Since she was a child, music played a leading role in Eleanor Gray’s life.
From her first music lesson at age six, to playing the piano with the University of Toronto glee club where she met her husband, to hosting music recitals in Victoria where she lived for more than 50 years, Eleanor shared her infectious enthusiasm for music everywhere she went, starting at home.
Between concerts and Eleanor’s playing and singing, Eleanor ensured that the Gray house was always filled with music. She enrolled her five children in piano lessons and encouraged them to practice daily. As a family, they would often listen to radio performances and discuss them at length. She also hosted piano recitals on her Steinway Grand, in their Rattenbury-designed heritage home on Rockland Avenue.
“I was totally surrounded by music growing up,” says Doug Gray (BA’67, LLB’77) who established the Eleanor Gray Memorial Scholarship in Music in honour of his mother. “Her whole life revolved around the joy of music. It had a dramatic positive impact on her life, her family, and the lives of others.”
Eleanor felt it was important to support aspiring musicians and acknowledge their talent and hard work. She supported music festivals in Victoria and provided financial prizes for the festival winners. As an active alumna of the Toronto Conservatory of Music (now the Royal Conservatory of Music) she was instrumental in initiating the formation of the Victoria alumni chapter of RCM in 1936.
Eleanor played the piano and sang until a few weeks before her death at the age of 101. Her passion for sharing music will live on through her scholarship.
The Eleanor Gray Memorial Scholarship in Music is awarded to outstanding undergraduate or graduate students in the School of Music studying voice, piano or stringed instruments.