Memorable Manitobans: Frederick Albert “Fred” Merrett (1924-2023)

Click to enlarge

Frederick Albert Merrett
Click to enlarge

Educator, musician.

Born at Dauphin on 9 May 1924, son of Frederick and Ethel Merrett who were active in the Salvation Army, the family moved frequently. He became interested in music at an early age, learning to play the cornet and piano. At the age of 15, he directed the junior band and subsequently was Bandmaster of the Salvation Army Winnipeg Citadel Senior Band for 27 years.

In 1948, he began teaching in the Winnipeg School Division, serving as the Musical Director at the Winnipeg Technical Vocational High School (Tec Voc) from its opening in 1951 to July 1973. Known for his innovation in musical education, he formed the first high school band in Manitoba (1951) and the Tec Voc marching band appeared annually in the Red River Exhibition Parade and the Santa Claus Parade. He was a member of the staff of the International Music Camp at the Peace Garden from its inception in 1956.

He wrote the Tec Voc school song, introduced handbells into the curriculum (1964; writing some 148 published compositions for handbells), and performed Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, minstrel shows, and Broadway musicals. He moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 1973 where he taught high school music for the next 13 years.

He died at Edmonton, Alberta on 28 August 2023.


Obituary, Edmonton Journal, 16 September 2023.

We thank Amy Merrett and Larry Schrum for providing information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 18 September 2023