Hitting all the right notes

Music in the Making campaign already halfway towards $500,000 goal

Lottie Austin and Dr. George Evelyn are all warmed up and ready to put on a show. As Co-Chairs for Music in the Making, a campaign for the University of Lethbridge Music Conservatory, the couple is showing thanks for the opportunities they've had by encouraging others to support something they love – music.

"Music is my core and my soul," says Austin, as her hands effortlessly move across the polished keys, filling her living room with a melody she's making up as she goes. If you listen closely, you'll probably hear Evelyn singing along.

Once a performance musician, Austin is no longer playing for a large crowd of expectant ticket holders. Instead, more often than not, she's playing in her own living room for Evelyn, who taught in the U of L music department for 26 years before retiring in 2009.

"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. "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."

Lottie and George
Lottie Austin and Dr. George Evelyn are encouraged by the support shown for the Music Conservatory.

For these two, music is more than notes on a page – it's laid a foundation on which they've built their lives.

"My business activities have led me away from music, but I constantly find application for the skills I learned as a musician," says Austin, who currently works in the finance industry. "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."

Having benefitted themselves, this couple is working hard to make sure more people have access to quality music education. Plans for the new Community Arts Centre in downtown Lethbridge include space for the U of L Conservatory, allowing for expansion and growth and helping to build confidence in a new generation of musicians.

"Music in the Making will help provide the support necessary for the Conservatory to continue delivering quality programs and ensure 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."

As construction of the Community Arts Centre gets underway, Austin and Evelyn are excited that the Music in the Making campaign has already reached $250,000 of its $500,000 goal.


For more information on the Music in the Making campaign or to contribute, please e-mail or call 1-866-552-2582.