Celebrating a strong, creative, resilient Lunenburg County
NOW, MORE THAN EVER...
by DONNA LEON
Burt Wathen has found the perfect groove in a great Victorian building, and he couldn’t be happier. From stunning strings to smokin’ hot jazz, there’s rarely a quiet
moment at the Lunenburg Academy of Musical Performance (LAMP). On the third floor in a light-infused classroom, teachers and students warm up by singing Italian madrigals. Down the hall, two young tenors sing a duet about getting coffee. In the kitchen, a visiting tenor unpacks a meal of authentic Korean food he intends to share with new friends.
Wathen is founder and artistic director of LAMP. Born in Sydney and raised in New Brunswick, Wathen is a renowned viola player who has taught and performed on three continents. “Burt’s goal was to create a future for this building”, says Susan Corkum-Greek, LAMP’s general manager. “He wanted to assemble a world-class performance school that would be embraced by the community, and that certainly has happened”. Since 2014, the grand building that sits majestically above the Town of Lunenburg has been the Academy’s home. The former school is a Canadian architectural treasure, the only intact 19th
century academy building surviving in Nova Scotia. LAMP offers advanced studies in performance and interpretation in a variety of musical disciplines and styles that range from
Renaissance to Contemporary, piano, strings, chamber music, voice and opera, composition, world music and jazz.
“LAMP can be life-changing for young artists”, says Wathen. “It’s a place where these performers can grow, a place where they can discover their full artistic potential”.
The building’s 200-seat auditorium overlooks Old Town Lunenburg. The high ceilings, the wooden detailing, large, airy practice rooms and a state of the art recording studio are
impressive. You can see the Atlantic from most classroom windows. Young artists from 25 countries have studied at LAMP under the guidance of sought-after Canadian and international performing artists. Volunteers assist with everything from airport pickups to
food and housing. Many deep bonds have been created within these hallowed halls.
“Every artist that comes here to teach or perform has agreed to return”, says Susan Corkum-Greek. “They love the space, they love being beside the ocean, and they adore the community. It’s really been a gift”.
Burt Wathen echoes that sentiment. He knows he has created something unique with LAMP, and he’s proud to call Lunenburg home.