Almost anytime you're nominated for an award, it's flattering. When it's an award that's handed out in your hometown, it's just that much more special. That was the prevailing sentiment of many of the nominees for the 2007 Mississauga Arts Awards.
In total, 27 artists were nominated in 10 categories during a ceremony held earlier this evening at the Meadowvale Theatre. Mississauga Arts Council president Benjamin Thornton said there were almost 70 artists and groups that applied. "There certainly isn't a lack of talent in Mississauga, so we had to go out and find it," said Thornton. "We really put the word out this year." Giselle Acosta, who helped found the Speak Up! Student Short Film & Video Fest, said the nomination in the Emerging Media Arts category was certainly welcome and a bit surprising.
"I know it sounds kind of corny, but it really was unexpected," said Acosta. "Actually, having (the community) say that you're do something right is inspiring."
Also nominated, but in the Emerging Performing Arts category, was Port Credit's Erica Peck. The actor is currently starring as Scaramouche in the award-winning Toronto musical We Will Rock You. Earlier this year, Peck was nominated for a 2007 Dora Mavor Moore Award for her turn in the show. She suggested the Mississauga Arts Award might hold a bit more allure to her.
"It's not about (which award) is bigger, but what's more important to you," said Peck. "It's amazing to be nominated. You work so long and hard, being (recognized) is very nice. Actually, I did my first musical here (in Meadowvale Theatre)."
Other nominees include:
• Emerging Literary Arts - J. Nichole Noel and Moushumi Chakrabarty
• Established Literary Arts - Helen Pereira and the late Beth Southcott
• Emerging Performing Arts - Isis Giraldo, Chris Graham and Austin MacDonald
• Established Performing Arts - Boris Hrovat, Tom Juhas and Robert Tardik
• Emerging Performing Arts Group - Bridging the Gap, Keepin' 6 and The Knockouts
• Established Performing Arts Group - Meadowvale Music Theatre, Mississauga Youth Orchestra and Sampradaya Dance Creations
• Emerging Visual Arts - Fausta Facciponte, Alison Kobayashi and Andrew Verhoeckx
• Established Visual Arts - Cesar Forero, Ranajit Sinha, Doreen Renner
• Emerging Media Arts - Jeff Campagna and Michael Jessen
• Established Media Arts - Gabriella Bank
And, it wasn't just nominations for the 2007 Mississauga Arts Awards that were being announced.
In fact, the local arts community took a few minutes to honour two of their own as a pair of awards were handed out to two deserving residents.
Cristina Sanchez, a piano teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music who is also a composer and choir director, received the Beverley A. Ryan Arts Volunteer of the Year Award. Sanchez helped found the Filipino vocal group called The Himig Pilipino Choral Ensemble. During her tenure with the ensemble, she has guided them to awards from both the Kiwanis Music Festival and the CBC Choir Competition. Since 1982, she has also served as the music director at the St. Ignatius Loyola parish.
"It is very touching to be recognized," the soft-spoken Sanchez told The News. "This is something I love doing. It is a passion for me. Every Sunday for the past 25 years I've been at practice. Hopefully, now I can rest for a bit. We started as a group of friends who gathered each week to sing together simply for the love of music and, after a while, we wanted to bring our love of music to more people."
Also receiving an award, albeit in absentia, was John Barnum. The music director of Orchestras Mississauga for a whopping three decades, Barnum was honoured with the Laurie Pallett Patron of the Arts Awards. The Mississauga Arts Awards are handed out annually by the Mississauga Arts Council. This year's edition happens on October 22 at Stage West Theatre. Past winners include Streetsville’s hard-charging punk-influenced foursome Billy Talent, former Triumph frontman and guitarist Rik Emmett as well as international jazz phenomenon Oscar Peterson.
For more information, visit www.mississaugaartscouncil.com.