Place and Time

Margo Davidson, early 1970s. Photo from The Monocle, Simcoe Composite School YearbookPhoto courtesy of Michael Todd

Margo Davidson and Mark Grummett, 1972
Photo from The Monocle
Simcoe Composite School Yearbook
Photo courtesy of Michael Todd

Wrote about the late musician Margo Davidson, a member of Parachute Club, whom I had known in Toronto, and who shared an apartment with me for a period. Much is publicly known about her time as a professional musician and her post-music activities. Less is known of her earlier years, when she was developing her artistic talent. Her high school friend and early bandmate Michael Todd writes about those times, as follows (e-mail correspondence reproduced with permission):

Margo was in a band that we formed, as teenagers, in Simcoe, Ontario; it was a jazz quartet. We played pretty progressive stuff for our town at the time, such as Dave Brubeck’sTake Five“. And we got several gigs, once playing a New Year’s event at the Simcoe Armoury.

I remember Margo as truly lovely person. In addition to her talent and intelligence, she was just nice to be around — in a low key way. But she always struck me as being somewhat sad — there was an air of sadness there — as if there were a hole in her life perhaps. I knew her dad had died. But I didn’t know all the details, and Margo and I didn’t talk much about it. But even then…and we’re talking around the time of Grade 11…I was in a Grade above her.

Many years later, I saw her once in Toronto, performing at a club with Parachute Club. I tried to talk to her after the show, but didn’t meet with much response. She had dropped out of U of T by then and I had finished grad school at U of T and was working in the so-called real world. I’ve always felt it was a bit sad that we didn’t connect, but then again I suppose it was post-show and she was distracted. Also, by then, she was in a very different scene than I was. I was finished with grad school, married and had a day job. Our lives couldn’t have been more profoundly at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Still, it was sad to hear about her death and what brought it about. I guess she had a lot of demons. She was, in some ways, very much a high achiever. Even when I knew her; she seemed pretty tightly wound. Maybe her standards were simply too high, especially for herself. Sometimes — as smart as people are about the world and music and the arts — it’s hard to be smart about ourselves.

I’ll always think of her with love and fondness. I’m glad we spent a part of our teenage years together — however small — both socially and musically, as significant or insignificant as those years might be. And perhaps, in the final analysis, they’re not as insignificant as some might think.

Margo Davidson in Simcoe Composite School Band, Circa 1974.Davidson is at far right, playing saxophone.Directed by Anatols AdamanPhoto by Duncan BristowPhoto courtesy of Michael Todd

Margo Davidson in Simcoe Composite School Band, circa 1974
Davidson is at far right, playing saxophone
Directed by Anatols Adaman
Photo by Duncan Bristow
Photo courtesy of Michael Todd


About brucelarochelle
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One Response to Place and Time

  1. A series of photos, by Duncan Bristow, of Simcoe and Simcoe Composite School during the time that Margo was there, may be found here (link suggested by Michael Todd).

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