There’s probably nobody better to talk about Sears MacArthur than the woman who spent the last 49 years listening to him play.
That’s Marie MacArthur, wife of the well-known Codroy Valley musician who died on June 9 at the age of 79.
Mr. MacArthur’s contribution to music in the valley will be honoured this coming weekend during the 32nd annual Codroy Valley Folk Festival. This year’s event is being dedicated to Mr. MacArthur and there’ll be a ceremony to mark the honour at the Recreation Complex in Upper Ferry on Sunday at 2 p.m.
“He used to open the festival with the bagpipes,” said Marie by phone from her home in Upper Ferry on Saturday.
In all the years of the festival she figures he probably only missed two.
She said music had always been a part of his life, and besides the bagpipes he played the accordion and the guitar.
“Oh, joy,” she responds when asked what he got out of it.
“That was his life, was music. And he loved going playing it and he loved taking part in everything.”
So what was this music man like.
“Very gentle, pleasant, easy to get along with and a good worker,” said his wife.
When he wasn’t playing he worked a variety of jobs, everything from truck driver to carpenter and worker at a dairy farm.
“A little bit of everything,” said Marie.
Marie said her husband never wanted to leave the Codroy Valley.
And it’s there that together they raised four children — John Allan, Gordon, Dwayne and Shelley.
The boys all share their father’s musical abilities and like him have participated in the festival.
A highlight of Mr. MacArthur’s life was going to Scotland in 2009. That’s where his own father Allan MacArthur’s family came from.
He was part of a group that called themselves the Homecoming Scottish Newfoundlanders and had been invited there to celebrate Scotland’s Homecoming.
Marie said while there Mr. MacArthur got to visit his ancestral home on the Isle of Canna.
“He was so happy when he got over there to see what everything was about and where his forefathers came from,” she said.
The cement from the basement one of his ancestor’s homes was still there and Marie laughs at the sentimentality of her husband who brought home rocks and a piece of an old dish.
Mr. MacArthur battled cancer for a few years before his death, but Marie said he never gave up his music.
“If he could sit up at all and felt like it, he’d play the music,” she said. “And he’d listen to it a lot.”
She’s not quite sure how she’ll feel at Sunday’s dedication ceremony which she said will be like a kitchen party.
“Well I guess I’ll get through it. I’ll try my best,” she said with a sigh.
“I’m going to miss him.”
It will be different because this will be the first time that Mr. MacArthur is not physically at the festival, but she’s certain he’ll be there in some way.
“That’s for sure,” Marie said.