O. Thomas Webb, here with his wife Patricia during their retirement years in Sidney, was a founding member of the Sidney Concert Band. He died last year (Submitted)

New Victoria Conservatory music scholarship recognizes long-time Sidney resident

O. Thomas Webb died in Sidney last year after retiring to the community in 1975

A new scholarship benefiting the Victoria Conservatory of Music bears the name of a long-time, prominent Sidney resident who died last year.

The O. Thomas Webb Memorial Scholarship in Winds and Brass in the memory of Tom Webb, who died last year in Sidney at the age of 99, will benefit a student who shows promising musical talent for a wind or brass instrument to encourage and facilitate that student’s musical growth and education at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

Tom’s son, Michael and his wife, Donna-Lee have established the scholarship. They have given a one-time donation to the Victoria Conservatory of Music Operating Endowment Fund to assist with ongoing operating costs of the organization in perpetuity. The gift from the Webb’s is the first donation to this newly created fund.

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“We are so grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Webb for this generous scholarship,” said Emily Nagelbach, department head, winds and brass, Victoria Conservatory of Music. “It is terrific to have the opportunity to encourage promising young musicians with this level of support, and to know that this scholarship is honouring someone who truly loved music throughout his life.”

Tom Webb had a life-long love of music. After arriving from the United Kingdom in the farming community of Neepawa, Man. in 1925, Webb’s father bought him a violin for $3.95. Tom was more of a fiddler than violinist and in the Depression years of the 1930s, his dad paid a journeyman fiddler a dozen eggs an hour for Tom’s lessons.

During the Second World War, Webb commanded a company of the 17th Canadian Field Regiment in the Italian campaign. He also served in France and in the liberation of Netherlands. He met his wife Patricia in 1943 and they were married in Westwickham, Kent. After the war, Tom returned to Manitoba and discovered his brother had sold his violin while he was away, but that was fine with Tom, as he had developed a love for brass bands while serving in the army. He bought a saxophone and received a lessons from neighbor until he was good enough to join the Salvation Army Band in Brandon. He became city assessor for Brandon, Man. before joining the provincial civil service in Winnipeg.

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Webb and his wife Patricia had two children, Michael and Janet. In 1975, the couple retired to Sidney, where Webb was a founding member of the Sidney Concert Band, a volunteer group that plays at community events and in seniors’ residences across Vancouver Island. His favourite instrument by that time was the euphonium.

“My dad was an extraordinary man, a real character,” said Michael Webb. “Donna-Lee and I are pleased and proud to establish this scholarship in his memory and we are happy to be of assistance to the Victoria Conservatory of Music, which makes music accessible to everyone, of any age or ability. We are hoping that others will be inspired to give to the scholarship to help the fund grow.”

To make a tax-deductible gift to the O. Thomas Webb Memorial Scholarship in Winds and Brass, contact Barbara Sutton, Chief Development Officer, Victoria Conservatory of Music at 250-386-5311 or donate online at www.vcm.bc.ca.

Founded in 1964, the Victoria Conservatory of Music is one of Canada’s most innovative and progressive music schools with the mission to enrich lives through music. The VCM is a Centre for Excellence and enjoyment of music through education, performance and music therapy, serving its community of over 3,700 students and music therapy clients of all ages.


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