For a quarter of a century, students from Canada and all over the world have been able to enjoy a truly transformative educational experience at Herstmonceux Castle, thanks to the vision and generosity of Queen’s alumnus Dr. Alfred Bader (BSc’45, BA’46, MSc’47, LLD’86) who, together with his wife Dr. Isabel Bader (LLD’07), had the foresight to purchase the Castle for Queen’s University.
It was The Bader International Study Centre’s honour to present a very special memorial concert for Dr. Alfred Bader on Sunday, September 22nd. The university was delighted that many members of the Bader family travelled from the United States especially for the occasion including Dr. Isabel Bader and Alfred’s two sons and granddaughter. They were joined by leaders from Bader Philanthropies, Inc, the Bader family’s charitable arm, which is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Queen’s Principal Patrick Deane also travelled to Herstmonceux to join the Bader family in paying tribute to Alfred. It was Principal Deane’s first visit to the Castle since his appointment as Queen’s University’s 21st Principal and Vice-Chancellor.
The Alfred Bader Memorial Concert, featuring the talents of Bader Musicians in Residence Diana Gilchrist and Shelley Katz, was attended by over 120 invited guests. Attendees included close friends of Alfred and Isabel; Alfred’s oldest friend, Ralph Emanuel, whose mother Bessy financially supported Alfred’s Kindertransport journey to England; many of Isabel’s friends in the local community; The Friends of Herstmonceux - local supporters of the BISC, who championed the purchase of the Castle by Queen’s in 1993; many former administrative leaders of the BISC and long-serving faculty members. They all came to honour Alfred, as did several of Isabel’s former students from the Thalia School of Drama. Isabel was especially delighted that members of the family of her oldest friend, the late Christine Portch, were able to travel from Norfolk to attend.
The concert was MC’d by Dr. Craig Walker, Director of the Dan School of Music and Drama at Queen’s. The musical programme featured a number of Isabel Bader’s favourite classical works, including Strauss’ ‘Vier Letze Lieder’ (‘Four Last Songs’) as performed by soprano Diana Gilchrist. The Symphonova Orchestra accompanied Diana and was conducted by Shelley Katz. The BISC student choir performed, ‘L’dor Vador’ a song that was much beloved by Alfred and sung at his 85th birthday celebration at the BISC in 2009.
The concert was followed by Afternoon Tea under canopies in the Castle courtyard. The event was officially hosted by Isabel Bader as a means of thanking the scores of loving friends and supporters for attending. She took time to meet each guest individually and fondly reminisce. Since his death in December 2018, Queen’s University has found many ways to honour the legacy of Dr. Alfred Bader, but this was an especially poignant opportunity to pay tribute in a setting that meant so much to him.
In his remarks, Principal Patrick Deane noted that Alfred Bader was a rare, inspiring individual who had both great vision and the means of carrying out that vision. The Principal spoke of Queen’s gratitude for Alfred and his many contributions to the university. Queen’s University will be forever grateful to Dr. Alfred Bader for his remarkable legacy and his expansive vision of students from different parts of the world living and learning together.
With thanks to Alex Read for all photographs.