From left, NAC Gala honourary chair Sophie Grégoire Trudeau with NAC Orchestra maestro Alexander Shelley and Canadian jazz musician Diana Krall at the NAC Gala held at the National Arts Centre on Saturday, October 22, 2016. ERNESTO DI STEFANI / GEORGE PIMENTEL PHOTOGRAPHY
Hard hats were not required for Saturday night’s 20th annual National Arts Centre Gala but NAC Foundation chief executiveJayne Watson pulled the look off when she came out on stage wearing one, just for fun.
“Welcome to the NAC, which, in case you didn’t know, stands for Neverending Annoying Construction,” she joked of the massive renovation that will transform Canada’s performing arts building by summer. “Next year it’s going to be New Awesome Centre.”
Canadian jazz musician Diana Krall performed at this year’s concert during the National Arts Centre Gala held at the NAC on Saturday, October 22, 2016. ERNESTO DI STEFANI / GEORGE PIMENTEL PHOTOGRAPHY
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau continued the tradition of prime ministerial spouses serving in an honourary role. She appeared on stage in a floral-inspired beauty of a dress by Toronto-based fashion designer Lucian Matis. She announced the evening’s net total for the National Youth and Education Trust, in support of the NAC’s arts education programs across Canada. It ended up being $724,500, after more money was raised at the late-night live auction at dinner.
She spoke about her appreciation for the performing arts, and of growing up with music, culture, theatre and film.
“Want to hear me sing? Not tonight,” she knowingly quipped. She shared a cute story about wanting to play piano as a girl. Her parents – who were in attendance with her that night — did finally buy a piano, only to realize it wouldn’t fit through the door of their old home. “So, I played the flute,” she said, upbeat....
Also to take the stage was Victor Dodig, president and chief executive of presenting sponsor CIBC. He took a moment to remember the late Jim Prentice, former politician and vice-chairman of CIBC. Prentice, along with his wife Karen, was very supportive of the NAC Gala cause.
Seen that night were Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and such colleagues as Justice Suzanne Côté and Justice Michael Moldaver, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Chief Government Whip Andrew Leslie, Treasury Board President Scott Brison, and Liberal Party of Canada president Anna Gainey. Attendees also included U.S. Ambassador Bruce Heyman and British High Commissioner Howard Drake.
Returning to chair the gala committee was Gary Zed.