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Gryphon Gallery: Colin Bonneau

Stuart Brambley, School Archivist
Strongest organist in the world? 
Colin Bonneau attended Glenlyon Norfolk School (Glenlyon Preparatory School) from 1956 to 1960, graduating from Victoria High School in 1965. He left the University of Victoria with a BMus. and Dip. Ed. and taught in a number of schools between 1974 and 2011. During these years from 1965, he has been a church organist, currently serving as Director of Music at St. David’s United Church in Leduc, Alberta. 

“I’ve been a church musician for over 50 years. I pride myself on the fact that I never play a verse the same in church; I always play it differently, decorate it, that sort of thing. I do a lot of jazz and blues in my playing, too. I like improvisation—I have my own arrangements to some of the standard hymns,” he said. 
Besides being a proficient jazz pianist, trombone and bugle player—he summoned guests on his trumpet to dinner at Glenlyon’s 60 Anniversary—he is also a competitive powerlifter, having broken dozens of age group world records, and could very well be the world’s strongest church musician. He is undoubtedly a powerlifting legend!

Power-lifting is a fun hobby that he started at age 50. ​​In 1998, when he was 51 years old, Colin entered a local "strong man" competition and shortly after, broke his first Canadian record. 

“I then got my first world record in Luxembourg. It was pretty cool, just a great feeling. I beat a record that had been held for about 14 years. They put the Canadian flag up and played O Canada. It doesn’t get any better than that. It’s fun to know that, for your age, you’re one of the strongest people in the world,” he said. 

This is the twenty-first instalment of a series of articles entitled "Gryphon Gallery” created by our School Archivist that provides snapshots that celebrate the achievements of a variety of alumni and staff from throughout the history of GNS.

Glenlyon Norfolk School

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We wish to acknowledge and respect the Lekwungen-Speaking Peoples on whose traditional territory we stand, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and Wsáneć Peoples whose historical relationships with the land, where we live, work, play and learn, continue to this day.