Pacific Region International Summer Music Association (PRISMA) representatives recently appeared before City of Powell River councillors and qathet Regional District directors requesting continued financial support.
PRISMA artistic director Arthur Arnold made a presentation at the city’s February 18 committee of the whole meeting, and played cello and presented to the qathet Regional District finance committee on February 19, outlining the relevance of the annual symphonic educational institute.
Arnold told regional directors he brought his cello to provide a little example of harmony.
“Why does music speak so much to us?" said Arnold. “It’s because we are nature and music is nature.”
He played an example of recorded music on his smartphone and then played the same piece live. He said with the live example, those in attendance could feel the vibration of the music.
“To have live music is very relevant,” said Arnold. “I think about the 80 students we bring from all over the world to play together in an orchestra. That’s not something that’s so easy.”
He said his cello had been built two years ago in Romania and there is a history of hundreds of years of practice and tradition to build an instrument like the one he was holding. He said there are more than 50 stringed instruments in the orchestra and they all play on instruments worth tens of thousands of dollars to create the beautiful sound.
When PRISMA is in session, there are millions of dollars worth of instruments on the stage, according to Arnold.
He said more than 10,000 hours of time is invested by the students in mastering their instruments.
Arnold said this year, PRISMA will commemorate the liberation of the Netherlands, 75 years ago, by Canadian forces.
“We’ll celebrate the freedom on the beach,” he said.
He said during PRISMA, the orchestra would be playing music written during the Second World War. It will be combined with a new piece by a Canadian-Dutch composer, based on five diaries of children who did not survive the war.
Arnold reiterated that PRISMA is very relevant.
He said he was grateful for the support from the regional district year after year. He said he knows PRISMA receives an economic development grant. The $20,000 investment from the regional district helps with a return of roughly $2 million to the community in economic development, he added.
“Not only that but it brings families to Powell River who choose to live in this region, not only because house prices are too high in Vancouver and the lower Sunshine Coast, but they choose this coastal community because it has so much culture to offer,” said Arnold. “I ask again for your support for PRISMA this year and I think it’s important that we have this. It’s relevant, what we do. “Please consider us again and we will continue to grow PRISMA and be relevant in our community, outside our community, in Canada, and I have to say, in the world,” said Arnold.
Finance committee chair George Doubt said it was a great cultural experience in the community and he thanked organizers for putting PRISMA together.