Entertainers Pat Willbond and David MacDonald will perform
‘Equal Rights for All Human Beings’
By Mike Mastromatteo
Two Ottawa-area entertainers promise to add more zest to the March for Life 2000 rally in the nation’s capital May 10-11.
Pat Willbond and David MacDonald are two veteran musicians who for the last several years have put their singing and performing talents to use for pro-life and Christian aims.
The theme for this third annual March for Life rally is “Equal Rights for All Human Beings.” Willbond and MacDonald have written a special song by that name, to be performed several times during the rally. It will be released on CD later this month. Both performers have attended previous March for Life events in Ottawa. Willbond sang the national anthem and performed with MacDonald last year’s march.
While the final agenda for this year’s rally has not been finalized, Willbond and MacDonald hope to make a significant impact with their music. “We’re ready to rock Parliament Hill,” Willbond told The Interim March 29. The pair hopes to perform the song at an opening night banquet, at a special youth rally, and during the march to Parliament Hill.
Willbond, a supply manager for the Department of National Defence, has performed in the Ottawa area for more than 30 years. He describes himself as a “folk and retro-rocker,” with a special fondness for the guitar and harmonica.
MacDonald, meanwhile, has had a much deeper involvement in the entertainment industry. He debuted on the Broadway stage at age 21, and went on to perform in film, television, commercials, and live theatre. One of the highlights of his career was a tour with the highly successful musical, Cats.
In addition to their performing talent, Willbond and MacDonald inspire pro-family Canadians with their personal experiences on the road to their right-to-life beliefs. Like many secular performers, they drifted away from their religious faith and displayed a disregard for the sanctity of unborn human life.
“My awakening came at the age of 25 and I haven’t looked back since,” Willbond said in a highly personal interview. “I’m no saint. I’m responsible for the killing of two unborn babies before coming to my senses and doing the complete turn around. I pray everyday for the unborn and ask the Lord and the saints for the wisdom, the courage and the strength to do what is best.”
MacDonald’s embrace of the pro-life attitude is even more dramatic. At the height of his career, he damaged his vocal chords and was unable to speak for nearly three years. That period enabled MacDonald to reflect on his life, particularly his role in procuring two abortions for his former girlfriend.
“Not long after the abortions, my life started to fall apart,” MacDonald said. “Emotionally I started to come unglued. I was not involved in any religion at that time and there were no external factors that brought on this feeling of guilt. From that moment on, I knew that what I had done was murder.
“In 1988, I turned my life over to Jesus. I have been saying the Rosary daily since 1991. In 1995, I became a Catholic and began singing at masses. My voice slowly returned. Three years later, while on a retreat, a song came into my heart for the first time in over 10 years. It was a celebration of God’s love and forgiveness.”
MacDonald eventually went on to record a CD of contemporary Christian music. He also turned his back on secular music, vowing instead to devote his musical gifts in support of Christian and pro-life aims.
“It’s the least I can do in return for the grace and forgiveness God has shown me,” MacDonald added. “I will stand up anywhere, any time and tell my testimony to anyone who may find it useful.”
Willbond and MacDonald said the Equal Rights for All song includes a four-line chorus that they hope will become a pro-life anthem in Canada. “We think the most important work we can do on earth is that we care for each other,” Willbond said. “And that includes the most vulnerable among us.”
Karen Murawsky, director of Campaign Life Coalition’s public affairs office in Ottawa, said Willbond and MacDonald bring a sense of joy to pro-life gatherings. “That was what we were looking for in asking them to be part of the march,” she said.
Murawsky said one of the goals of rally organizers is to have all participants learn the chorus of the Equal Rights for All song in advance of the march. “This is a song that really sticks in your mind, and we’re hoping that everyone gets a chance to listen to it and reflect on its message.”