Celebration for the ages

Opinion

Anyone who attended the Rotary Club of Pictou’s annual President’s Night would likely feel so glad to have done so that they would not have wanted to be anywhere else.

It was a full program last Thursday at the Pictou Lodge Beach Resort for the nearly 80 people who attended. The event doubled as a celebration of the club’s 75th anniversary of its being chartered by the Rotary Club of New Glasgow in 1943. It also was an opportunity to honour J. Arthur MacDonald, the club’s current elder statesman with 50 years of service to the club and Rotary in general.

Art MacDonald’s 50 years was commemorated in terms of his contributions in the Rotary, as well as education, health, politics, church and family.

Four generations of the family — much to MacDonald’s surprise — graced President’s Night and complemented the good wishes and words of appreciation bestowed on him.

Rev. Mary-Beth Moriarty noted MacDonald’s commitment to Pictou United Church and dovetailed her remarks with a reference to the rock musical Rent to acknowledge his love of and devotion to the stage, particularly musicals.

“How do you measure your life … you measure it with love,” she said, quoting a passage from the musical. The milestones are symmetrical: 75 years of Rotary in Pictou, the 50 years MacDonald has been a club member, 25 years ago when Rent was first seen in workshop production and nearly 10 years ago when the Broadway production closed after a 12-year run.

A video presentation saluted MacDonald’s time directing musicals at Pictou Academy’s auditorium that included Brigadoon, My Fair Lady and the Sound of Music. The current edition of annual musicals sponsored by the Pictou club at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre have drawn acclaim for their production values and the ever-increasing talent pool for casting. But MacDonald will say those more modest productions at the Academy were at least as good.

Paul Harris Fellowships that are presented to both Rotarians and non-Rotarians are special tributes to extraordinary contributions. To add the names of outgoing president Roger Plamondon for his work as the recent musicals’ stage manager, Academy benefactor Helen Scammell and Nina Davey for her support of community efforts validates the unique way the fellowships allow clubs and communities to pay special thanks.

The Rotary wheel and keyhole have become a symbol throughout the world of how to unlock the potential people and groups have to do good things. It is evident in Pictou as a way to welcome visitors to town in its west end, to the emblem’s placement where the club has made a difference, such as with the field house at McCulloch Field and at Hector Arena.

There will always be more to do and this club will most likely find ways to do it for another 75 years.