Last week, Swift Current lost a husband, father, community member, and music teacher when Greg McLean passed away.

Suffering from cancer, the teacher was loved and respected by many before he passed on Saturday. But not before using his life to leave behind a legacy.

A lover of music, McLean was able to pass on his knowledge to many during his time as a teacher at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School.

Brendan McLean remembered his father as a passionate man and uniquely skilled with music, but also an amazing father of three, husband, and avid nature lover.

Brendan said that his father was able to instill the love of music in many of his students, as well as his children. Brendan himself and his sister, are both now music teachers.

He shared stories of his father while explaining how Greg was able to bring an advanced music education Swift Current and Esterhazy.

Early in Greg’s teaching career, he taught in Esterhazy until he and his wife moved to Swift Current in 1989. He taught at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School from 1989 until 2010. He also co-conducted the Swift Current Oratorio Choir and created and conducted the Swift Current Jazz Orchestra. He was also played the role of an adjudicator in Canadian music competitions, and had countless music concert successes to his name through his student bands.

Greg was also the Interim Director of Bands for a year at the University of Regina.

“Even in those early years in Esterhazy, he developed some very very fine groups.”

“I remember him telling me that one time he took the Esterhazy Senior Band into Toronto… they went to Oakwood Collegiate in Toronto and he said ‘these Toronto kids have probably never been to Saskatchewan in their life and could barely identify it on a map.’ They were just completely blown out of the water by this group from Saskatchewan, they couldn’t believe how good it was, this small centre from Saskatchewan that no one had ever heard of.”

He said his father was born on a small Manitoba farm, and wished to be able to spread music to rural areas to show it wouldn’t take a large centre to create notable music programs.

Greg was able to bring Saskatchewan musicians to competitions around Canada and the United States where he again was able to find much success.

“He built up a reputation for himself from those early days,” Brendan said,” and that continued right until the end of his career, and in some ways, even got better as time went on.”

Brendan fondly remembered how his father was able to push the best out of his students while becoming friends with them along the way.

“It's kind of like a hockey coach or football coach in that he really drives his players very very hard, but the reward at the end is that Grey Cup or Stanley Cup, that award, or that feeling of satisfaction that all his students got. He really nurtured a team atmosphere.”

“It was not uncommon on a Sunday afternoon for former students to just pull up in the driveway and come in for coffee. Dad attended his former students' weddings, a lot of them became teachers and musicians themselves so he would collaborate with them and meet them all over the country in airports, or hiking, he would bump into [some of the] thousands of students [he had] over his career.”

“They always had great stories and were always very fond of him, and the fondness went both ways,” Brendan remembered, “he did really care about his students and their lives.”

“Dad was one of those people that was sort of a phenomenon. He touched the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people he crossed, and that doesn't just include students, it includes colleagues as well.”

Brendan said that he believes that striving for aural perfection and eliciting emotional responses to and from music is what drove his father to continue nurturing artistic talent.

“He could do music 24/7, 365 [days a year] and he could be completely happy. He had other hobbies as well of course, but it wasn’t to escape music, it was just that he happened to love the other hobbies.”

Since Greg’s passing, a Facebook tribute page has been created and has since amassed over 600 members.

Brendan said that being able to witness the outpouring of support from the page helps him to remember good memories instead of how his father passed.

“Dad and I were very close, we used to talk on the phone almost every night. When I began to read all those comments and anecdotes it sort of uplifted me and it just inspired and motivated me and took away all those bad images from near the end.”

To go to the Facebook tribute page, click here.