ArtsConnect 40th Anniversary
CJSF volunteer Jay Peachy, attended the celebration of the Tri- Cities umbrella arts organization Arts Connect at the Terry Fox Theatre on November 5th, here is what he had to say about the celebration...
Have I missed 40 Years of Hidden Gems? I was recently invited to the ArtsConnect 40th Anniversary celebration last week. I had pretty low expectations; my thinking was that it would be a showcase of children’s recitals. Not that there is anything wrong with that. However, I am one of those people that mistakenly believed local quality culture exists only downtown. I must say that I was humbled, embarrassed and amazingly inspired. A show that seemed to endure major traffic on the Lougheed highway, illness of performers and horrible weather, was a rich but yet small sample of the amazing talent that exists right in our community.
The concert opened up with the Coastal Sound Youth Choir. With a group of over 50 vocalists, their presence was captivating. Their short performance included African and Brazilian native songs with accompanying dance. However, they capped of their set with a truly emotional arrangement of U2’s With or Without You. As the Choir made their way into the aisles and their beautiful voices surrounded us, there were tears in the audience as they absorbed the energy and inspiration.
Throughout the evening there was a variety of performances of young local talent, including the beautiful vocals of Ashley Young and the unbelievable grace on piano by 17 yr old Jovian Cheng. Internationally celebrated dancer Cori Caulfield and vocalist Dr. Gina Oh collaborated on a spellbinding performance. The evening ended soon after 9pm and left me wanting more.
I believe the shock that it was over so early had people not wanting to leave. I began to think what other hidden gems had I missed in the past 40 years? Well I’m not that old, but you get the point. I thought of all the hockey games I watched and TV I crouched in front of and wondered what the possibilities could have been? I still like sports, however, would I have been an artist earlier, tapped into my musical curiosity at a younger age, or accepted my creativity more openly, who knows? I guess what matters is, the present, and the recognition and respect of talent that exists and continues to grow in our community. With the Arts facing the pressure of massive cuts, I need the arts for inspiration as much as the arts need support and attendance from the community. It’s the hidden gems in my own backyard that I don’t intend to miss in the future; I’d suggest that you don’t either.