Published on March 13th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Award-Winning Composer Michael Doherty On Why He Makes Fredericton, Canada His Home
Beyond being an award-winning composer, sound designer and music director, Michael Doherty is also a multi-instrumentalist, producer and audio engineer. In turn, Doherty has worked extensively within the worlds of theatre, film, radio and dance alike. Doherty’s score for Jillian Acreman’s 2009 work Broke was notably heard at the Cannes Film Festival. As a producer he has led acclaimed projects for David Myles, Hot Toddy, and Debbie Adshade. Recent theatre credits of Doherty’s include Armstrong’s War, Rearview, The 39 Steps, Marion Bridge, and and a musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol was written by Doherty in collaboration with Caleb Marshall and Tania Breen.
While visiting the New Brunswick city known as Fredericton, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Doherty, a Theatre Nova Scotia Merritt Award Winner who has also been an artist-in-residence at Theatre New Brunswick and The Sudbury Theatre Centre. He explained why it is that he chooses to live in Fredericton, what time of year you ought to visit, and where you ought to go in town for drinks.
For someone who hasn’t yet been to Fredericton, how would you describe it? Is there any town or city that you can compare it to?
Michael Doherty: Fredericton is the capitol city of the province of New Brunswick. Therefore it is the seat of the government and contains a large population of civil servants. One large and one small university — the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University — which increase its population by 10,000 citizens each school year. I think Fredericton would see itself as diverse and accepting. The former is definitely truer and truer with each passing year. The majestic Wolastoq — Saint John River — bisects the city creating a north and a south side of the city and everything culturally and societally which comes with that kind of geographic barrier. Fredericton has been compared to London, Ontario, rather a smaller version of that Ontario city, mostly because of the river that runs through it — I think? Fredericton is a cultural hub and home to world class musicians and visual artists and is the final resting place of poets Bliss Carmen, and Charles G. D. Roberts. The city has also become a leader in the tech industry and boasts a wealth of craft breweries.
What do you like most about Fredericton?
Michael Doherty: I like that I am able to own a home here. Working in the arts, this is not something that is always possible in other larger cities.
As someone who has traveled extensively, what is it that keeps you loyal to the area?
Michael Doherty: I was born here. And my parents continue to live here as well. There is a pull of the Atlantic Ocean that draws Maritimers and Atlantic Canadians back to the coast. A gentler, slower pace of life and again a lower cost of living. I like being able to work across the country but will always keep this as my homebase.
Do you have a favorite restaurant or bar to recommend?
Michael Doherty: The Lunar Rogue is by far my favorite local pub. One of the best whiskey bars in the world and staffed by some of the best people working in the industry. I consider them family.
Is there a time of year you love most in Fredericton?
Michael Doherty: I really enjoy the fall in general and Fredericton comes alive for the annual Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival. One of the largest on the Eastern seaboard.
Finally, what are you currently working on?
Michael Doherty: I’m a theatre composer, sound designer and music director. I’m currently designing a couple of shows for the Neptune Theatre in Halifax and getting ready to conduct The Wizard Of Oz for Theatre New Brunswick.