J. Henri Gaudet
Henri Gaudet was a true hero here in the community of Tignish. Henri was born in 1932 and he was the third child of one of the original Acadian families from Tignish. He had many accomplishments throughout his life and a drive for his passions that could inspire anyone.
Even though Henri originally left his studies at school in grade 7, one of the sisters convinced him that going back was the right thing to do. For Henri, this was certainly the right decision. Shortly after school in Tignish he won a scholarship to study at “College Classique” followed by a scholarship to study in Montreal. Henri then graduated from St. Dunstan’s University in Charlottetown , joined the Naval Reserve, and tried out a possible religious vocation shortly after.
While studying in Le Mans, France Henri discovered his true passions which include history, the arts, and a love for classical organ music. From this point in time Henri dedicated himself to these things. He became a well-known classical organist who would amaze everyone with his talent. Next he went back to Canada and taught in British Columbia, then in Prince Edward Island for a total of thirty years! During this time and especially afterwards Henri committed himself and enjoyed his volunteer work. He volunteered as an organist, genealogist, amitiquarian, historian, and a writer.
Henri won many awards for all of his accomplishments and volunteer hours. Some of these awards include a total of three awards from the Prince Edward Island and Heritage Foundation, the Tignish Citizen award in 1988, the Prix Marc Les Carbot (Volunteer work) in 1991, the 2000 order of Prince Edward Island and the order of Canada in 2002.
Henri showed his true fame as a musician when the historical St. Simon and St. Jude Tignish organ got restored in 1970. Summer recitals by Henri followed the restoration and are still performed today. He then founded and ran the Tignish Museum, now known as the Tignish Interpretive Centre, and he collected and safely stored Alma Buote’s collection.
One of Henri’s most amazing accomplishments and true passion was writing. Henri published a total of two books and many articles; one on the history of the organ and church music (mostly from Tignish), and the amazing book known as “Photo Historica,” which is a large collection of photos and commentary from Tignish.
In the year 2001 Henri was working on a book about the Gaudet’s, which would have followed from the 16th century in France all the way to present day. However, sadly Henri Gaudet passed away that year without completing his work. Henri was a beloved man that did so much for his community and its people. He will always be remembered and thanks to him the true history of our wonderful community lives on through his work.