By Jey Dharmaraj and Kathryn Stocks

Writing about real people and their journey in life is always interesting so we were excited to talk to Allan and Judy Conquer and their family. Judy was a teacher for 33 years and Allan is in his 34th year with NCR. Both have a passion for music and music education. Judy sings and plays the piano while Allan plays the saxophone.

They had four sons who turned into music lovers themselves and so music became an integral part of their lives. Judy and Allan would lead annual school Christmas singalongs and other musical events at West Rouge Junior Public School and Judy’s schools, and eventually the whole family would participate. She taught music at Pringdale Gardens JPS and finished her career at Charlottetown.

Their four children, Geoffrey, James, Gabriel and Robert, all were initiated gently into music when they started reading with about 15 minutes of piano practice daily, then adding singing with the Bach Children’s Chorus a year or two later. The boys all took piano until they attained their Grade 8 RCM. Geoffrey continued with piano, but the rest picked up other instruments, and through high school took lessons, joined outside ensembles and auditioned into “the next” competitive placement and eventually university.

Balance and recreation were important family values so while they did music, they also participated in church, hockey, curling, drama and foremost, of course, school. Judy and Allan always encouraged the boys to find their passion, declare it, then chase it. The boys got more and more interested in music and each one eventually declared their musical passion and practised even more on their own. The practicing eventually spilled into their church and neighbours’ homes. During practice the boys would open their bedroom windows and the neighbours would love to hear the boys play. Music camps and competitions were regular fare.

When complimented on their parenting skills, Judy and Allan were very humble and replied that these values were instilled from a very young age – respecting others, creative and independent thinking, problem solving, the importance of teamwork and that success comes with hard work. While they look forward to a quiet existence someday, they suspect they will miss it.

Open PDF to read their story.