Collection 004 - Donald Mackey Collection

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Donald Mackey Collection

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  • Textual record
  • Sound recording
  • Graphic material

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Physical description

1.98 m of textual record, sound recording, and graphic material.
Approximately 600 items.

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

1921 Born in Brockville, ON.
Approximately 1935 Moved to Montreal to complete elementary and secondary school. Studied music with Alfred Whitehead.
Approximately 1939-1945 Served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.
1947 May Invited to become organist and choir master of the Church of the Messiah, Montreal.
1947-1965 Organist and Director of Music of the Church of the Messiah, Montreal.
1953-1960 Music teacher at Westmount High School.
1954 Received Bachelor of Music from Trinity College, University of Toronto. Studied with Healy Willan.
1956 1 May Formed the choir known as the Renaissance Singers of Montreal.
1956 Renaissance Singers audition recording for the CBC Hall of l’Hermitage’s broadcast on CBC Trans Canada and CBF radios.
1956-1976 Donald Mackey and the Renaissance Singers presented 129 radio broadcasts, made two TV appearances, gave nine public concerts and collaborated with the National Film Board on a video recording.
1960-1990 Employed at McGill University as University Organist, Assistant Professor, Secretary of the Faculty of Music, Director of the Faculty of Music Choir and Supervisory Officer in the Conservatorium of Music.
1966-1971 Founded the McGill Organ and Harpsichord Summer Schools.
1973-1975 Directed McGill Summer Music Camp.
1978 On sabbatical leave from McGill University to conduct research that led to the installation of a French classical organ in Redpath Hall.
1981 Chair of committee responsible for organizing the Symposium L’orgue à notre époque in honour of the installation of the French Classical Organ for Redpath Hall, McGill University, Montreal.
1981 Appointed Director of Music at the Church of St. John the Evangelist.
1982 McGill University Press published L'Orgue à Notre Époque: Papers and Proceedings of the Symposium Held at McGill University, May 26-28, 1981. Edited by Donald Mackey.
1984 Facilitated the installation of the Memorial Organ
, Church of St. John the Evangelist.
1984-1986 Served as National President of the Royal Canadian College of Organists.
1987 June Named University Organist Emeritus, McGill University, Montreal.
1987-1992 Founder and president of the Montreal Chapter of the Prayer Book Society of Canada.
1993 Feb 9 Died in Montreal, QC.
*organ built by Hellmuth Wolff et Associés Ltée.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The Donald Mackey Collection consists of the Donald Mackey and Renaissance Singers of Montreal complete portfolio of CBC broadcast programmes and scripts. In addition, the fond contains documentary artifacts including correspondence, concert programmes, photographs, audio recordings and special projects that chronicle Mackey’s career as conductor of the Renaissance Singers of Montreal and his life in Montreal. This includes information about his professorship at the faculty of music of McGill University, his active involvement in Montreal’s vibrant church music scene as organist and conductor, his appointment as University Organist Emeritus, etc.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Helen Mackey


The Donald Mackey Collection is divided into 2 categories: the Donald Mackey papers and the Renaissance Singers of Montreal papers. The collection is organized further into 11 series:
Donald Mackey papers:
• Biographical Information
• Writings and Special Projects
• Concert Programmes
• Photographs
• Correspondence
Renaissance Singers of Montreal papers:
• Administrative Materials
• Correspondence
• Concert Materials
• Clippings
• Programmes and Scripts
• Scores
• Miscellaneous
• Audio Recordings

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script note

Collection material in English and French.

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Restrictions on access

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

The Donald Mackey Collection is open to research. Researchers are advised to contact the Marvin Duchow Library prior to visiting.
Certain restrictions to use or copying of materials may apply.

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Uploaded finding aid

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No further accruals are expected at this time.

Accompanying material

Additional Donald Mackey information is available in The Hellmuth Wolff Organ Collection, Series 15. Donald Mackey. A Finding aid is available from


The status of copyright on the materials of the Donald Mackey Collection is governed by the Copyright Law of Canada.

Preferred citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: container number, Donald Mackey Collection, Marvin Duchow Library, Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montréal, Québec.

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Prepared in 2010 by Clayton Marcinak, completed in 2012 by Michaela Dickey, and edited by Cynthia A. Leive. Revision April 2016; updated and entered into AtoM by Geneviève Beaudry, May 2019.

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  • English

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