Some job titles aggrandize a professional position while some don’t quite relay all that’s involved. In the case of Tim Ross, King’s ancillary services manager, it seems to be the latter. At time of writing, Ross, who manages all King’s external contractors and makes sure campus life runs smoothly, had just come off a few very intense weeks overseeing the physical organization of graduation ceremonies. For the first time, with Covid safety in mind, the King’s Quad was tented and decorated to create an event space to celebrate the graduation of the classes of 2020 and 2021, as well as Encaenia for the class of 2022. At the same time, and for the first time in two years, King’s conference services were moving into full swing while in the background, the university’s Occupational Health and Safety Committee, of which Ross is chairman, was continuing to monitor and implement Covid-related safety protocols.
Often it’s those who have demanding jobs who make the time to play important roles in their communities. It’s certainly true in Ross’s case; he’s just been awarded the 2022 Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pin for his exceptional volunteer work in the community in which he lives. Brookfield, a village in Colchester County, N.S., is known for the active volunteerism of its residents. For Ross, who moved there in 2011, it was an easy fit. The community, and the whole province, in fact, has benefited enormously from Ross’s lifelong passion for music.
“Not long after moving to Brookfield I became music director at Middle Stewiacke United Church,” Ross explains. “The church had both a children’s and an adult choir and the talent among the young people was incredible.” Having formed and played in bands while a college student in Fredericton, N.B., it was an easy progression; he gathered a handful of bright young talents and formed a band that soon became known as Before Monday. “I may have ruffled a few feathers,” Ross laughs. Perhaps expecting another kind of band, church officials were surprised when potential band members arrived with drums and guitars. But concerns evaporated quickly as Before Monday became local stars; they’ve recorded four albums, have hundreds of videos on Facebook and they’re a headlining draw for fundraising events across the province. Over the past 10 years, the band, which has a repertoire of 1500 songs that include pop, new and old country, 50’s doo wop and new and traditional hymns, has raised many thousands of dollars for provincial non-profit organizations.
As band members leave the community for university or other pursuits, Ross, who has taught music along the way, trains new members. And he performs with them as well, singing harmonies and back-up with the band. Born and raised near Miramichi, N.B., Ross was something of a musical prodigy. He laughs when asked if he came from a musical family. “They were totally into sports,” he says. His father bought him a piano at 11 and, in addition to piano, he taught himself guitar, banjo and mandolin. He became organist at his church when he was twelve. Today, Ross plays in three bands, including the well-known Chillin’ Sound, in addition to performing with Before Monday. He is married with three children, two of whom have performed with the band.
Music may not have been a family trait, but volunteerism was; his father, he says, was deeply involved in the community when he was growing up. “I think I resented that when I was a kid,” he laughs. “But look at me now.” Ross is chairman of Brookfield’s very active Homecoming Committee in addition to overseeing Before Monday with its powerful fundraising. Receiving the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pin surprised Ross; he didn’t realize that people in his community had brought his name forward to Dr. Stephen Ellis, his regional MP, who presented him with the award at a presentation ceremony on May 14, 2022. Asked what drives him, Ross has a clear answer. “At work, I love seeing things run smoothly and efficiently and helping King’s evolve with the times. In my community work, I’m doing that for my family so that they have a great place to live and grow up. That I can do that through music makes it all the more satisfying.”