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REMARKABLE TEACHER 27 December 2018 Professionally Speaking I f you ask Canadians what comes to mind when they hear the name "Steven Page," they'll no doubt think back to the iconic and ironic Barenaked Ladies — the homegrown pop/rock group that the award-winning lead singer co-founded 30 years ago. Although Page has enjoyed a successful solo career since — as a performing- recording artist and theatrical composer — the memory of his earlier years and that signature song "If I Had $1,000,000" is what likely lingers most. It's in that crowd-pleasing classic that Page and his bandmates dream up a list of what they would buy if they suddenly became rich — everything from a Picasso painting to a monkey. The song's lyrics would lead most to assume that the potential of making millions was the driving factor behind the soft-spoken singer's earliest ambitions. After speaking with Page, however, it's clear that that end goal had nothing to do with his original dream: "I believed in the power of music and that I was capable of achieving something much greater than myself." Appropriately enough, Page came to this somewhat-spiritual awakening in London's awe-inspiring Westminster Abbey, where he sang with the Scarborough Schools Youth Choir at age 15. How does a teenager from Scarborough, Ont., end up singing in such a sacred space steeped in years and years of tradition? "You meet the right person at the right time," says Page, "And they can truly change your life — that's what Mr. Allen did for me." In a career spanning over three decades — from graduating in 1961 with an Honours degree in vocal performance from the University of Western Ontario (now Western University) until he retired in 1995 — Garth Allen has been a major educational force in Ontario music. In addition to being a classroom teacher, his notable achievements include 27 years as the Scarborough Board of Education's supervisor of music, as well as founder and conductor of the Scarborough Chamber Choir (later known as the internationally acclaimed Scarborough Schools Youth Choir) from 1972–95. Born in 1938 in Warkworth, Ont., a community in Northumberland County, Allen recalls a major emphasis on music throughout his childhood. His parents started him in piano lessons at five and by 15 years old, Allen added voice lessons to the mix. Behind the Lyrics Canadian music icon Steven Page discusses the teacher who helped him fine-tune his self-confidence and excel at something he loved. BY RICHARD OUZOUNIAN

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