Allison Brook Sloan (1951-2015): A PAL Vancouver Legacy
“Allison was a huge influence on my son’s ability to play music and also on his ability to focus and work hard towards something beautiful. This gift we will appreciate as a family forever. She was one of a kind, a truly caring and gifted person who taught from the heart. May she now rest in peace.”
As a professional violinist for over forty years, Allison Sloan recognized how precarious the lives of her fellow musicians could be, especially with complications such as illness, injury, financial difficulty, or aging. Allison strongly supported PAL’s vibrant community; our unique roof-top theatre used by residents to continue their creative lives; and the rental assistance we provide in 70% of our suites.
Although she was independent throughout her life, Allison reached out to PAL in her last two years while she waited for a liver transplant. She moved into a near-market suite and continued to teach violin until her health began to deteriorate. She then donated her cherished Yamaha piano to the 8th floor Pat Armstrong Lounge. Allison was a PAL donor when she worked as a violinist in the Vancouver Opera Orchestra; and before she passed away she named PAL Vancouver as a beneficiary in her will, contributing the largest legacy to PAL Vancouver’s rental assistance program since our founding.
For 32 years Allison performed as a violinist with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. She was also a dedicated teacher for 41 years. Born in Ontario, Allison grew up in Calgary with her aunt and uncle. Early in her career, after being nominated by her influential teacher, Dr. Lise Elson, she won a scholarship to study in Los Angeles.
By 1967 she was a member of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and in 1977 Allison moved to Vancouver to join the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. Further highlights of her distinguished career include three western Canada tours with the Winnipeg Ballet; and West Coast performances for the National Ballet of Canada, the Bolshoi Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Northwest Ballet, and Ballet BC. She also had a gig as a backup musician on a Michael Bublé record.
Allison taught privately; coached string sections for UBC summer institutes and for the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra; she was a faculty member at the Vancouver Academy of Music for twenty years; and instructed at several Suzuki summer institutes in the US. The Shinichi Suzuki quotation Allison shared with her students was, Music is a language that goes beyond speech and letters – a living art that is almost mystical. This is where its emotional impact comes in. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven – without exception they live clearly and palpably in their music, and speak forcefully to us, purifying us, refining us, and awakening in us the highest joy and emotion.
As an accomplished vegetarian cook, Allison enjoyed dining with her friends and colleagues over the years. In her spare time she also rescued feral cats in downtown Vancouver and volunteered at PAL, helping introduce new visitors to our unique social housing and cultural complex.
If you are considering ways to leave a lasting legacy to PAL Vancouver, please contact Karen Woodman for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.