Our First Annual Chrismakkuh Celebration Dinner!

A few weeks ago, staff and friends of the Vancouver Recital Society got together for our very first Annual Chrismakkuh Celebration Dinner!  We are a typically Canadian mix of Christians, Jews, Atheists, and (as I like to describe myself) a … Read more…

Is There A Violin In The House?

Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang and pianist Michail Lifits delivered an impassioned, stunningly beautiful recital of Mendelssohn, Fauré, Mozart and Prokofiev at the Vancouver Playhouse on Sunday afternoon for the Vancouver Recital Society Audiences were mesmerized by the lyric Mendelssohn that … Read more…

A Life-Long Love Affair

It was the summer of 1985. I was their very first Intern, sitting around a kitchen table with Leila, Leon and Leyla (as in Leila and Leon Getz and Leyla Sacks), the trio that launched the Vancouver Recital Society (VRS), … Read more…

Can You Spare A Life Saver?

lifesaversLike the rainbow of flavors offered up in a single roll of Life Savers, kids are not all the same.

Some kids are not born athletes. They’re too small for sports, or too large, or just don’t fit in. Others have obstacles thrown in their way by adults who prey on the weak, shattering youthful confidence. For these children, the age-old ritual of choosing up teams itself can be humiliating for those always picked last.

But all kids want to be part of something bigger than themselves, to belong. All kids want to make a contribution, to believe they are good at something, to feel good about themselves, to not feel useless.

And every single child is inherently creative – it’s what makes us human, the divine spark that elevates and animates us.

If you will imagine for a second that a school is like a passenger liner proudly carrying its precious cargo into the future, then the children that can’t play competitive sports, the kids that don’t fit in, the kids that are bullied and ostracized, those wrestling with existential challenges, are like a passenger that has fallen overboard, drifting silently away, ever further into the night.

1179935_lifesaversFor the children falling further and further behind, left to navigate stormy seas on their own, the arts can act like life preservers, a path to something better, a way back to the light, and, to stretch this metaphor further, can serve as a lifeline back to the mother ship heading off oblivious without them into the future.

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Coming Out!

Harvey Milk
Harvey Milk

I came out 35 years ago in January, 1978, six months before Harvey Milk’s infamous rallying cry:

Gay brothers and sisters,… You must come out. Come out… to your parents… I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives… come out to your friends… if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors… to your fellow workers… to the people who work where you eat and shop… come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene.

I was 21 years old at the time, studying violin at UVic and playing in the Victoria Symphony to help pay my way. The December before, Canadian pianist William Tritt came to perform with the orchestra as soloist. He was a bit older, but beautiful, with such soft eyes, so fun, so cynical and so smart — I fell head over heels in love with him, showering him with attention and books and gifts I couldn’t afford.

51K+qkqdlkLTo my eternal gratitude, he didn’t take advantage of me, refusing my clumsy sexual advances, but stayed on in the city for two weeks after the concerts so we could spend time together talking about the books I made him read, arguing about our favorite artists, sharing many beers and meals and the intoxicating romance of it all.

I was completely wrong for Bill. He was attracted to much darker, more dangerous encounters. I was all boyish, youthful beauty — the opposite of what turned him on. Still, the love he kindled in me was shared. I’ve never been so depressed as when he left Victoria to return home. It seemed so cruel, no sooner having found Love than it abandoned me!

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An Address To City Council on Civic Status for Pride & Removal of the Viaducts

Madam Chair, Mr. Mayor, Councillors, Dr. Ballem, City staff and honored guests, my name is Sean Bickerton and I appear before you as a member of the Board of Directors of the False Creek Residents Association, although my remarks here … Read more…

Top Ten Tips To Mastering The Twitterverse And Social Media

How to Win Friends and Influence People!

1936 Edition of Carnegie's Classic Tome
1936 Edition of Carnegie’s Classic Tome

How is it, 76 years after Dale Carnegie taught us How to Win Friends and Influence People in the first best-selling self-help book ever published, that we’re more baffled today than ever?

Type “How do I get people to like me” into Google and you’ll get links to five billion listings, nearly one for every person on the planet! Typing “How do I get people to follow me on Twitter?” produces two billion results. Type “If You’re Not online …” and Google will finish the sentence for you by adding the words “you don’t exist…,” producing 300,000,000 links.

For musicians and performing artists, the question is more than a matter of solipsistic, existential philosophy though, it’s a matter of survival.

So if you’re a performing artist wondering how to get someone to like your Facebook page, or just one of the two billion people wondering how to get people to follow you on Twitter, here are our …

Top Ten Tips To Mastering The Twitterverse And Social Media

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Barbara Smith Conrad: Grace And Fire!

Barbara Smith Conrad‘s career would be remarkable enough, having sung so many of the major roles with legendary conductors in all of the great opera houses around the globe, her artistry honored by both Presidents and Popes. But it is … Read more…

Introducing BramwellTovey.com!

“He is the very model of a modern orchestral maestro… Not only is he a supremely gifted conductor and music director, a much published composer, a pianist (classical and jazz) and a dreamer of big projects, he is also the … Read more…

Vancouver Website System Used By Global, Grammy Award-winning Clientele!

A Vancouver team’s dynamic website system is used by an internationally-renowned, performing arts clientele that includes Grammy Award-winning artists like the Emerson String Quartet, Maestro Bramwell Tovey and Soprano Ana María Martínez; the official PR representatives of the Metropolitan Opera – Shuman … Read more…