A Gay Wedding Celebration – A Trimuph for the Arts

On Valentine’s Day, Helmut Reichenbächer and John Stanley got married. This wedding was an affirmation of 20 years together. There was a private ceremony, lunch and dinner for close family and friends. It’s the middle part of the day I want to talk about.

Both men are patrons of the arts in a very big way. I always run into them at performances. Not surprisingly, they put on a concert at the Glenn Gould Studio with a very showy group of singers and musicians (listed at the end of this blog). What a grand way to celebrate a marriage, coupled with a love of the arts.

More to the point, John commissioned a world premiere from composer Alexina Louie dedicated to Helmut. Filigree for oboe and piano, performed by Keith Atkinson, oboe, and Robert Kortgaard, piano, was a virtuoso tour de force and an absolute delight.

I really connected to Filigree. When my late father turned 90, I commissioned a song cycle from the late composer Srul Irving Glick in his honour. If I ever win the lottery, I’ll remount Songs for Isaac.

The point is, Helmut and John’s concert featured a new work for the repertoire. In the Renaissance, patrons commissioned music and visual arts all the time. If more people did that, the arts could really become a centre piece of the significant events of our lives.

Congratulations to Helmut and John. Thank you for the brilliant concert and the new work. I wish you many more happy and “art-ful” years together.

(The concert featured Isabel Bayrakdarian, soprano, Brett Polegato and James Levesque, baritones, Jean Stilwell and Laura Tucker, mezzo-sopranos, pianists Stuart Hamilton, Robert Kortgaard, Serouj Kradjian, Stephen Ralls, Peter Tiefenbach and Bruce Ubukata, Keith Atkinson, oboe, Camille Watts, flute, produced by the CBC’s Neil Crory.)