Acclaimed musician Steven Page headlines fundraising concert
On Oct. 29, acclaimed Canadian musician Steven Page performed alongside the Penderecki String Quartet in a fundraising concert for Laurier’s ‘Making a Space for Music’ campaign.
The MSFM campaign goes towards renovating and improving Laurier’s current music building, and all ticket sales were donated to the campaign.
“The goal is actually to raise funds, but there’s also other goals. One is to raise awareness,” said Jason Coolman, Vice President of Advancement and External Relations.
Page was the founding member and frontman of band Barenaked Ladies, who had global hits like “One Week” and “If I had $1,000,000”.
Presently, Page has embarked on a solo career and released new album “Excelsior” in September of last year.
During the concert in Lazaridis Hall’s 1,000 seat auditorium, Page performed songs from throughout his career, including songs from his solo work and hits from Barenaked Ladies.
Page was accompanied by his son and guest conductor Isaac Page, a Laurier faculty of music alumni’s.
Page’s bandmates, Kevin Fox and Craig Northey, performed on cello and guitar respectively. James Campbell, a distinguished clarinetist, also participated.
“We were meeting with Steven to share about our music campaign. He is an honorary committee member from the Faculty of Music, so we thought he might be able to help us. And he offered to come and do a concert to help raise funds,”Jason Coolman, Vice President of Advancement and External Relations
Past events featuring Page have been held at Laurier, including a performance in 2017 and an Orientation Week event about mental health awareness in 2012.
“Even though I’ve never actually studied [at Laurier] myself, my father actually graduated from Waterloo Lutheran in the late 60s. My eldest son, Isaac Page, who’s gonna be conducting the program on Sunday, is a graduate of Laurier’s music program. So I’m very familiar with the campus and with the culture,” said Page.
In 2022, Page received an honorary doctor of music degree for his contributions to mental health and music education.
“The honorary doctorate, which was an incredible honor, just helped to solidify [my connection with Laurier],” said Page.
Expanding on the importance of the arts, Page detailed the size of the music industry and the value the industry brings into the economy. This is something that Page believes outweighs what musicians invest back into the economy itself.
“I can’t speak specifically to the university itself, but I think in our culture the arts tend to get treated as frills,” said Page.
“I resent that as somebody who’s been able to do this as a career for 35 years, because I see not only the cultural value. I don’t want to have to always argue what the spiritual value of music is or the cultural capital that it brings in.”
Laurier itself, according to Page, has contributed to the cultural value of music.
“One of the things that Laurier has been doing that’s so cool is this sense of being able to reduce the boundaries between styles of music and genres of music. [This makes] the music department much more inclusive of styles and cultures than a traditional university program might be,” said Page.
“We’re pretty proud to bring Steven to help shine a light on it and help raise awareness and raise those funds,” said Coolman when asked about the concert.
In a final note to students, Page shared his advice.
“Take advantage of the services that are available to you at university. Whether it’s things like mental health services or clubs or mentoring, all those things that you’re going to usually seek out or pay significant amounts of money for after you’ve done university. Take advantage of this stuff now, and you can start a lot of great habits that way.”
For more information on the MSFM campaign, visit give.wlu.ca and search ‘Making Space for Music.”