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Organist, choir master and conductor Peter Partridge stands at the site of St. Catharines’ soon-to-be-built Performing Arts Centre.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

The Donor: Peter Partridge

The Gift: $1-million

The Reason: To help build the Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines, Ont.

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Peter Partridge has been involved in the music scene around St. Catharines, Ont., for nearly 50 years, performing in just about every type of venue.

"As an organist, choir master and conductor, I have performed in every conceivable church, chapel, auditorium, gymnasium and banquet hall in St. Catharines," Mr. Partridge, 71, said from his office at RBC Dominion Securities in the Southern Ontario city where he is a portfolio manager.

"And this experience has taught me St. Catharines genuinely needs a performance venue."

So when plans were announced a couple of years ago to build a new Performing Arts Centre in the city, Mr. Partridge eagerly got involved and took on the job of raising the last $5-million needed to complete the project.

To get it started, Mr. Partridge made his own donation of $1-million.

The $60-million centre is expected to open in the fall of 2015 and it will include a 775-seat main concert hall and three smaller venues for dance, live theatre and film. It will be located in the downtown core and near Brock University's new Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

"I'm happy to join people in their goals and dreams in a partnership in building something that is going to be here, not just for us, but for our children and our grandchildren and on and on for generations," he said.

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"I can't wait for it to open."

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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