Michael Reid Perry
March 18, 1957 – August 8, 2023
Michael’s most significant accomplishments resulted from his two greatest abilities: transcendent musical gifts and loving Gloria. The first ability led him to the career of his dreams making an important contribution to the classical music scene in Toronto. The second, equally important allowed him to love and be loved.
Michael’s musical career began as a toddler ceaselessly banging on pots and pans. His piano and music theory lessons evolved into a passion for the drums; with his first drum set acquired while still in public school. His first band, Us Three, was formed in grade six and allowed to play at school assemblies. At Northmount Junior High School, Michael learned to play the cello, continued to play drums, timpani and percussion in the school bands and orchestra. Performing with Newtonbrook High School bands and orchestra allowed a natural progression into music as a profession. In Grade 13, he was asked to audition for the University of Toronto Jazz Ensemble. He won the position and played drums with the U of T Jazz Ensemble for the next 5 years, under the tutelage of Phil Nimmons. Michael also won his place with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in 1976 and 1977; valuable orchestral training tutored by the great Alexander Lepak. Michael auditioned for and entered the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, earning an Honour’s Bachelor of Performance Degree.
Michael attended the Banff Centre Jazz Program in 1979, winning first place at the Canadian Stage Band Festival with the U of T Jazz Ensemble. His musical career spanned 40 years as the Principal Timpanist for the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, 25 years as the Principal Timpanist for the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra and 25 years as the Principal Percussionist with the Hannaford Street Silver Band. Michael’s career has also included numerous CBC radio broadcasts and CD recordings with the Hannaford Street Silver Band and the Canadian Opera Company. He also played a variety of gigs with rock and roll, jazz, and other musical ensembles.
Michael was an independent thinker who marched to his own beat while still being loving, kind and gentle. He had an unending appetite for horror movies, serial killer sagas and diet coke. A connoisseur of all things chocolate, particularly world class ice cream; food was a passion.
No coincidence that his much-loved cottage was called Harmony where his love of nature deeply resonated. He travelled, most memorably reveling in the soft breezes, magical bird songs, starry nights and warm Caribbean oceans. Capturing the spirit of this tenacious, limitlessly curious, stubborn, present, independent, funny being is impossible in just a few words. Michael’s storytelling, quirky sense of humour, big laugh, mischievous grin, playfulness will be sorely missed.
Michael loved Gloria in a manner uncommon. His heart beat. Tenaciously. Intelligently. Ardently. Supportively. Together, they created a safe haven that allowed them to bloom and thrive.
He embraced life, lived life well, did not fear death so went gently into the night on his own terms.
Michael and his loved ones are deeply grateful for the care received from the staff of Princess Margaret Hospital, in particular Dr Benjamin Lok and Dr Penelope Bradbury and the palliative care team. Also, for the staff of both Home and Community Care, Toronto East and SE Health, in particular Farooq, Alison, Charmain and Chrystal. Finally for Dr. Damian’s gentle, kind care. After a prolonged cancer journey, Michael Perry passed away on Tuesday, August 8 at home with the assistance of MAID; holding his beloved Gloria.
A private gathering is planned. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to
Condolences for the family may be left at https://www.affordableburialsandcremations.ca/michaelperry/
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