(Jeff Higgins photo)

Since the day I set up Musical Toronto nearly a year ago, I was determined that this become a forum for a wider conversation about a slice of this city’s rich cultural life. On one level, it’s happening, with the site having registered its 200,000th individual visit this week. But I’m still missing a larger dialogue.

A couple of weeks ago, the organizer of a youth music competition approached me for some coverage on Musical Toronto. I let her know thatI don’t have enough time or energy to write about much of what happens in the city, suggesting as an alternative that she write something personal — either from the point of view as the organizer or from the point of view of one of her young competitors.

She responded with a paragraph that read like a concert listing.

This has happened every time I’ve made this suggestion to someone over the past year. A concert listing does not dialogue make.

I realise that all of us have too much to do every day. I also realise that most people are not comfortable writing something for public consumption. But, in the age of social media, getting a real dialogue to happen, one filled with the actual voices of concert presenters, organizers and performers — young or old — is essential.

The pages on Musical Toronto are open to all of this. I have never intended or wanted to be the sole writer here.

So if you feel passionately about a performance that just happened or that is coming up, think of what this means to you and try to put this into words. Send those words here (john@musicaltoronto.org) and, with your permission, I will turn them into something that we can all share.

I try to write most of my posts as if I am telling a person sitting next to me about something that’s important to me right now. This is something we all do verbally every day. All you have to do is translate this into an email.

I know this sounds simpler than it is, but we all need to start somewhere — because no one else is going to tell these stories for us.

As an incentive, thanks to a promotional offer from Universal Music Canada, which has been a wonderful advertiser here, I can offer the first five people to submit a story to be published on Musical Toronto with a free copy of Cecilia Bartoli’s new album, Mission, as well as a copy of Donna Leon’s new novel, The Jewels of Paradise.

How’s that for inspiration?

John Terauds

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7 Responses to A musical and literary incentive to build community dialogue in these pages

  1. Excellent idea, John…..so many of the comments I read in soical media, or even the comments I read in major on-line newspapers are negative even cruel rejoinders that are usually posted anonymously. I applaud your effort to encourage all of us to contribute something positive and to creating a dialogue….

  2. Diana says:

    Thanks for this, John. I think it would be fantastic to have more hands on the keyboards, making Musical Toronto have even more breadth and quality, thought provoking posts than it already does.

    I have to say, though: I’m jealous that we do not have a resource like you here in Hamilton. Or that you’re not “Musical Southern Ontario” or some such thing :) Is this a dream far, far away?

  3. Linda Hutcheon says:

    John, thank you for expanding the dialogue, but thank you too for teaching how to do it. A special thanks for editing what is/will be sent to you: you’ve created a high standard for musical conversation in this city.

  4. Jane Smith says:

    I’ve got to learn how to “Tweet”! We’ll do our best to build a “community dialogue”. You may be sorry you asked!

  5. rama says:

    the concert on friday I would like some details on the encore please

    • John Terauds John Terauds says:

      I didn’t stay for the encore, so someone else will have to fill us in on what they played.