AABC SALUTES P.K. PAGE
November 23, 1916-January 14, 2010
THE PLANET EARTH
It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet,
has to be ironed, the sea in its whiteness;
and the hands keep on moving,
smoothing the holy surfaces.
—– In Praise of Ironing by Pablo Neruda
It has to be loved the way a laundress loves her linens,
the way she moves her hands caressing the fine muslins
knowing their warp and woof,
like a lover coaxing, or a mother praising.
It has to be loved as if it were embroidered
with flowers and birds and two joined hearts upon it.
It has to be stretched and stroked.
It has to be celebrated.
O this great beloved world and all the creatures in it.
It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet.
The trees must be washed, and the grasses and mosses.
They have to be polished as if made of green brass.
The rivers and little streams with their hidden cresses
and pale-coloured pebbles
and their fool’s gold
must be washed and starched or shined into brightness,
the sheets of lake water
smoothed with the hand
and the foam of the oceans pressed into neatness.
It has to be ironed, the sea in its whiteness.
and pleated and goffered, the flower-blue sea
the protean, wine-dark, grey, green, sea
with its metres of satin and bolts of brocade.
And sky – such an 0! overhead – night and day
must be burnished and rubbed
by hands that are loving
so the blue blazons forth
and the stars keep on shining
within and above
and the hands keep on moving.
It has to be made bright, the skin of this planet
till it shines in the sun like gold leaf.
Archangels then will attend to its metals
and polish the rods of its rain.
Seraphim will stop singing hosannas
to shower it with blessings and blisses and praises
and, newly in love,
we must draw it and paint it
our pencils and brushes and loving caresses
smoothing the holy surfaces.
© 1994 P.K. Page
AABC SALUTES Yannick Nézet-Séguin
The 24-year-old conductor from Montreal has scored a big success in his Metropolitan Opera debut conducting a seering new production of “Carmen”. The New York Times wrote: “Much of the evening’s success is due to the inspired conducting of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, a young French-Canadian making his Met debut. From the whirlwind pace of the opening measures, Nézet-Séguin displays a rare sureness of touch and an ability to shape the lyrical and dramatic elements of the score into a unified whole.”
Canadians are in the arts everywhere. You can hardly count the number of Canadian opera singers on the stages of opera houses around the world. Nézet-Séguin is one of a breed of young conductors who are changing the face of classical music.
AABC SALUTES DAWSON CREEK
Dawson Creek has one of the most active arts communities in the province. In addition to two existing performing arts facilities (Unchagah Hall, 630 seats; EnCana Events Centre, 6000 seats), the city expects construction to begin this summer on the Calvin Kruk Centre for the Arts, a restoration and reconstruction of the heritage post office building, described as “Frank Lloyd Wright style.” The new arts centre is planned to be multi-purpose and will include both exhibition and performing spaces.
Calvin Kruk was mayor of Dawson Creek from 2005 until his untimely death in 2008. Starting as a city councillor in 1999, he was known as a visionary and community-oriented leader. He moved to Dawson Creek in 1990 to take on the role of manager of the Kiwanis Performing Art Centre, a facility providing instruction in music, dance, and community arts projects. The Centre also contains an art gallery, a small performance space, and is the home of the Kiwanis Kids Choir, the Vocaleeze Ladies Choir, and the Kiwanis Community Band. Calvin Kruk instigated the campaign to restructure the historic government building into the new performing arts centre, which will provide enhanced facilities for the existing Kiwanis Centre. Calvin Kruk was also a respected artist in his own right.
Work on the Calvin Kruk Centre for the Arts will begin this summer. Design is by Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden, a well-known Vancouver architectural firm (Roundhouse, CBC addition, Shadbolt Centre, Richmond City Hall, Lonsdale Quay Market, etc.) . While more than two-thirds of the cost ($6.4 million) have been secured from federal and provincial government sources and $250,000 has been contributed by EnCana and $150,000 from Shell Canada, a fund-raising campaign is underway to raise the remainder. Given the high level of support for the arts in the city and the abiding love for Calvin Kruk, success seems guaranteed.
Many Vancouver singers and musicians will remember the annual opera productions created and lead by Rotraud Lopp and her husband Erich. They created more than 35 annual productions of full-length operas until her retirement in 2007. Ms. Lopp was also the inspiration for the Dawson Creek Symphonette and Choir, both of which participated in the operas. She conducted all performances, which were held in the Unchagah Hall, known for excellent acoustics.
Dawson Creek is justly proud of one of its most famous native sons Ben Heppner. The city has honoured the internationally renowned helden tenor by naming a street after him. In return, Heppner remains loyal to his origins in the community.
On the political side, Dawson Creek has been stood firmly on the right for many years. As a community that has benefitted enormously from developments in the petroleum and gas industries, this is not surprising. It’s easy to see that this particular stance has resulted in a number of benefits for the town. Dawson Creek is represented in Parliament by Jay Hill (Prince George-Peace River), Government House Leader. He was first elected as a member of the Reform Party (1993-2000), Canadian Alliance (200-2003) and Conservative (2003-present), consistently winning a large majority of votes. In the provincial legislature, the city is represented by Hon. Blair Lekstrom (Peace River South), Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.