Forty-six years is a long time. But for David and Susan Laister, it represents years of happy and satisfying association with the National Arts Centre.
Originally from the United Kingdom, the Laisters came to Canada in 1969. David was attending Queen’s University, Kingston, on a post-doctoral fellowship in metallurgy. In 1970, they attended their first performance at the NAC, one by the Canadian folk music duo, Ian and Sylvia Tyson. When the Laisters relocated to Ottawa in 1971 for David’s work as a scientist with Bell Northern Research, their involvement with the NAC blossomed, attending the orchestra, theatre, opera and for Susan, ballet.
David and Susan inherited a love — if not a passion — for classical music from their parents. And this love found a perfect outlet at the National Arts Centre. They became series subscribers to the NAC Orchestra. As Susan says, “Music has brought great joy to our lives and the National Arts Centre has become a home away from home.” Susan, who worked as a classroom special education assistant, began to volunteer with the Friends of the NACO and later with the National Arts Centre Foundation. On retirement, David joined Susan as a volunteer as well.
In addition to their regular attendance and volunteer support, they became annual donors. When their son Robert, now a cancer research specialist in Toronto, finished his schooling, they decided to support the NAC’s Young Artists Program. David explains, “We wanted to help enrich students’ lives and their musical knowledge. These young people are the musicians of tomorrow and so it’s an investment in their future — and ours.”
Today, the Laisters are retired and enjoy travel, gardening, cooking, theatre, opera, chamber music and reading. And their already generous support of the National Arts Centre has taken on a new dimension. They have chosen to remember the National Arts Centre Foundation with a gift in their Wills. For them, it was a natural decision to make and the right thing to do. Their future gift will support music education for young people. However, knowing that needs and priorities change, they have left their gift with few restrictions. Both agree, “We have had hours of pleasure thanks to the NAC and we feel it’s important to give back. Our gift will enable our support to continue after we are gone.”