A letter from Board Chair David Hastings

My name is David Hastings and I am the father of a professional musician.

If this sounds like a confession at the start of a support group meeting, I suppose in some ways it is. My son is a percussionist in Germany. It has been 22 years since he began his life’s work. I am guilty of the same reaction that many parents have when a child comes to you to say they want to be a musician. I was a bit baffled by his choice, concerned for his welfare, and in all honesty, felt compelled to talk him out of it.

A musician’s life is not for the faint of heart: the daily tedium of practice, the constant stress of meeting performance standards, the ever challenging auditions, and sometimes working at extra jobs like teaching to piece together a living. It requires a huge commitment, perseverance, hard work, many personal sacrifices… and a profound love of the art form.

I have come to realize that for many, like our own Symphony musicians, music is not so much a career choice as it is a calling.

I remember the first time that I consciously heard a violin. I was four years old. It was on a record I found at home – Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade. I remember sitting beside the speaker transfixed by what I was listening to. I wanted to play that sound! After that I was determined to learn the violin. My parents weren’t musicians. They loved jazz and they were a bit confused by my love of classical music. When I was 7, I remember finding the name and phone number of a violin teacher in Moncton and bringing it home to my parents. Playing music is important to me – it’s who I am. I can’t imagine not being a musician. I like all kinds of music but for some reason, classical music speaks to me.”

– Isabelle Fournier, Principal Second Violin

I chose to become a Musical Chair donor to show my immense appreciation for what musicians bring to my life. Euphoria. Floating. Goosebumps. Pure joy. We all describe it in a different way but we all experience – that ‘feeling’ after a concert that touches your soul. As symphony patrons it is a common feeling we have all shared. It’s this profound love of music that compels us to linger in the concert hall, relive the memorable moments, and to give.

Thank you for being a part of this excitement, for helping create it for others, and for demonstrating to the musicians that you believe in them and the value they create in our lives.

Many of us have this deep relationship with the Symphony spanning multiple years or decades. For us the orchestra is like family. Where would we be without them? What would our community be like without these wonderfully talented individuals working so hard, contributing so much?

Truthfully, I don’t want to find out. I choose to support the arts, to subscribe, to donate, to leave a legacy in that hopes that Symphony Nova Scotia will always be a cherished part of our community.

As you consider your ability to renew or increase your support as a Musical Chair, I’d like to thank you again for your past support, and for the myriad of ways that you express it. Whether that means as a long time subscriber, volunteer, donor, Musical Chair, Festival donor, or Legacy Circle member; together we support our orchestra.

We are the Symphony family. Collectively we make a big difference to the community’s cultural scene and to each other’s lives. Thank you.

David Hastings
Chair, Board of Directors
Volunteer, Musical Chair, Legacy Circle member, Subscriber 

P.S. A few years ago, my wife Patricia and I decided to add an annual donation towards Bernhard’s end of season Festival. It is his vision for an expanded orchestra and repertoire that cannot normally be enjoyed during the regular season. It was a big decision for us but it represented an even deeper commitment to our orchestra. If those of us who love it won’t support it, who will?