In 1987, Meg Hill and her mother, Doris McLaughlin Goldman, embarked on establishing a summer music program in one of their favorite places in the world, an idyllic spot in southern Ontario, on the shores of South Bay, Lake Ontario. Their vision was to create a summer home where young musicians could hone their skills as chamber musicians, with outstanding faculty artists, in a nurturing environment, conducive to personal growth.
In 1985, Doris together with her sister, Liz Dobie, and nephew, Michael Harris, purchased 80 acres of rural property including an 1860s home, a barn and an old drive shed. Meg’s grandparents had just sold their home in Prince Edward County, and her mother and aunt wished to find an alternative place for family gatherings.
Meg was a young mother and violin teacher. Doris was an active strings teacher and choral director. In the summer of 1987, Meg and Doris piloted a music program on the newly purchased Milford property, bringing 17 students, mostly their own, together for one week of chamber music coaching, orchestra, singing and regular camp activities in the county. A cellist and conductor were hired. The boys slept in tents, the girls in the house, and there was one bathroom for all to share. The two women taught music, scheduled activities, cooked for the small crew, and organized a week-end performance. It was a successful and gratifying week, and Doris and Meg decided to continue the adventure. The next summer they ran a two-week program with additional faculty and staff. The following summer they ran a three-week program. After six years, Meg and Doris were employing 14 highly skilled artists to teach and perform, and 6 staff members to serve as counselors, cooks, and lifeguards.
Music at Port Milford is now run by a small, committed and (talented!) volunteer board and Meg. In 2016 Music at Port Milford received an Ontario Council for the Arts Compass Grant to establish a strategic plan for the future. We look forward to realizing some of our goals and dreams for the future, such as strengthening our collaborations with other organizations in Prince Edward County, continuing to bring world-class chamber music to the County and, most importantly, providing a second home to the next generation of chamber musicians and music lovers for the next thirty years!