An opinion piece in The Morning Star has inspired a local pianist and music teacher to reach out to those wanting to play or just enjoy music in a non-judgemental atmosphere.
Arne Sahlen said Morning Star reporter Cara Brady’s column, A Reasonable Ear, which appeared in the opinion section of the paper May 17, affected him deeply. In the piece, Brady told of her lifelong wound from “tone deaf” childhood labels and music school failure.
“Tone deafness is mainly a myth,” said Sahlen. “It may affect which instrument, or voice, you choose to study, but the world’s zillion-plus pianists never make a pitch. If it’s out of tune, we phone somebody. I applaud Cara for facing down her demons with the help of caring teacher Jim Miles.”
Sahlen and his duet partner, local pianist Hannah Jukes, are inviting all musicians and music supporters of all styles, affiliations, backgrounds and experience levels for a casual talk about community building. Their new group, Music Vision Vernon, will gather for the first time Sunday at CentreStage in the Okanagan Centre for Spiritual Living (OCSL).
Both hope to set up a festive and all-inclusive music celebration in the near future.
“We welcome all ideas for an event or series of events,” said Jukes. “Early, advanced, young, adult, classical and contemporary – all players and singers will be welcome in a relaxed, non-competitive environment.”
Like sports, music has a wide range of choices to suit and enhance differing skills and interests.
Although Sahlen’s main training is in the classical realm, he happily explores jazz, blues, audio tech and many other styles – and teaches a full range from exam-based music to composing and Internet audiotech at the Vernon Community Music School.
The OCSL also has a focus on music and community in its general mandate.
“Our doors are open as a gathering place for community concerts, teacher recitals, open-mic nights and other musical events,” said Jukes, who is the centre’s music director.
Sahlen became involved with the OCSL last year when promoting the project that brought the Knabe grand piano to the CentreStage. Donated by the Larman family, it joins the sound and stage equipment of this intimate 70-seat performance venue.
Future Music Vision Vernon activities might include team and esteem building for young people, including youth at risk and others whose music might pave the way to great things; gatherings for music teachers; arts advocacy; a recovery room, where music-seekers like Brady, wounded by past judgments, might enjoy mutual support and more, said Sahlen.
The hope is that Music Vision Vernon will have a place for every person who wants to make music, added Jukes.
Sunday’s discussion at the CentreStage in the OCSL, 2913-29th Ave., behind the Towne Theatre, starts at 3:30 p.m. Varied music, plus goodies and a discussion, will fill the 90-minute session. For more details or to register your interest, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Jukes at 250-549-9135.