THE OLYMPICS ARE OVER
Now that the summer Olympic games in London are over, and the world has been astonished by athletic accomplishment and by the stunning opening and closing ceremonies, we can reflect on the staggering cost of this event, the parade of commercial sponsorships, and the array of competitive events now considered to be of Olympic status. We also acknowledge and appreciate the dedication and work that the young athletes have devoted to their proud participation in these events. The medal winners, now heading home, can go on to coaching, lucrative product endorsements, cash prizes from governments, and the nationalistic adulation of their public.
Now, we at AABC want to think about the artists—the young Canadian artists—who continue to speak to the world about the heart and soul of this country and of humanity in the largest sense. They do not compete for medals or Olympic glory, but they work as hard as any athlete to develop and maintain their talent and creativity. And this dedication must continue over a lifetime.
We have said: Train an athlete and you will have a few medals and a line of product endorsements; train an artist and you will have a lifetime of accomplishment. Who do we want to hold up as models for our young people?
Becoming an Olympic athlete requires an enormous amount of personal sacrifice as well as the support of family, government, and commercial interests. Becoming an artist requires a similar level of effort and practice, but Government and commercial support are hard to come by. Shouldn’t our artists receive the same support and public acknowledgement as our athletes?
Here are two examples:
Jan Lisiecki, now 17 years old, emerged as a pianistic genius at an early age. Growing up in Calgary, he had the great good fortune of having highly supportive parents, who, at the same time, did not push or force him to develop his talent. He was, and is, clearly driven by an intense love of music and of the piano. At his young age, he now has an international concert career and a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophone. Nevertheless, he remains a modest and intelligent young man still pursuing a university education in Calgary. His first CD with Deutsche Grammophone is of two Mozart piano concertos, Nos. 20 and 21. Highly recommended. And this is just the beginning. We estimate that his career will continue at this level for another 50 or 60 years.
Jesse DeCoste, 18, is an actor living in New Westminster, BC. He was recently accepted as one of the 28 (out of 4,000) applicants to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, giving him the opportunity to receive training at the most prestigious school of theatre in the English-speaking world. Here’s the catch, though: In order to attend for just the first year, Jesse will have to pay the international tuition fee of around $25,000 as well as even modest living expenses in London of around $15,000. To raise this money, he has to embark on the equivalent of a bake sale. He hopes to get student and bank loans for around half of the needed funds, but for the rest, he is appealing to us, to the public and to potential sponsors. No gold medals here, but we can look forward to 60 or more years of his future career. Please read more by following the link above and this one of a CBC interview.
The artistic talent in this country continues to astound and impress the world. Send us the stories of the young and promising artists that you know and want to celebrate.