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Rotary Club of Thunder Bay - Port Arthur

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Navigator, March 1, 2011

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SCRIBE: Dave Silliman
Photos: Rima Cieslik


The meeting began at 12 noon with the singing of O Canada and the toast to the Queen and Canada. 

 For the meal reflection we took a moment to think of things for which to be thankful.

Cheryl Merlo , Alex Matiece and Vonnie Cheng were at the reception table.


Following a few minutes to visit at tables, “take five”, the visiting Rotarians and guests were introduced by Cheryl Merlo.  Guests included Clint Kuschak, TBSO and Assistant District Governor 5580 from Lakehead Club, K.S. Joseph, Fort William Club, Ryan Hsu, exchange student, Arthur Post, Chris Wilkinson, Emily Carr, Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and guests of David Legge, Fraser Coull, guest of Jeff Peat, Brian Arbour, guest of Vonnie Cheng,  Yoli Figueroa and Julie Tilbury, guests of Jackie Dojack. 



 Presentations and Announcements


Rene St. Jacques with a Paul Harris Fellow certificate and pin as a new Fellow.  the club is ranked #3 in the district with donations to the foundation.  Rene St. Jacques - "Paul Harris Fellow"  certificate

Rene St Jacques with Paul Harris Fellowship. Congratulations Renee !

Seppo Paivalainen announced a Finnish Music Celebration on March 13 at the Hilldale Lutheran Church with choir and 30 piece orchestra.  Seppo has tickets.



Papa Seppo announces a new concert opportunity


Vacation Dream Draw

 Cheryl Merlo gave an update on vacation draw tickets sold at the outdoor show on the weekend.  140 tickets were sold.

 Matthew Diegel gave announcements on Model United Nations and the exchange program.  We have an exchange student coming for next year from Brazil.  Needed are host families and a council.

Model United Nations and the Exchange Program

Matthew Diegel announced that we will have an exchange student coming for next year from Brazil.  Needed are host families and a council.


Guest Speaker Arthur Post

Guest Speaker Arthur Post was introduced by David Legge.  David mentioned a donation by Lee and Dave Silliman.



Maestro Arthur Post - Thunder Bay Symphony
Arthur Post, Jackie Dojack, Julie Tilbury and Dave Silliman- (see narrative)

David introduced Maestro Arthur Post, the Music Director of the Thunder Bay Symphony, director of the San Juan Symphony, graduate of Yale University and the Julliard school of Music Conservatory of Hamburg Germany and served as associated conductor with some very well known orchestras such as the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Israel Philharmonic the New York World Symphony has conduct a number of prominent orchestras. world wide.

Arthur enjoys all kinds of music and has conducted popular tours with artists such as James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.


TBSO is delighted to have Arthur in Thunder Bay.


Arthur Post:

TBSO is a very special orchestra having a lot to do with the qualities of the city and the spirit of togetherness.  Thunder Bay is unique for having such a symphony in a city its size.

Challenges come along with blessings.  TBSO is the “fuel efficient vehicle in the orchestra world”.  “Lean, mean and versatile.”

Great spirit of togetherness in the city.  Musicians get along well with administrations.  Artists in the past were taken advantage of by their managers.  This might still exist in some places.  He spoke of the Detroit Symphony having to cancel their season due to financial difficulties.  Because of the great spirit in Thunder Bay there is no difficult situation such as is in Detroit.  There is a spirit of working together.  The musicians do much in the community.  Much more than play their instruments.  They are heavily involved in fund raisers and they have many new ideas.  For an outsider that spirit is golden.  Arthur sees his job is supporting the musicians.

He then spoke about the structure of the symphony.  The season is 7 months long.  October to the end of April.  About half of the musicians are full year residents of Thunder Bay.  In the off season the musicians work elsewhere.  The living wage of the 7 month season is supplemented by teaching and other activities in other orchestras.

The week is very interesting doing up to nine services.  A service is a 2 and ½ hour concert or rehearsal to a maximum of 5 hours a day.  Physical drain and effort can not be sustained more than that.  Behind the service units exists intense practice and preparation which is something like a sports team.  On stage is game time.  Musicians come and go climbing career ladders.  so, on to better things to celebrate their talents.  “Musicians do what we do because we love it.”  All for the love of music,  a way is found to do music.

 All the way from serious music to rock music in a variety of settings including the auditorium and churches and halls.  They rely on grants from government and private and corporate giving. 

The symphony faces a number of challenges .  The first is funding; difficult to come by.  they have to support 35 members of the community.  It’s worth it but it is difficult.

Second challenge is the aging audience.  Historically it is people in their 50’s and 60’s that can support a symphony.  This group is the core of the supporters.  Times have changed and culture is changing.  Now is the time to educate and make appropriate changes. 

It is time to get past the old image of classical music being exclusive.  The goal is to make music accessible.  There has to be a connection with the audiences. 

The way forward has a lot to do with fusing the past traditions and the present in order to take symphony music into the forefront in our culture.  Playing the greatest hits of the last 300 years is an advantage and an honour.  The music is vital because it says something about the human experience that was true 200 years ago and is still true today.  The context is different, but the human animal is still the same.  “A classic is so good that it is always new.”

The music of the present is the key.  There is much good new music.  Great music is being written today such as the music of Estasio.  Pairing good new music with music from the past can be illuminating.  The past and the present can be understood in the context of each other.  This reflects the humanness of the music. 

The program coming up on March 31, speaks to the democratizing of music.  It is about building audiences for symphonic music and where it can take us these days.  The program will be presented as a microcosm of the quintessential human experience.  For Arthur the most important matter is relating the human experience.  The music has to be vital.  We will be seeing a lot of new things from the TBSO.  We are invited to come and see and bring feed back.


David thanked Clint Kuschak for a job well done as acting manager and introduced Chris Wilkinson and Emily Carr.


TBSO GM and 5580 ADG Clint Kushack receives cheque from President Dave

Joe Wasielewski thanked Maestro Post for the wonderful presentation and expressed his appreciation for the symphony.  Joe expressed his love for live music.

Ace of Clubs

Martti Tenander's ticket go pulled but didn't pick the right card!

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