Although born in England, Healey Willan spent most of his life in Canada. He taught at the Toronto Conservatory of Music and was organist at St. Mary Magdelene Church for decades. Willan had a wide influence as a teacher of composition and is best remembered today for his choral and organ compositions. He composed 14 mass settings, dozens of hymns for the church choirs, an opera, two symphonies, and a piano concerto. He received four honorary doctoral degrees and was awarded the Canada Council Medal in 1961 for outstanding achievements in the arts.
Elegie Heroique was composed in 1960 for the centenary celebration of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, a regimental band. This march owes much of its style to the "Pomp and Circumstance" marches of Sir Edward Elgar, a favorite composer of Willan. --James Huff 23:46, March 25, 2007 (EDT) (from the program notes of The Claremont Winds, submitted with permission)