Tribute Event Honours Alumnus

the Gord Vogt screening room
The new Gordon Vogt Screening Room at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. Photo by Bernard Clark.
photo of the vogt family
The Vogt family attending the tribute event. Photo by Bernard Clark.
photo of bruce vogt
Gordon Vogt's brother Bruce Vogt making his remarks at the event. Photo by Bernard Clark.
family and speakers at the event
From left to right, Lynn Vogt, Bruce Vogt, Ric Giorgi, Piers Handling, Arts’71, and Stephen Hunter, who all spoke during the evening. Photo by Bernard Clark.

Bruce Vogt felt the best way to honour his late brother, Gordon Vogt, Arts’70, MA’73, was by combining two things he loved — film and music.

A special naming ceremony for the new Gordon Vogt Film Screening Room took place on Oct. 2 at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. Those in attendance heard many memories about Gordon, who died of cancer at the age of 38.

Bruce, an accomplished pianist and professor at the University of Victoria, provided the soundtrack to some classic silent movies in memory of his brother, who was a well-known artist, singer, and CBC Radio theatre critic.

“We have trouble remembering that Gord died 33 years ago because he had an extraordinary effect on people,” said Bruce. “He had a talent for connecting people who were very different.”

archive photo of bruce vogt

Piers Handling, Arts’71, who will soon retire as the CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival, and filmmaker/producer Stephen Hunter gave special remarks. The highlight of the public ceremony was Bruce’s improv piano performance to some of Gordon’s favourite silent films, including Buster Keaton’s The Scarecrow and Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant.

“The wonderful thing about these (silent) films is they have a great appeal to people who are sophisticated filmgoers. But they are also universal. They appeal to three year olds and to 90 year olds and every age in between,” said Bruce.

The tribute was fitting for someone who dedicated his life to various artistic endeavors. At Queen’s, Gordon spent six years getting his undergraduate and master’s degrees and enjoyed his time in Kingston. He made a lot of friends while at Queen’s and was involved in the local arts community.

Later, he worked as a theatre critic for the CBC arts program Stereo Morning, and was actively involved in many theatre companies. He also loved to sing, write fiction, and did vocal work for the Rainbow Gardens Jazz Orchestra.

According to his brother, he excelled and loved all types of art.

“He was good at it all. It was one of the dilemmas of his life — which direction should he go and what field to focus on. He was a good artist and a good singer, but his main goal was writing,” said Bruce.

The new space in the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts replaces the former Gordon Vogt Studio Theatre in Carruthers Hall.