A great man who shone the light of music on all those he encountered, passed into history on April 25th, 2020 in Swift Current, SK at age 67. Gregory “Greg” James William McLean was born on April 18th, 1953 in Reston, MB to his parents William and Margaret McLean (both predeceased). He was raised on a family homestead, Avondale Seed Farm, where his rural upbringing instilled in him a fondness of small communities and the outdoors.
Greg received his Bachelor of Music in 1975 from Brandon University where he met his wife, Marcia (née Yaholnitsky). They were married for 42 years and raised 3 children: Brendan, Kelsea (Alex Kielly and grandson George Gregory McKielly), and Taylor. In addition to his immediate family, Greg leaves behind sisters Carol Purves (Bob) and Joan Robinson (Dale), brothers-in-law Dr. Stuart Yaholnitsky (Willa) and Dr. Bruce Yaholnitsky (Gwen), and many much-loved nieces and nephews.
Greg was a master teacher who was devoted to passionate music making and known for his ability to empower and inspire his students through the pursuit of excellence. He began his teaching career in Killarney, MB (1975-1977), after which he built distinguished high school band programs in Esterhazy, SK (1977-1989), and Swift Current, SK (1989-2010). Greg was a lifelong learner and advanced his education with a Diploma of Fine Arts from the University of Calgary in 1988 and a Masters of Music from the University of Manitoba in 2006.
He and Marcia retired together in 2010. Their retirement did not mark a time of idleness, but rather a time of renewed energy to pursue further musical endeavours. In 2011-2012, Greg became the Interim Director of Bands at the University of Regina. In the years that followed, he remained active as an adjudicator, guest conductor, and clinician across Canada. He conducted the Swift Current Oratorio Choir’s annual spring concert with the Regina Symphony Players and directed the Swift Current Jazz Orchestra, an ensemble he established.
An avid fisherman and hunter, Greg enjoyed spending time with friends and family outdoors. Greg will be remembered not only for his steadfast dedication to music, but also for his warm, charismatic personality, his zest for life, and the genuine care he showed for his family, friends, colleagues, and students.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a memorial service will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers and in memory of Greg McLean, donations can be made to the Swift Current Oratorio Choir (mail cheque to Box 33, Swift Current, SK S9H 3V5), or to Kidney Cancer Canada (kidneycancercanada.ca) would be appreciated by the family.
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