Accolade concert celebrates the dedication of the recital hall

Members of the York University community and guests met for a cocktail reception and concert on April 1 to celebrate the dedication of the Tribute Communities Recital Hall. Located in York’s Accolade East Building, the recital hall is named in honour of a leadership gift from homebuilder Tribute Communities.

At the reception, Paul Marcus, president & CEO of the York University Foundation, took the opportunity to thank Tribute Communities CEO Howard Sokolowski and the company’s president Al Libfeld for their many contributions to the York community. The company is also the title sponsor of the annual Tribute Communities – York University Chair’s Cup Golf Tournament, which has raised almost $2 million for graduate student scholarships since 2001.

Present that evening were Sokolowski and wife Linda Frum, author and journalist. In his comments, Marcus also acknowledged the couple’s strong commitment to community leadership. Both Sokolowski and Frum participate on several committees and boards in Toronto.

Right: Howard Sokolowski and Linda Frum at the entrance to the Tribute Communities Recital Hall

In appreciation, Sokolowski, a member of the York University Foundation board of directors, noted, "I can only tell you how proud we are at Tribute Communities to be associated with such a wonderful community."

York University President & Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden described the generosity of Tribute Communities as a new high-water mark in support. "Over the past 35 years, York’s Music Department has graduated a generation of outstanding performers, composers, producers and teachers of music," said Marsden. "We are so happy to have a recital hall that is commensurate with the talent of our faculty and our students."

Faculty of Fine Arts Dean Phillip Silver, who hosted the evening reception along with Marsden, lauded the recital hall as a primary teaching and performance facility for the Department of Music, a wonderful learning venue for students and also a benefit to the larger community. "We now have a terrific new concert hall in the northwest part of Toronto – an area not well-served with such outstanding cultural facilities until now," said Silver.

Above: Howard Sokolowski is presented with a signed Coronation Anthems poster. Pictured from left are Phillip Silver, Howard Sokolowski and Marshall Cohen, Chair of York University’s Board of Governors.

The recital hall is a 327-seat concert venue with an integrated recording studio, offering a top-quality listening experience as well as a professional environment for students to develop their skills. "For a student here at York, you can really get a leg up because you’re working and learning to perform in the exact environment that you will have when you get out into the real competitive world," said Professor Barry Elmes, Chair of the Department of Music.

Right: The York University Concert and Chamber Choirs perform Handel’s celebratory Coronation Anthems under the direction of Lisette Canton, professor of music

After the reception, guests gathered in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall to enjoy a performance of George Frideric Handel’s Coronation Anthems, by the combined York University Concert and Chamber Choirs under the direction of Professor Lisette Canton. Tribute Communities was honoured on stage at the start of the concert with the presentation to Sokolowski of a framed Coronation Anthems poster signed by the choristers.

The concert capped the celebration to dedicate the recital hall and served as the grand finale of the three-week York Fine Arts Festival, which featured more than 40 public events showcasing the next wave of young talent in the visual and performing arts. The festival took place from March 9 to April 1 on York’s Keele campus.

This story was submitted to YFile by Earleen Dover, communications officer, York University Foundation.