No one has been a greater champion for the Timmins Symphony Orchestra (TSO) than Clarice Power, who has supported the institution for nearly 40 years as a member of the board of directors.
She's used the self-discipline, grit, boundless energy and charisma that she acquired from figure skating, as a competitor and later on as a coach, to help the TSO flourish.
“As far as the Timmins Symphony Orchestra is concerned, it has been recognized now as one of the finest, if not, the finest community orchestra in the country,” Power said in an interview.
Power still feels that “as long as the machine keeps going” she will be fundraising for the organization.
You can see through her exquisite eyes the fruitful and fulfilling life she has lived.
Her eyes lit up while recalling her travels and “heyday” as a professional figure skater, and her passion to keep the fire burning among the TSO team.
Dressed in a black cashmere sweater with silver studs on the sleeves and perfect made-up hair, Power humbly said that she was not dressed for the interview. Her elegance and simplistic demeanour radiated around their dining room, which she jokingly described as the “photo gallery of dignitaries”.
“I may say, I had a great career. I have people I met, places I went. It is sometimes like a dream,” Power said.
“I think I just wanted to make a difference, I tend to gravitate toward the art, but I also have done service work, and really believe in helping people who need it…and of course what motivated towards the symphony was the fact that with figure skating, music and figure skating go hand in hand."
When asked what keeps her volunteering going, she said "it’s great appreciation for all life has to offer in arts and culture beyond”.
Soon she will graciously pass the torch, but her thirst for new learning will not stop.
In retirement, Power plans to travel more, read about places she has not skated before, learn the art of sculpting, and visit her second home in Carmel Beach, California, more often.
“I would say at this time of my life, I am slowing it down. My husband is retired now, and it’s time for us to reflect and to spend some time together. Every plan has its season,” she said, adding that she plans to enjoy her retirement years with her husband, Victor, her son Kevin, and her beloved nine-year-old granddaughter.
When Power decided to get involved in the community, it was to give back to the city that had given her so much.
She first joined the May Court Club of Timmins as president of the lady service club, then the Timmins Museum Advisory Board and the Porcupine Music Festival as the publicity chair.
On the side, she organized figure skating reunions and art shows for skaters who had trained at the McIntyre and Timmins Porcupine Figure Skating Club.
The TSO was founded in 1979. In 1984, she was asked to join its board of directors.
She's helped lead the orchestra through its ups and downs, like a figure skater expertly navigating their routine, and landing all the jumps along the way.
The TSO achieved the reputation of having talented classical musicians, has garnered prestigious awards and has connected with generous donors both within and outside Timmins.
Her involvement with the Ontario Federation Symphony Orchestra as the fundraising and development officer paved a way for TSO to be known outside of Timmins and be exposed to different seminars to hone the inspiring musicians’ talents.
As the donors increased, Power said they established music camps, scholarship programs, the Timmins Symphony Chorus, and a music school which was named after her great friend and former TSO conductor, the late Geoffrey James Lee.
Power pointed out that all the successes in keeping the TSO sustainable should be credited to the volunteers and founding members like Sylvia Martin, Ann Mallows, John Bracken, Sally Pigeon, Trish Murphy, Hazel Maki, Guy Mitchell, and Dennis Sebalj.
“I think they have all made a big difference…To know that we have come a long way (it is a success, not only) to one person,” she explained.
Power added that without their patrons, sponsors, music teachers, donors, and media, they would have a hard time staying afloat.
“These people have been valuable to our success, It takes a lot of us to make things happen. Not just me of course, many talented volunteers in Timmins,” she added.
On May 7, the TSO will be having the last leg of the 2021-2022 season concert at St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral.
An Austrian Spring will feature music from Mozart, Schubert, and Strauss along with a medley from the Sound of Music.
Tickets are $32 and are available at the Timmins Museum.
On June 25, the TSO will also be presenting another concert featuring the group Jeans N’ Classics, playing the music of Billy Joel and Elton John.