art began working in various capacities with the Orchestra as player, assistant conductor and Personnel/Production Manager (and Santa Claus) from 1951 to 1981. His love of the orchestra soon grew beyond a professional association when he was charmed by a lovely violinist. Art and Nuala Bell were married in 1959 and had three children. Among his involvement in other regional musical endeavours, Art played at the Stratford Festival and was also personnel manager there.

Over his 45 year career in music, Art taught many students through public school and private lessons. His gentle, warm, patient manner and love of sharing his musical insight enriched his students; both amateur and professional. Many have continued to develop their musical talents and love of making music.

It was a very fitting tribute to Art that a Brass Ensemble Concert be performed by many of his former students. It was held posthumously in Art's honour at the new Aird Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University on June 5, 1990 following the untimely end of Art's battle with cancer on June 2. The proceeds from this concert were donated to establish The Art Freund Scholarship Fund through Wilfrid Laurier University to a first year student in trombone studies.

Taken from various newspaper articles, the Canadian Encyclopedia of Music and The Brass Ensemble Concert Program