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Meryn H. Doerr

December 5, 1924 - November 8, 1997

Mervyn Doerr was a navy veteran who played trombone in the Royal Canadian Legion Concert Band, later was renamed the Stratford Concert Band (in 1992).  Not only did he play in the Stratford Concert Band but he was also a very sought after jazz musician. Merv was also the guide that others followed on parade route. He was precise while walking straight and true down Erie Street back to the Legion Building on St. Patrick Street.  Merv was not only a good musician but more importantly he was a good man; he was always early to a gig, prepared and nice! He was serious about everything he did, from playing trombone to being a band member. He was a master machinist in his profession and carved lifelike bird sculptures out of wood as a hobby. He was also a pilot and liked to fly gliders and other small aircraft.

Back when the band was still known as the Royal Canadian Legion Concert Band, there were not many young musicians in the band. The conductor at that time, Paul Cross, instituted bringing high school students into the band. Paul saw that the majority of the band was getting older, so younger bandsmen needed to be brought in to ensure the band's future. Merv was always ready to teach and lead by example. He did not give praise unless you earned it. His encouragement with a few kind, quiet words meant the world to the young people in the band.  He taught others to be early, be prepared and be easy to work with. Merv also taught that being a musician isn't just a hobby, it's part of your inner self and who you are as a person.

Merv was never late, so it was surprise to allwhen he simply didn't show up to a concert one day. Before going on stage, the band was told he had been flying with a friend when their small plane crashed. Merv's death hit all the band members hard, but the younger members were especially upset. However, they all went on to preform that day because they knew that's what Merv would have wanted. 

Stratford Concert Band now gives a scholarship, to a student graduating high school that is entering post-secondary education, in his memory.   

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