My mighty mother, of whom I shall say a little more at the end of this farewell, had a story she loved to tell about how as a fledgling activist in the 1940s she proved her credentials to the assembled members of the South African Communist Party cell of which her then boyfriend was a member, by announcing her passion for the music of Shostakovich; then later, when she tired of the aforementioned boyfriend (and his politics), she greatly simplified her exit from the relationship by confiding to the scandalized cohort her abiding love for the symphonies of Tchaikovsky.
The WholeNote’s annual Blue Pages are always a nice reminder of how diverse the musical tastes of our community are and how much opportunity there is in a relatively peacable land to indulge one’s own musical tastes without having to deny anyone else theirs. It is a relief when matters of taste don’t have to be a matter of life and death. Enjoy the read, and may you find something delightfully unexpected (or unexpectedly delightful) in the course of it.
What’s in a Name? The recent opening of the Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre has given a dozen other organizations the same opportunity as the Regent Park School of Music to take big steps forward. The organization Artscape, long an advocate for artists in the community, should take a bow for somehow harnessing the energies of developers and City departments to a common purpose. And beyond that, it’s no small talent to turn common purpose into a viable business plan. This is where commodities such as “naming rights” come into the picture, no less here than for the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, or the O’Keefe/Hummingbird/Sony Centre. That being said, the announcement, right as we were getting ready to go to press, that the Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre was henceforth to be known as the “Daniels Spectrum” came as a bit of a jolt. It is hard to watch community history and the idea of art and culture casually obliterated like that. But even if Daniels, the major developer of the new Regent Park, had to plaster their name on this building along with all the others, why Spectrum? To any good hockey loving Torontonian “I’m off to the Spectrum” sounds like you’re going to watch a road game in Philadelphia. Even calling it the Daniels Arts and Cultural Centre would have been better, eh? “I’m off to the ACC” means something in this town.
Minor cavil aside, the building is going to be a real asset, for the performance spaces it includes and for the arts and community organizations it will house well. Thanks to the staff of Regent Park School of Music for helping us capture the story and thanks to RSM students Dillon, Megan, Ryan and William Chan; Siddartha Kundu; Boris, Sima and Yakov Tarnopolski; and Alex, Lilly and Sally Twin, for helping make the story a reality by appearing in our cover photo.
I said I would return to the subject of my mighty mother at the end of this, and here we are. Ina Perlman’s life’s work, two continents away, during the darkest days of South African apartheid, was with the hungry and the homeless and the dispossessed, first in the tens, then hundreds, then thousands and more. She’d have been furious at being mentioned publically like this. But she’d have liked the company she is keeping in this particular issue of the magazine. Because she understood the idea of small beginnings, things like The WholeNote Blue Pages, like the Regent Park School of Music.
Music cannot feed the body. But it can make a person hopeful enough to want to eat.
Saturday October 20, 2pm: Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre. Space is the Place. Community celebration of music and dance. Featuring Hymn to Universe, a dance work by B. Coleman. Sun Ra Arkestra; students from Regent Park School of Music; Bill Coleman, choreographer. 585 Dundas St. E. 416-703-5479. Free; community gathering to follow. Be there.