General Amherst grad inducted into Western Music Association’s Hall of Fame

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

Concert pianist Clark Bryan, graduate of General Amherst High School, has been recognized and inducted into the Western Music Association’s Hall of Fame.

The WMA, which spans across 12 state and regional chapters, meets every November, and according to their website, is responsible for the current popularity of Western Music around the world.

“I’m on the wall with Grammy and Juno award winners and people who are at the top of my profession around the world,” said Bryan. “I feel extremely honoured and humbled to have this award, but want to use it as a platform for social change. Making the change in education and access is my ultimate life goal. Everyone should have Universal Access to Music, Art, Culture and the best education available. It is only by making this change that we will have a world at peace and prosperity.”

General Amherst grad Clark Bryan has been inducted into Western Music Association’s Hall of Fame, and is being recognized for all his hard work in his community. (Special to the RTT)

Bryan has been working in music since he was in his teenage years, when he began teaching piano. He said he is passionate about education, and continues to be passionate about changing access to it. He explained he believes all youth “deserve the very best.”

“We have a class system in Canada that prevents opportunities to disadvantaged youth or youth with barriers to participation,” explained Bryan. “I’m favouring a revolution of our education system which is quite archaic. Finland is a country I model after. It’s a system based on the concept of “Well-Being” as the priority.”

In 2004, Bryan opened a concert hall in London, where he has resided since 1989 when he moved to finish his undergraduate work and do a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance. He named the hall Aeolian Hall, where he produces concerts almost daily with artists such as Chick Corea, The Vienna Boys Choir, Judy Collins, Buffy Sainte-Marie and more.

“Since this time, I opened an additional facility focusing on music education and ran a free, UNESCO and TED award winning music program called El Sistema,” said Bryan. “Participants engage in orchestras, choirs and even get free pianos and piano lessons. Last year they did 27 concerts and performed with Grammy and Juno award winners like Ashley MacIssac.”

Clark Bryan stands with Dean of Music, Western University, Betty Anne Younker receiving his award and induction into Western Music Association’s Hall of Fame. (Special to the RTT)

Bryan has also started a professional chamber orchestra with four of Canada’s greatest string players at its core including Scott St. John. In addition, he began a program called Pride Men’s Chorus London, which is a choir open to men of all identities and sexual orientations with a mission to strengthen the community’s diversity model and promote a strong vibrant community through song.

“Life has taught me that we are all interdependent,” said Bryan. “Community is everything to us and must be a priority. I’ve had a chance to engage in many activities in London’s Communities including Civic Task Forces, a TED talk, University Lectures, Forums around change and even social activism around solving Canada’s growing problems of sex-trade and human trafficking. Who would have thought that music would lead me into all of these areas? I encourage all of us to make a contribution to our community. Go out and have a great life, but while you’re doing that, leave the world a little better than you found it.”

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