When Rochelle and David Greenberg went to see the National Arts Centre Orchestra that night they weren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary. Then suddenly a hush fell over the audience.
Canadian politician and patron of the arts, the Hon. Mitchell Sharp was walking across the stage with a baton in his hand. “His health was failing but you could feel the joy coming off him,” recalls David. That night, Mitchell Sharp conducted the orchestra he loved so dearly. The performance brought the audience to their feet. “It united us all in our passion for the arts,” explains Rochelle. “It is a lingering moment that is permanently etched in our memory.”
There have been many memorable moments like this one for the Greenbergs over the last 20 years. “The performing arts enhance our lives,” says Rochelle. “You get so caught up in the music and what’s happening on stage, you can feel yourself become teary-eyed. The arts have taught us so much about life.”
A passion for the arts began early for both Rochelle and David. Rochelle’s cousin took her to Detroit to see world-renown pianist, Arthur Rubinstein when she was 16. “It was the first concert I’d ever been to and it was like heaven,” recalls Rochelle, who also plays piano. Meanwhile, David grew up in London, Ontario and often went to theatre productions in Stratford. “Once you’ve seen live performance, everything else pales in comparison,” he says.
Those early experiences instilled a love of the performing arts that thrives to this day. That’s why the Greenbergs are so proud to support the NAC’s education initiatives. “The National Youth and Education Trust is extremely important to us,” says Rochelle. “Through these programs, the NAC provides opportunities to the next generation. They’re always showcasing new Canadian talent. Without the next generation of artists, there would be a huge void in our lives.”
David and Rochelle make a huge difference in young lives through their support of the Donors’ Circle, and they also expose their 12-year-old granddaughter to the arts every chance they get. “When we take Olivia to the ballet at the NAC, she sits there and doesn’t move,” says David. “As a competitive tap dancer, she sees things on the stage that inspire her. We bring her here so she can see how far she can go. We show her a world beyond television. It’s our way of developing passion in a child.
”Rochelle and David want to do the same for other children – to show their gratitude for all the performing arts have given them and ‘pay it forward’ to the next generation. “We’ve very passionate about supporting education programs which give new artists the opportunity to grow and inspire youth,” says Rochelle. “How can we deny our children the opportunity to fall in love with the arts like we have?”