Dear Toronto Symphony musicians,
100 years of music and we have shared almost half of them with you. This is a story of your music and how it helped grow a friendship. In 1976, I was introduced to Lynne by my young brother-in-law, Bob, who told us she was “very special” (code for “I’m in love with her”). She arrived for dinner wearing emerald green shoes. As a shoe fanatic, I was already disposed to love her! But there was more: shared values, a sense of humour, and a love of classical music.
We became sisters-in-law and our budding friendship deepened. By 1977, the dream of a new concert hall for Toronto had burst from conjecture to reality. Word was that subscribers at Massey Hall would receive first dibs to concerts in the new building and we decided to act. We remember those Massey Hall Gallery seats with giggles. Opened in 1894, Massey’s Victorian-era class distinction was still evident in 1977. Our seats seemed far narrower than those of the Balcony below us and the upholstery was minimal. However, the music reached us and it was sublime.
Fast forward to 1982. Our seats in the now named Roy Thomson Hall are revealed: Balcony C5 seats B 6 and 7. No class distinction here! They are beautifully upholstered with a wonderful sightline to the stage, allowing us to clearly see the nimble fingers of many famous pianists who have played with you. Your music has moved us to cheers and tears and even laughter: we were there the night Emanuel Ax played the errant cell phone user’s ringtone. We feel we know each of you in some way and sit in awe of your skills and obvious passion for music.
Seven times a year, Lynne and I meet for dinner before the concert. We share ideas and feelings across many topics, support each other through hard times, and celebrate good ones. As the years go by, this friendship has deepened. Lynne has become a sister to me minus sibling disputes!
And so, this year we purchased our 44th subscription. We both live outside Toronto now, but our TSO tradition continues. We can’t imagine living without it. Our thanks to all of you for your gifts to us, of music and our friendship.
Happy 100th Birthday!
-Jeanette Browne and Lynne Bullard