November 08, 2017

Earle Peach receives Mayor's Arts Award

It was a gala October evening to celebrate Vancouver's artists who enrich the city's culture through creativity and dialogue. It was the annual Mayor's Arts Awards, and a highlight was celebrating Sherry's friend and colleague, and new honouree, Earle Peach.

Earle received the award in the Community Engaged Art category. He leads four choirs: the Solidarity Notes Labour Choir; the Highs and Lows Choir; the Gathering Place choir; and InChoiring Minds. Earle also heads the delightful Illiteratty, and he is one half of Songtree with Barbara Jackson.

When the mayor and Earle were posing for the official photograph, the photographer asked the two men to turn into each other. Earle looked at the Mayor and said, "Frankly, I'd rather you turn into me."

Earle's acceptance speech was gentle and without ego. It spoke to the need to repair the world, to reconcile, to be accountable, and to raise up voices rarely heard, like those in the Highs and Lows.

Among a number of other projects, Earle is currently working with playwright Sherry MacDonald on a musical about the Battle of Ballantyne Pier.

Earle Peach is a gifted composer and songwriter, a dedicated political activist, and highly deserving of a Mayor's Art Award in 2017.

Now, if only our mayor could turn into someone more like Earle.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2017 by Jim Murray.

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