No, I did not go to the Bryan Adams concert at Mile One Stadium on Friday. No, I did not go to the Steve Dawson concert at the LSPU Hall yesterday evening. Yes, I was at the Coffee House Fundraiser at the Gower Street United Church. And finally, yes I will be at the fundraising concert tonight for the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble. If I can get two good things done at once and still have fun, that's the way I roll. Every time I choose to spend money I ask myself, "is this the best choice?"
Not that we have to always spend money is our fair city of St. John's to enjoy quality art of all manner of descriptions. The music crawls that occurred yesterday afternoon as part of the Lawnya Vawnya festival are just one fine example. I held a door yesterday for a man toting a double bass and overheard the conversation he was having with a musician colleague. I gathered the bass player was visiting and the other chap was a local. "Things are different here," the bassist, said, "It's the quality." "Oh, that's because we all go to each other's concerts here" was the explanation his host offered. This weekend the musical offerings are so rich that you would be excused if you complained of musical indigestion.
And to think, this came on the heels of Independent Record Store Day that fell on last weekend. So, we were treated to more free concerts at Fred's Record Store in downtown, St. John's.
The concert I attended last evening featured nine acts who had all generously donated their talents in support of the Louis Jones-Bernard & Riley Anderson-Fowlow Memorial Scholarship Fund. I know it did us all good to be able to participate in something productive after the tragic death of these two young men. I am a staunch believer in both the professionalism of art and in art-for-art's sake. However, I would be foolish not to acknowledge the healing power of art both in the lives of individuals and the community.
It can happen on the most basic of levels. One grueling morning dragging ourselves through the Toronto airport during the Christmas rush just after dawn my then seven year old son was stopped by security. It was on account of the instrument he had surrendered to the x-ray machine. Andrew explained it was a viola. The technician did not know what that was. Andrew offered to demonstrate, to play. And in a matter of seconds the airport security area was filled with a heart felt rendition of Beethoven's Ode to Joy. Tears rolled down the cheeks of the Air Canada lady, applause from the attentive public was spontaneous. The jittery, cranky crowd was transformed. I looked down at my son (I could still do that back then) and said, "And that Andrew is why we need music."