Surrey honoured five more ‘civic treasures’ at the eighth annual Business and the Arts reception this month at Surrey Arts Centre – and they include names well known to many on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.
The honourees Nov. 9 included bassoonist-impresario George Zukerman, conductor and Surrey Youth Symphony conductor Lucille Lewis, painter and mixed media artist Sheila Symington, performer and arts advocate Ed Milaney, and longtime community booster Bonnie Burnside.
Zukerman is a symphonic and chamber music bassoonist, Order of Canada and Order of B.C. recipient, founder and artistic director of the highly successful White Rock Concerts subscription series since 1956, and a tireless touring musician, concert promoter and educator.
Until her retirement this spring, Lewis was the conductor and artistic director of the Surrey Youth Symphony, which over the past 35 years has given hundreds of young classical musicians their first orchestral experience. She was also founding president of its fund-raising umbrella organization the Surrey Symphony Society and its subsidiary groups the Intermediate Strings and Junior Strings.
Symington, in addition to her ever-evolving personal artistic vision, has also been an organizing member of the White Rock and South Surrey Art Society and was co-creator and organizer of the successful White Rock Summer School of the Arts, which brought many artists and internationally-recognized instructors to the region for extended workshops.
Longtime musical theatre performer, director and all-around arts advocate Milaney, has served on the boards of the Surrey Arts Council, Surrey Little Theatre and the Young People’s Opera Society of B.C., and was a member of the host committee for the B.C. Festival of the Arts in Surrey and the Surrey Public Arts Advisory Committee.
Burnside, former owner and operator of Stardust Enterprises (she continues to oversee the Stardust Kids on Wheels programs), has been a member and volunteer with the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association since 2003.
She is president of the Whalley Community Association, vice-president of the B.C. and national inline hockey associations, and board member of the Surrey Association for Sustainable Communities, Surrey Arts Council, Surrey Christmas Bureau and the North Surrey Lions Club.
Candian Heritage and Offical Languages minister James Moore delivered a rousing speech about the need for arts funding at the event, which included the official unveiling of the newly-renovated Surrey Arts Centre Main Stage theatre.
Hosted by comedians Roman Danylo and Ellie Harvie – a South Surrey resident who brought laughs when she told the crowd that while she’s no “Surrey Treasure,” she hopes one day to be a “Surrey Trinket” – the evening closed with an inspired classical medley by violin soloist Calvin Dyck.