As much as possible, I try to meet these people face to face. In every case, they have been not only generous, but thoughtful, bright, and incredibly interesting individuals, who have given considerable thought to their charitable giving.
Well, I’m pretty sure that in my 33 years with WWF, I never met Ann Southam. But through her generous annual gifts to WWF over 24 years, I certainly recognized her name. “Who is this person?” I wondered. “And what moves her to be so supportive of our cause?”
Now I learn that Ann Southam was a well-known and innovative Canadian musical composer, inspired by rivers, still seas, springs of earth, and the flute-like song of the varied thrush. She composed for modern dance companies and choreographers; taught electronic music at the Royal Conservatory; and in her last years, was particularly interested in acoustic instruments and ensembles.
As I listened to her music, unfortunately after her passing, I began to get glimpses of answers to my questions. And, since it is the beauty of nature that above all has motivated my own life-long commitment to conservation, I felt a real kinship with a fellow traveler who helped us so loyally over the years.
On April 21, I have been granted the privilege of speaking at Ann’s memorial gathering, to say thank you to a friend who I never met, yet knew so well through a shared inspiration. How fortunate WWF is to have enjoyed her friendship. And I’m sure that somewhere on a quiet evening this spring, and for many springs hereafter, a woodland thrush will sing its gratitude as well.
Listen to Ann’s music:
Springs of Earth no.2
Glass Houses no. 9
Ann Southam Tribute (RSVP to the Canadian Music Centre)
|Date||April 21, 2011|
|Location||MacMillan TheatreEdward Johnson Building
University of Toronto
80 Queen’s Park