Welcome to Gros Morne Summer Music! I can’t tell you how pleased I am to be welcoming our artists and audience to a second decade of music-making here on the west coast of Newfoundland. This festival is hard to define. We program so many different musicians and musical styles in Corner Brook and Woody Point, NL that even we aren’t sure what to expect from one season to the next! This season we are presenting traditional Newfoundland music, a live radio play, a musical theatre spectacular, an outdoor performance, a theatrical new take on our innovative classical music, and much more.
What began as a festival dedicated to exploring the place of classical music in our lives has evolved into a curiosity; not just a curiosity about all forms of music, but one regarding the arts in general. How do we create a thriving professional arts scene in our communities such that we have a genuine and positive impact on the quality of life in the places we play? We have worked hard over the past decade to find the right balance of integrating what we do as an arts organization into the vision and values of our communities, while at the same time, being part of what keeps that vision and those values evolving. As a result GMSM has learned an immense amount about what it means for an arts organization to become an active, effective member of the communities it calls home.
Over the past decade we have produced hundreds of concerts in venues as grand as the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto to those as cozy as a campground in Cow Head. We have hosted artists from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the United States, Germany, The Netherlands, Wales, as well as almost every province in Canada. As a festival we have had the honour of being featured regularly on a wide variety of CBC broadcasts both regionally and nationally. (Unfortunately, that kind of nation building through music and the arts that did so much cultivate a sense of Canadian identity has been decimated through successive cuts to the CBC spanning the past two decades).
And yet as I try and articulate why we are here, eleven years later, working so tirelessly to create this annual event, I am struck by the real reason we are here. Because it is here. Here in a part of the world that has been both inspiring and challenging, grounding and uplifting—Western Newfoundland is a place we are so fortunate to call home. The artists of Gros Morne Summer Music are not here because they have nowhere else to go, we are here because we don’t want to be anywhere else. Thank you all for making it possible.
Artistic Director, Gros Morne Summer Music