The Sheppard Family Youth Music Fund

The Grant.

The Sheppard Family Youth Music Fund was established in 2022 as a permanent Donor-Advised endowment fund with the Saskatoon Community Foundation.

The principal portion of the fund is held in perpetuity and invested by the Saskatoon Community Foundation as part of an aggregate, professionally managed investment pool. The annual net investment income earned by the fund is intended to be disbursed to support a broad range of youth music programs with a preference, but not exclusivity, for inner city youth.

The Music.

I was born in 1935 in the farming community of Abernethy, SK. I took piano lessons for about three years, but that was not for me; I wanted to play the saxophone! I was fourteen at the time. The country was coming out of the Great Depression, followed closely by the Second World War, and no family resources were available to enable me to take on that endeavour.

As my schooling took me in a direction quite different from music. Working with numbers instead of notes, I often wondered how I would have made out had there been even a small amount of financial support to assist me in meeting my objective. This hindsight allowed me to recognize that music program funding generally suffers when money is tight.

It was only in retirement that I finally had the opportunity to take lessons and fly a steep learning curve. After much practice, I joined an Arizona winter community band to play baritone saxophone, a personal success that brought a lot of enjoyment.

While I was a 'late bloomer' in the world of instruments, my wife, on the other hand, grew up surrounded by music.

Fae Sheppard (née Thompson) was born in Pictou County, NS, in 1938 but moved to and grew up in Central Butte, SK. Fae received piano lessons and had a natural musical ability for playing the piano – or organ, as the case may be – for dances, funerals, and church services from an early age, along with almost every brass instrument in the Central Butte Band, of which her father was the bandmaster.

In 1960, I married Fae, and music became ever-present. Fae was a stay-at-home mom for our three children. Her love for and talent in music was the driving force behind the considerable time and effort she put into assisting their musical endeavours at school and in the community, including various fundraising projects.

In her later years, Fae volunteered to play piano for entertainment at senior residents, played with the renowned Saskatoon Jammers Band, and at numerous jam sessions. In 2020, Fae passed away; based on our many discussions over our 60 years of marriage, I know she supported creating a fund, and her wishes and intent have been included.

I hope that the earnings from this fund will be at least a small addition to the financial security necessary to encourage and support young musicians individually or in bands.

This fund is the culmination of decades filled with love: love of music, creativity, and the life I shared with Fae. Through this fund, new musical memories, such as those that have surrounded our lives for many years, can form in the lives of young people who come after us.

– Mac Sheppard

The Sheppard Family Youth Music Fund