Founder and Producer, Doug Pettigrew

Founder and Producer, Doug Pettigrew

September 16, 1949 – September 24, 2018

• Musician, writer, performer
• Event concept and production
• Sound technician, recording producer, stage manager


  • Founder, Producer, Choirs Festivals Canada 24 years
  • Producer, Ecofest Barrie in partnership with City of Barrie
  • Producer, Splash Water Festival in partnership with Ladies of the Lake
  • Producer, Windfall Ecology Festival in partnership with Windfall Ecology Centre
  • Producer, Celebration of the Arts in partnership with
    York Region Media Group

Who We Are

Doug Pettigrew

In the words of Maya Angelou:
“…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”

Doug lived and breathed those words. He began Choirs Festivals Canada with the notion that Elementary School Children love the opportunity to SHARE their music with family, friends and community. He  believed that our children and our teachers could bring smiles to the faces of all, simply by coming outside of their classrooms and singing for others.

He thought that choirs were little communities unto themselves. Their members shared wonderful times together and built lifetime memories. Over many years of productions in many locations, people in those communities seemed to feel very differently after hearing the choirs and sharing in the excitement of the festivals.

Doug made a very conscious decision to let the teachers and the students put together their own music, with no restrictions. The choirs were always encouraged to be creative, inventive and to bring any level of experience. He felt truly blessed to be involved in his “small way” with the new schools and those that have continued to participate repeatedly throughout the years.

He hoped that he planted a seed, where wonderful musical friendships would continue to grow with teachers and their students. He wanted schools to bring new ideas, to watch and to listen to each other and to respect one another.  Doug offered tremendous support to teachers, administrators and students alike. Of the many, many things Doug gave his time to, Choirs Festivals Canada was his most cherished event.

We are ever grateful to Pickering Town Centre for their belief and support in Doug and his beloved Choirs Festivals. Pickering Town Centre provided the first ever Choirs Festival venue, and when Doug left us suddenly, there was absolutely no hesitation to continue the tradition in his honour.

Master of Ceremonies, John McRae

Master of Ceremonies, John McRae

Welcome aboard, John McRae!

John stepped into some pretty big shoes at Pickering Town Centre’s 25th Anniversary Choirs Festival in April 2019 and we’re delighted to welcome him back as our Master of Ceremonies. A long-time friend and colleague of both Doug and Pat Pettigrew, John brings a wealth of experience to his hosting duties. He has produced and anchored several radio shows across Canada (currently the “Friday Night Oldies Show” CKOL FM, Peterborough area, and has served as Master of Ceremonies for York Region Media Group’s annual “Celebration of the Arts” Gala.

Pat Pettigrew

On-Site Coordinator / Administration

Judy Gilchrist, Sondra Kraitberg, Sharon Cecelia Smith, Joan Varey

On-Site Coordinators, friends of the Festival

Dale Chappell

Dale was Doug's right arm for 16 years with Choirs Festivals Canada. Dale and family are treasured alumni of the Festival and although she's no longer with us on a day to day basis, she can usually be found with husband Ian at Pickering's Grand Finale, where it all began.

Eric Soostar

Sound Technician, Extraordinary Bassist & All 'Round Good Guy