From far and wide: NAC Foundation CEO Jayne Watson on UK Tour support

Jaynewatsonjune2009 valbergimaging
Jayne Watson, Chief Executive Officer, National Arts Centre Foundation © Valberg Imaging

Q: What role does the National Arts Centre Foundation play in planning the UK Tour?

The Foundation supports the National Arts Centre's priorities, artistic and otherwise. In this case, we've helped find private funding to make the UK Tour possible. The NAC Orchestra would not be able to tour domestically or internationally without donor and corporate support. We are very grateful to RBC, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, Dasha Shenkman, Aimia, Margaret and David Fountain, David Aisenstat, and W1 Developments for their generous support of the UK Tour.

Q: The NAC Orchestra’s UK Tour has received significant support from individuals and corporations both across Canada, and in the U.K. What inspires that support?

Our supporters responded very enthusiastically to the idea of commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War. Many Canadians feel that the First World War was a seminal moment in Canadian history, and this Tour is a way of acknowledging the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers. It’s also a way to underline how music and the arts can play a role in remembrance.

Q:  Tell us about the International Advisory Council that you have been working with over the last several months.

We are very honoured that prominent Canadians agreed to help advise the Foundation as we sought funding for the Tour. The Honourable Hilary Weston and Galen Weston agreed to chair a small group, which includes both The Honourable Gordon Campbell, Canada’s High Commissioner to the U.K., as well as the U.K.’s High Commissioner to Canada, His Excellency Howard Drake. Other members include Diana Carney, Phillip Crawley, Rupert Duchesne, Margaret Fountain, Gay Mitchell and Janice O’Born.

Q: Is this the first time a member of the Royal Family has been involved with the National Arts Centre?

The NAC has been privileged to host members of the Royal Family in the past; most recently in 2010 when Her Majesty The Queen unveiled a statue of Oscar Peterson at the NAC. But this tour marks the first time we have had a Royal Patron for an artistic undertaking.

Q: What do you look forward to the most during the Tour?

For me personally, the concert at Salisbury Cathedral will one of the highlights. In 1914, my Grandfather Lance Watson, a member of the 48th Highlanders, travelled to Salisbury Plain for training before being sent to the battlefields of Europe.

He and his brother Reginald both served in the First World War. Reginald was gassed in the trenches and lived for the rest of his life in a sanatorium after returning to Canada, but my Grandfather lived until 1971, so I have some faint but lovely memories of him. His son—my father—served in the Second World War, and is still living, and thinks our Tour is a wonderful way to honour the contributions and sacrifices of soldiers and other Canadians.

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