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, that 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 was 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 for a hobby carved lifelike bird sculptures out of wood. He was also a pilot and liked to fly gliders and small aircraft.
Back when the band was still known as the Royal Canadian Legion Concert Band, there were not that 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, and that younger bandsmen needed to be brought in to ensure the bands future. Merv was always ready to teach and lead by example. He did not give praise unless you earned it. His encouragement of 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 makes up who you are as a person.
It was at a band performance at St Andrews Church when people wondered where Merv was....he was never late. The band was told, before the performance, that he had been killed while being a passenger in a friends kit air-plane. Many of the young band members, found it difficult to play but the band performed because that is what Merv would have wanted them to do.
Stratford Concert Band now gives a scholarship, to a student graduating high school that is entering post-secondary education, in his memory.