Monday, December 5, 2011

Grand Opening Celebration of the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts

The night finally arrived after years of planning.  The Grand Opening of the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts at Holy Trinity Catholic High School. I was looking forward to the night for many reasons so when I arrived with my special guest for the night, Marilyn Sheptycki; President of Alberta School Councils' Association,  I couldn't help but smile.  The spotlights were flashing in the sky and red carpet was laid out before us as we made our way through the paparazzi and into the school.  I was greeted by another friend of mine who had been patiently waiting for me in the lobby. There was a half hour to comfortably visit before we were ushered by the principal, Lucy Moore, into the theatre for speeches and much anticipated musical entertainment from our homegrown talent.

We were not disappointed.  It was a magical evening wrapped in a celebration of
community partnerships and musical excellence. The pianist, Simon-Marc De Freitas started off the evening.  He almost didn't make it as his flight was turned around because of windy weather, but in true Fort McMurray form he jumped in his car and drove up to be there that evening causing parental concern from the Theatre Manager, Loraine Humphrey.  "Be careful on the road.  Don't text and drive, but let me know when you arrive safely."   Everything in it's place and all artists safely in the city, the audience was treated to world-class performances from Simon-Marc De Freitas, Sarah Neiman, Cara Brown, Alexandra Price, Peter Ellis, and Kimerica and Michael Parr.  I sat with my friends in the back of theatre to get the full acoustic experience and was thrilled to hear operatic pieces from Strauss and Offenbach.  At times I closed my eyes and  let the music flow over me. And at more than one point I had to wipe a tear from my eye especially during the operatic performances of Cara Brown.
Simon-Marc De Freitas, Sarah Neiman and Cara Brown
Then it was time for two big announcements. First up was TEDx. In case you are unaware, TEDx was created in the spirit of TED's mission, "ideas worth spreading." The program was designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. Mark you calendars because there will be the very first TEDx conference,  in Fort McMurray on March 22nd, 2012.

Now what could be better than TEDx coming to Fort McMurray you might ask yourself.  Well....that would be announcement two for the evening.....The MET is coming !  "Live from the Met", or live HD broadcasts of opera from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City will be coming to to Fort McMurray and will be at the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts at Holy Trinity Catholic High School in the spring.  I am looking forward to attending every one of the events. 

I am thrilled to see the arts promoted through education.  Years of research show that it's closely linked to almost everything that we say we want for our children and demand from our schools: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity. The researchers found that the visual arts classes do have broad benefits. “Students who study the arts seriously are taught to see better, to envision, to persist, to be playful and learn from mistakes, to make critical judgments and justify such judgments,” the authors conclude. When you think of education you are really thinking of three outcomes for the students. We are providing quality education for their future. We are preparing them to be citizens. And we are teaching them to be human beings who can enjoy the deeper forms of beauty.
I am thankful for all the people who helped make this project a reality for our community.  The partnerships between Suncor, Fort McMurray Catholic Board of Education and Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has done much to further  performing arts and enrich our cultural opportunities within the city. I look forward to attending many events in the newly opened Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts at Holy Trinity Catholic High School.

No comments:

Post a Comment