For Love of Friends and the Performing Arts

© Photo: John and Susan Melvin

Susan and John Melvin may have stopped calling the Ottawa area home in 1996, but the NAC has a permanent home in their hearts.

The couple, who settled in beautiful Niagara wine-country more than a decade ago, have a rich reserve of memories to draw from. They began attending performances when the NAC opened in 1969 and throughout the years, they found joy in performances ranging from Nana Mouskouri to Reba McEntire, to Cats and so many more. Susan laughs as she recalls taking her daughter, Erin, to The Nutcracker for the first time. “We were so close to the stage, all we could see and hear were thumping feet!”

Introducing their son, Shawn, to the world of dance was another story. In the mid-80's Susan and John wanted to take Erin and Shawn to a performance by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, an all-male comic dance company. Shawn, who was a teenager at the time, thought that ballet was “uncool”.  “He was almost dragged to the theatre,” Susan recalls, “only to find himself enthralled with the performance and wanting to go another night!”

Susan and John’s fond memories of the NAC include their dear friend, Glenn Daugherty, with whom Susan attended many NAC Orchestra performances and operas before he passed away in 2007. “We loved to watch people during intermission and tried to match them up. We’d wait until they returned to their seats to see if we guessed right … we were usually wrong!”

A year before Glenn’s death, he and his partner Dr. Shail Verma established the Daugherty and Verma Endowment for Young Musicians. Ever since, Susan and John have chosen to make the NAC their charity of choice by regularly contributing to the Endowment in memory of their friends while recognizing loved ones. “We donate tribute gifts for every occasion, from celebrating a graduation or wedding, to honouring a death,” says John. And their thoughtful gifts don’t go unnoticed. Susan adds, “Music touches everyone in some way. When we hear back from others in response to our gift, they often share how music has been a special part of their lives.”

Although Susan and John sometimes wish they lived closer to the NAC, they remain very much connected to the performing arts they love. Through their tribute gifts to the Daugherty and Verma Endowment for Young Musicians, Susan and John continue to celebrate the memory of their dear friend while helping the next generation of young musicians benefit from the incredible generosity of the Endowment support.

Join more than 6,500 champions of performance, creation and learning by supporting Canadian artists, educators and students through the NAC Foundation.


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