Dr. Doug Mackey

Coldbrook, NS

A Musical Connection

Dr. Doug Mackey stands at the front of a crowded room. Leading a group of nearly 100 people, he asks them all to open their mouths a little wider, look straight ahead and breathe deeply. Then suddenly, a piano begins to play and the group begins to sing in unison. Although it’s a drastic change of scenery from his day job, there’s no shortage of wide, bright smiles in the room when he finishes directing a vocal exercise.

During the week, Dr. Mackey is a practicing family dentist in Coldbrook, Nova Scotia. On the weekends, he’s a volunteer vocal coach and musical arranger for the St. Joseph’s Stage Prophets – a local community theatre group located in Kentville, N.S. Dr. Mackey has been involved with the group for eleven years, gladly lending his own talents in any way that he can.

“I’ve been a music director, actor, vocal coach, stage hand and musical arranger,” says Dr. Mackey. “You name it, I’ve done it. I’m just happy to help.”

Rooted in music

Music and theatre have always been part of Dr. Mackey’s life. Originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland, he recalls starting early in grade school, participating in musical ensembles and theatre productions all the way through high school to university.

Dr. Mackey went on to complete Bachelors of Music and Education at Memorial University (MUN) before taking his undergraduate degree in science at Dalhousie University (DAL) in 1983 and his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) also at DAL in 1999. Now residing in the Tupper Lake area of N.S., Dr. Mackey enjoys using his musical knowledge as a way to connect with and inspire his community members.

A small project with a bigger purpose

What started off as a small, grade nine confirmation class project over 14 years ago has quickly grown into an annual, large scale production that encompasses an array of talents and skills in the surrounding areas.

“Since starting in 2002, the Stage Prophets group has welcomed the broader community. We engage a wide diversity of community members,” says Dr. Mackey. “We’ve had casts up to over 100 people, ranging in all ages and capabilities from three years of age to people well into their 80’s.”

It’s the range of experience and talent coming forward that Dr. Mackey is most impressed by, stating that it requires a lot of dedication and work leading up to the opening night. “It really brings people together. Cast members have to commit a lot of their time to it,” he said. “It’s special and has been so well received by the surrounding towns because it showcases and supports unknown talents, many of which are people that we may work with or just see every day. It’s really something.”

Dr. Mackey says his role changes every year depending on the production, the cast size, and need for volunteers. This year as vocal director, he spends his time playing music and working with cast members one-on-one, in smaller groups, and in large groups as he helps them prepare their voices for opening night.

Mary Hanneman, Director of Stage Prophets, has worked with Dr. Mackey for 12 years. Whether it’s as musical director or stage member, Mrs. Hanneman describes Dr. Mackey’s energy and dedication as optimistic, enthusiastic, and mostly importantly, infectious.

“He always approaches a new task with such encouragement,” she says.

“Dr. Mackey truly understands the importance of getting involved in his community and does his best to make a positive impact. He’s continuously inspiring people around him.”

This May, the cast will be performing the very popular, Anne and Gilbert – the sequel to Anne of Green Gables. Previous productions include the Sound of Music, Peter Pan, Les Miserables, Mary Poppins, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat –to name a few.

Giving it back

Although Dr. Mackey enjoys the musical and theatrical creativity associated with Stage Prophets, he says it’s the personal accomplishments he sees in each and every person involved in the play whether they are a cast member, stage hand, choreographer, or costume designer.

“Every year I see people overcome fears and succeed in their goals. Something they never thought they could do before,” said Dr. Mackey. “Like getting in front of several hundred people and singing. It’s an incredible feeling to be part of it.”

As a dentist who’s involved in his community, Dr. Mackey feels that he’s been able to build a strong understanding and rapport not only with his patients, but people who live within the surround areas. He encourages everyone to find a niche, interest, or talent and explore it.

“I feel that I have something I can give,” he says. “I get a lot of satisfaction giving my time to my community and being part of it. I hope by combining my love for music, where I live, and my profession that I can continue to do that for a long time.”