Serving Dorchester, Belmont, Thorndale, Thamesford, Putnam, Crampton, Avon, Harrietsville, Mossley and surrounding area

Instrument donation

honours former student

Signpost photo by Wendy Spence
From left (back row), Bill Beacham's father Chris Beacham, Sharon Pye of the Putnam Mini Mart, George McMaster and Karen Quaegebeur from the Ingersoll Music Academy and music teacher James Callowhill; (front) Bill's cousin Alyssa Van Santen and his aunt Leslie Van Zanten get together in the Lord Dorchester music room to try out some of the guitars that were donated to the school's music program.
by Wendy Spence

        The memory of Bill Beacham will live on through guitars and music equipment donated to Lord Dorchester's music program last week. The Putnam resident died at 21 from injuries he suffered in a workplace incident in September. Bill's father Chris was moved by the thoughtful donation.
        "It's excellent. The community and all the people that have pulled forward together to make something like this happen, it really speaks well to Bill and the impact that he made on people's lives," he said. "He was very much involved in music. His mother and I both play, my parents played." When Bill attended the local high school, he played guitar most often, but his father said he could pick up anything he put his mind to. He played the trombone in the school band.
        Sharon Pye collected donations at her business, Putnam Mini Mart, for the guitars, a bass and amplifier. "Anybody that wanted to donate came to the store. And there was a huge response. Just huge," she said. Originally Pye thought they might only be able to buy one guitar for the school. The instruments and equipment were purchased at Ingersoll Music Academy, who donated the straps and got the instruments ready to be played.
        "We sincerely appreciate you guys thinking of our music store," said Karen Quaegebeur. "We were really touched by this story that was shared and we want to also see music keep going in the community."
        Chris, who has been in the refrigeration industry for years, said that once people found out they donated quite a bit of money. The remainder will be used to set up a bursary for LDSS in the future.
        Music teacher James Callowhill recalled that Bill was a big part of the music program, and he was involved with a variety of clubs at the local high school. "He was the kind of person that everybody really liked. Billy really cared about Lord Dorchester like he's one of those people who wore his heart on his sleeve." Callowhill looks forward to the students being able to play the new instruments. "I think kids are really into music." He said that it's powerful when a goal is set together to accomplish something as a group.
        Students will be able to continue to be involved with the music program at the small-town school, which has spanned several generations in some cases, such as was the case with Bill's family.

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