The Gift of Music on Mike Schmidt’s 60th Birthday

There are many ways a person might choose to celebrate a milestone birthday; Mike Schmidt chose to spend his bringing the gift of music to the residents of Winston Park alongside fellow members of the Ayr-Paris Band and his wife, Merry, the band’s longtime conductor.

Mike Schmidt and band members playing at The Village of Winston ParkMike and Merry and their passion for music are well-known within the Schlegel Family, seen and heard most recently during Kitchener’s Oktoberfest Parade on Thanksgiving, but the Paris-Ayr Band is also a familiar guest at Winston Park. Though several years have gone by since Mike served as the Village’s first General Manager and he now serves the Schlegel Villages Support Office in the expansion of the organization, he still thinks of Winston Park as home.

Gus Campos is a recreation team member who helped with the Nov. 22 event, and he says it was an evening enjoyed by all who attended. The Village looked beautiful in the lead-up to the holiday season, and the residents are always in the mood for world-class live music – and it is world class. Just a few months before, the band toured Scotland playing several memorable shows, and the notes of their instruments have graced the likes of Balmoral Castle, where Queen Elizabeth II found refuge from her royal duties. In the decades the band has been together, it has graced countless countries in Europe and has been all across Canada, but Mike’s 60th Birthday show was reserved for his family at Winston Park.

“He was very excited about the whole event,” Gus says, “and he got a little emotional. He was thanking everyone and he said: ‘I’m still so glad I could come here a still consider this place my home.’ ”

Gus, who works part-time at the Village while he’s working towards a degree in recreation therapy at the University of Waterloo, says Mike’s commitment is a symbol of how special Schlegel Villages is. In a way, Gus can relate. His education schedule recently took priority, he says, and he had to step away from the Village for a period of time. When he returned, he had the same feeling of homecoming Mike hinted at during his remarks that evening.

“It’s a little bit of a lesson to everyone,” Gus says. “Winston Park is not just a place you go to work; it’s a community.”