On Gord Downie's Legacy

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The vast legacy Gord Downie has left behind is more than artistic. It's humanistic.

Today, Alberta Ballet adds its voice to those paying tribute to rock-poet and musician, Gord Downie. This morning I learned of his passing. All I could think about was the music we have lost: his life ended much too soon. Our inheritance from him is immense; the bar he has set for our nation soars above all others.

  
I have spent the last few months exploring the catalogue of The Tragically Hip in preparation for a ballet featuring their music. It has been a profound experience.

 

I have immense respect for the heartfelt poetry and music that Gord Downie and his fellow bandmembers, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay and Paul Langlois, have shared with Canadians these last three decades.

 

I’m honoured for the chance to create a ballet out of a musical catalogue that has such great depth.
Gord Downie called music ‘the ultimate expression of love’, and the rich lyrical beauty he created with The Tragically Hip astonishes me daily in my creation work.  All of Us, our Tragically Hip ballet, will be infused with love, despair, loss, hope, kindness, joy, all found in their music.

 

We went into this project knowing that Gord Downie was battling cancer and that he might not be with us by the time we reach our world premiere.

 

Today’s news out of Kingston about Gord Downie’s passing is creating a beautiful unity across our country as we recognize how his art has been a lasting, treasured gift to Canadians. The vast legacy he has left behind is more than artistic; it is humanistic.

 

Gord Downie, I thank you and The Hip bandmembers for the incredible opportunity to craft a ballet around the voice of The Tragically Hip. I hope to make you proud.

 

My deepest sympathies to family, friends and all who loved him.
 
Jean Grand-Maitre
Artistic Director, Alberta Ballet