Give to the Kate McGarrigle Fund
[Note: Kate McGarrigle was the mother of Rufus and Martha Wainwright who are now signers in their own rights. ]
Brainy, well-read, full of obscure information, forever theorizing in politics, mythology, science, mathematics, literature, history, human relations. Ambitious, determined, opinionated. Impetuous, adventuresome. Lovely, lively, sweet, quick-witted, charming, beautiful. A delight and a challenge to her family and friends. Outrageous at times, but anything was more fun when Kate was along.
If you would like to make a special donation in honour of Kate,
please follow this link and donate online
or call the MUHC Foundation directly at +1-514-931-5656.
Third of three daughters of Frank McGarrigle and his wife Gabrielle Latremouille. Born in Montreal, raised in the Laurentian village of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts. Schooled at Ecole Marie-Rose in Saint-Sauveur, Town of Mount Royal Catholic High School, McGill University B.Sc. '70.
She sprang from two families, the McGarrigles and the Latremouilles, where everybody sang. She learned harmony singing from her father and piano from the village nuns. She taught herself blues guitar, claw hammer banjo and fiddle.
She and her sister Anna were stars on the Montreal folk scene in the 1960s, in Le Trio Canadien and the Mountain City Four. When they turned to songwriting in the 1970s, they wrote songs for the greatest singers of the era, Linda Ronstadt, Maria Muldaur, Judy Collins, Emmylou Harris.
They made recordings that moved and enchanted listeners. They toured the world, played Carnegie Hall seven times, displayed wit, charm, profound musical talent and a Canadian ideal of effortless bilingualism. They sang in French and English whether in Montreal, New York, London or Hong Kong. They won the Order of Canada in 1994, JUNO Awards in 1996 and 1998, the Governor General's Performing Arts Award in 2004, Lifetime Achievement Awards from ASCAP in 2005 and SOCAN in 2006.
Kate and Anna appeared on stage together for the last time in a family Christmas concert at Royal Albert Hall, London, 9 December, 2009.
Kate loved cross-country skiing, grand opera, Russian novels, cooking Christmas dinner for everyone, and knitting. She loved Stephen Foster songs, the works of Francis Parkman, and Ti-Jean Kerouac. She loved long evenings of singing, talking and arguing. She loved the old McGarrigle place in Saint-Sauveur. She loved her family and her friends. She loved life.
Her last three years were immeasurably brightened by the company of her children, who guided her on an extended grande tournee, hobnobbing in the Hamptons, hitting the beach at Rio, doing the Biennale di Venezia. There was Madame Butterfly on opening night at the Met, Parsifal at Bayreuth, La Favola d'Orfeo at Teatro alla Scala di Milano. She was on the tour bus, too, here with Martha in Ireland, there with Rufus in Spain. She always made an appearance in the shows, and she always got a cheer.
Sincere thanks to Roger Tabah, Sonia Semenic, Gerald Batist and Peter Metrakos, among many doctors and nurses at the Royal Victoria, Montreal General and Jewish General hospitals, and to Canada's wonderful health care system. To family members and friends for their many acts of kindness. To Jane, a comfort to Kate, especially in her final weeks. And to Anna, throughout the ordeal Kate's faithful attendant, ever patient in hospital corridors waiting for Kate and hoping for a happier outcome.