Outgoing University of Toronto Chancellor has an affinity for gospel music and flash mobs. An eclectic combination to be sure, but hey…he’s the Chancellor. Yesterday’s final convocation as Chancellor for David Peterson saw those two passions brought together in a powerful and moving tribute. If you’ve ever been to a graduation ceremony Convocation Hall, you’ll know that they can be stuffy in more ways than one. And although the air from this past week’s heatwave would have moved out of town by the time yesterday’s proceedings began, I imagine that the heat and humidity that would have collected in the 100 year-old building over the week would still be lurking in the rafters.
Over the years, the flash mob concept has become a familiar option for those wanting to make their mark. The modern day “mobs” are highly-organized, well-planned but almost always, a surprise. And while I appreciate the preparations that have led to some effective flash-performances over the past couple of years, I’m always moved by the raw emotion, expressed by audience members: surprise, delight, wonder, joy. It’s well worth the price of admission (or the time on YouTube!)
You would expect a flash mob organized by the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music to be of very high quality; and it was. But, watch the emotion on David Peterson’s face. This is the power of surprise, the power of the moment…and the power of the Arts!