has had a predisposition for centuries to the
arts of England, France and Italy, because they
represented the cultured distinction between the
sophisticated and the hoi polloi.
In due course, things Russian became the rage,
and Russian music and especially ballet was
supposed to represent the finer tings in life.
Wealthy persons, starting with royalty, supported
the arts and particularly composers and
performers for whom they wrote and performed what
today we call the classical arts.
These classical arts became the foundation of
the European culture which worked its way into
the curricula of schools across Europe and into
North America. The works constituting the
Classics became established as the core of
studies aspiring composers and performer had to
In due course, recordings were made
commercially, and the search for more music to
record led the recording companies to record just
about everything that was considered classical
because copyrights for the mostpart had expired
and it was cheaper to record these works which
also increased their popularity by familiarity.
As a result, whole libraries were built upon
these classical artists and works, and though
they were of benefit to society as a whole they
were to the detriment of struggling artists in
The funny thing is that Canada says it doesn't
want to finance the performance of the arts from
other countries even though present-day Canadians
come from those countries. But it has no
compunction about supporting the performances of
works from the so-called classics of Germany,
England, Italy, France and Russia!
The fact is that in Slovakia we have many
great composers and artists too. But because all
the publicity and the availability of recording
is of artists in those select five countries and
the United States, the works of Slovakian artists
and composers are often ignored.
Into the year 2000, we can not afford to miss
out on our cultural life, and our community must
appeal to those affluent members of our community
to consider sponsoring and promoting artists and
groups from Slovakia to perform in front of the
North American audience, to make themselves
better known, and to demonstrate that the arts of
Slovakia are equivalent to what are considered
the works of the Great Masters.
This is an appeal then to our churches and our
fraternal organizations to take greater interest
in advancing Slovakian arts by promoting events
not just for the community but for the North
American audience as well. Each fraternal and
parish should sponsor a "Talent Night"
or a "Slovak Artists on Review" program
at which our artists from Slovakia and North
America could perform and be recognized.
Unfortunately the Canadian government is
reluctant to get involved in assisting in travel
assistance for what it calls multicultural
programs which it considers amateur. We have to
make government realize that Slovak artists are
not amateurs, they are professional in every
sense of the word. It is discriminatory then to
fund programs showing English, German, Italian,
France and Russian cultural arts as the ultimate
while those of other countries are excluded.
Sponsoring cultural arts programs can be
risky, but I am convinced that with proper
planning and financing we could put on shows at
Massey Hall, Thompson Hall and the Royal Alec
which would attract a good audience of our fellow
North Americans. And make money!
It's becoming known in a world of diverse
established interests that is our problem.