When Go Kimberley Magazine featured Arne Sahlen they led with the headline: A Heart So Big. So it’s no surprise that this man with such a big heart is taking the time to come to Golden and help raise funds to bring a refugee family to Golden.
On Tuesday evening he will be joining some local talent for the performance Music, Meaning and Mirth! All funds raised at the event will go to the Golden Opportunities for Refugees group and their goal to bring a refugee family to the community.
Sahlen is the perfect person to perform at such an event for two reasons. The first is that he is a renowned piano player and teacher from Kimberley. And the second is his extensive work with refugee groups. He will be playing Beethoven, Joplin, Boogie, Chopin and more.
Sahlén studied piano with many renowned teachers, and was lauded as “…the most gifted composition student I have taught during the past thirty years!” in writing by teacher Dr. Edward Parker. He won two Royal Conservatory Silver Medals and the Gold Medal; in 1978 he won the Victoria Rose Bowl and BC Provincial Senior Piano Championship. He attended Banff School of Fine Arts on scholarship, then settled in Kimberley BC in 1981 – for two or three years, he thought then!
Sahlen has performed and taught internationally, in large part as a regular Visiting Professor at Cambodia’s Royal University of Fine Arts. A piano and composing adjudicator in well over 120 festivals to date, he earns responses such as: “You have the great ability to make students feel they have accomplished much, while giving them ‘tools’ to move even further… and all with such humour and goodwill.”He was called “the Robin Williams of festival judges!” by a happy BC parent.
Sahlen is President of the Cambodia Support Group, which resettled 204 refugees in Canada. He has travelled 20 times to Cambodia developing CSG projects in respectful partnership with the locals. He received the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award (now named Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers) in Year 2000 for arts and humanitarian commitment.
Also performing at Music, Meaning and Mirth! will be the Golden Secondary School Band, Madeline Archibald, the piano students of Jacquelyn Ohnander, as well as music teacher Sue Gould and her students.
The show is the Golden Civic Centre on Tuesday May 30 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is by donation.