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Does Music Matter?

My son, Evan Freeman, gave a concert a few nights ago in the Drop In Center on the eastern edge of downtown beside the burbling Bow.

Now the drop in center is not only on the edge of downtown, it’s on the edge of the cliff for most of the people who resort to it. And it is the end, there is nowhere to go down from there. Except to freeze to death at this time of the year, when the desperate either come inside the center or crawl up under bridges and are found stiff, the next day.

So, from the stage endowed on behalf of young Adam van Wielingen’s memory, his friend, Evan, held forth. That’s Adam’s picture.

Having performed there before, he knew what he was facing into.
“That energy – 500 desperate people, on the edge, having their dinner – just hits you. Some are rude, some are indifferent, but many are grateful.”
Glad that they could receive some element of largesse into their lives from these young Turks, who come to serenade them. Perhaps they’d be reminded that life in this world can have a touch of grace, a bit of class, that all is not lost.

Does music touch these folks? Does it grace any of us?

We live in a sea of noise, bombarded at every turn. Elaine and I often note that Italian restaurants – on the continent – don’t seem to need it. And in some restaurants – here is John Gilchrist’s run down of those who offer silence [aah the link is too long – look up under Safe Sound awards – the din of dining] – it is not on the menu. Most have “music” – we used to call it Muzak – droning away, sometimes too much in the foreground.

Some tastemaker established that we need a soundtrack to every waking moment. The result is to dull our potential to be inspired by music. In the previous days of prosperity, back in the courtlier times of Schuman, music was not recordable: therefore had to be played by real players in real time. So it was remarkable when heard.

But most have had moments of big time musical inspiration. We remember a poignant moment and a melody is paired with it.

Now sound is everywhere and like all other inputs, is losing its opportunity for impact. It’s tough to pick out inspiring moments from the flow of sound that we are assailed by all the time.

Not in the drop in center. What these folks hear is rare – and from some talented young performers. This chance some take great joy in – and it may turn their heads. I hope so. Maybe they’ll be uplifted and want to rise. The rest of us…


Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

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Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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