Conservatory campaign off to rousing start

University of Lethbridge officials, community volunteers and students from the U of L Conservatory of Music launched the "Music in the Making" campaign on Friday afternoon with more than half of their ambitious goal already achieved.

The $500,000 community-based campaign will support the Conservatory's move to the new Community Arts Centre, currently under construction in downtown Lethbridge, east of Galt Gardens on the corner of 8th St. S and 3rd Ave. S.

The Conservatory will be a major tenant in the facility, which will enhance the ability for members of the community to experience and enjoy the arts. With more than $250,000 raised to date, the campaign is well underway, according to campaign Co-chairs Lottie Austin and Dr. George Evelyn.

"Music in the Making will support the Conservatory so that students have access to the equipment and tools necessary to be successful," explains Evelyn, who's excited about the opportunities presented by the new downtown location. "This is an important step as we continue to grow music in our community."

"Music has been a part of my life since my mother signed me up for violin lessons when I was five," says Evelyn, who grew up and completed his training in the United States before immigrating to Canada in 1973. He recently retired from the U of L after a more than 25-year tenure as a professor of music in the Faculty of Fine Arts and as the director of the U of L Singers.

"Although it wasn't with a violin under my chin, I've had a rewarding career and from that first lesson on it seemed natural that music was something I was going to do forever."

Austin acknowledges her business activities have led her away from music, but maintains she constantly finds applications for the skills she learned as a musician. "Music taught me to analyze, to set goals, to compartmentalize, to work towards success and those same tenets can be directly applied to a career in business. I know the majority of people who take lessons will not go on to be professional musicians but they will always carry music with them. It is a core component that no matter where you are or what your circumstances are, you will always have music with you," says Austin.

Both Evelyn and Austin agree that investment in the U of L Conservatory of Music is an investment in community. "By supporting the development of musicians and performers, you create possibilities that extend beyond the practice room, theatre or recital hall – you are helping make our community a better place to live. It's one way your contribution can leave a lasting note on the world," says Austin.