Monday, 18 December 2017

Luke Jansen 'A Christmas Gift' Letter from our Editor Candice Anne Marshall to the Music Community

Dear Music Family:

When I was young, the best part about Christmas for my siblings and I wasn’t really the gifts under the tree that made it 'special'. It also wasn’t necessarily the food we ate, or the travelling to our grandparent’s homes to celebrate with our extended family either, (although, those things were all amazing!). It was the very MAGIC of it. Knowing that there was someone out there (the jolly old elf himself) who was thinking of us on that one special day. It’s the thought that this one person was seeing us go about our days all throughout the year and our very merit for receiving a ‘gift’ on Christmas day was a direct result of giving compassion, love, and generosity to others.

How funny life and experiences change us as we become adults. I mean, many of the same children that believed in Santa don’t always realize that everything we do doesn’t have to come with a reward. There are many who still expect something from doing a kind deed, and it’s those people who are missing the point: the very gesture of doing something kind for someone else IS the reward. You have no idea what it’s like to be the recipient of a kind gesture and wish you could give something back but simply lack either the resources, funds, or even the ability. I have been on both sides of this. I have had tough times and I have seen others have tough times too. And, I have seen this at the most inopportune times too, like Christmas. For some of us, the deep-rooted experiences of hardships, losses, and challenges have built and shaped us, but it always has a starting point and it is at these times that our compassion for humanity is most critical. Especially after a loss of a beloved family member, there are the ‘year of firsts’ as I refer to them and it’s that first Christmas, birthday, or any family celebration that is the hardest to endure. 

About six weeks ago, after we were wrapping up our massive Halloween campaign with Starlight Music Chronicles (SMC) and Limehead Radio, I was beginning to think of what would be THE best Christmas story that I could run with this year. As always when I am perplexed, I ask my mom (angel) to bring me a sign for what I need to do. I waited patiently, thinking that it would come in the form of some massive project or event that was happening that we could lend our support on via SMC and Limehead. ‘Or maybe it will be something thematic’, I thought to myself remembering the massive success of the Dacre Stoker interview for Halloween. It was only days later when I received a message in my inbox from a dear friend, that I realized just what would be our Christmas Story.  

I always believe that we don’t meet people by a stroke of luck. I believe that we meet the people we are meant to and in the time that we are supposed to. Krista and I had met, of all places, at a Palaye Royale show here in Edmonton at TheStarlite Room in February. I should have known something magical would come of this - it is how I came up with the name for Starlight Music Chronicles after seeing a magnificent performance by Johnny Marr. It also seemed fitting that we met at a live music performance: music has always brought me closer to my community and the amazing people I have come to know in the music industry in Edmonton. We struck up a friendship immediately and after following a lot of the things I support like Morgan’s Mission Memorial and RichardsLegacy Foundation (to name a few), she felt comfortable in bringing me the ‘Luke Jansen’ story.

Luke Murray Jansen was a young Musician who, at only 22 (and a half) died suddenly in a tragic accident on the morning of October 6th, 2017. His passing is very recent, and his absence has been felt very acutely in the lives of his roommates, bandmates, friends, and most of all, his family. It has impacted the Edmonton, Alberta, Canada music community greatly, for Luke was not only a very talented Musician and friend, he was also very supportive with mentorship programs as he himself had been the recipient of kindness from others through these same forms of mentorship in his music as well as education.

The following is an excerpt written by his family as per the website,

     “Luke Jansen’s Legacy: Mentoring and Music MakingOur son Luke Murray Jansen had many mentoring opportunities in his life, and they helped him thrive and become the beautiful person we love! Unique, creative, questioning, open to others, willing to risk making the world a better place, and yet being human with strengths and weaknesses like each of us.Luke’s mentoring opportunities started early. In junior high, he had basketball officiating mentors, and this continued through every level of his officiating. These older youth, young and older adults modelled various ways of communicating, handling conflict, engaging people you’ve never met before, and of course specific about the game of basketball.In high school, he had adult mentors in Model United Nations, Facey Leadership Initiative and Creative Music. Here he was given opportunities to create new ideas, projects and music from scratch with mentors who brought out the best in him, encouraged healthy risk and were flexible in ways that encouraged real creativity, real opportunities to flourish.Strathcona County, the community he grew up in, also added to the opportunities. There was the young performers section of Festival Place’s Patio Series, and the career mentoring through the municipality where he mentored an Edmonton lawyer for one day who had an impactful discussion with him on balancing career and family life.Luke grew as a musician. Luke and his North of Here bandmates Ian, Will and Caleb had more gifts of mentorship through musicians, producers and public radio in the Alberta arts community. Alberta Music and School of Song at the Canmore and Edmonton Folk Music Festivals to name a couple provided Luke with so much joy and growth in his music career.Luke grew as a community leader.   His University of Alberta political science degree included many opportunities to talk with and interview other people who cared about community and cared about music. David Shepherd and Myrhe’s Music owners Alfie and Byron all took time with Luke to let him interview them and understand their community leadership and music journeys so he could chart his own path.Any of Luke’s successes were truly many people’s successes.
On October 6, 2017, Luke could describe himself as: 
      ·  a new graduate of the University of Alberta,
·  a new neighbor with three roommates in the Parkallen neighborhood in Edmonton,
·  an Election Assistant training election workers for the October municipal election in Strathcona County,
·  a potential hire within the Alberta legislative system in November when his election contract ended,
·  a member of the band North of Here with a busy practice and recording schedule and two grant applications in for their new album,
·  and a happy and well-loved son and brother looking forward to two Thanksgiving dinners with his family on the upcoming weekend. 
     The results of all these amazing mentorship opportunities, both formal and informal, were beginning to flourish in the person Luke had become.Sadly though, all Luke’s creativity, beautiful voice and dynamic personality were silenced in an instant when Luke died at the end of a morning run before work in a tragic accident. Luke died at 22 ½ years old on Friday October 6, 2017 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
We hope Luke's life will continue to bring meaning and purpose to others.Luke’s love of music and community can shine through in thisMentoring and Music Making Memorial.” 
      Brad & Z’Anne Harvey-Jansen"

I recall the classic ‘Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ story and why I loved it so much as a child and even more so today as I sit writing this excerpt. ‘Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps…means a little bit more!’ is what the Grinch surmised. With that, I envision his heart expanding, followed by the epic return to ‘Whoville’ with all the 'Who Villagers' presents and trimmings overflowing from his abundant sleigh. He realized that Christmas, for the Who’s would still come despite what they were missing, simply because they were together at Christmas.

And that’s really just my point: One family in my beloved music community isn’t all going to be together at Christmas, but I do know that the presence of love among them and the legacy their son left behind IS the gift. Despite the sorrow and the pain of this immense loss, this family chooses to rise above and make this first Christmas without their son and brother one to remember by ‘paying it forward’ so to speak.

Here's where all of us come in:

A beautiful website has been created for and by the Harvey-Jansen family in memory of Luke. There are beautiful tributes through written words and photos shared on the site. In addition, the family has begun a memorial fund which is in the form of a GoFundMe campaign they have titled and officially hashtagged: #LukeJansenAChristmasGift. Money raised from this campaign will go right back into the Edmonton community for music-mentorship programs which Luke was grateful to have been a part of. Although the memorial fund is in its’ early stages, the GoFundMe campaign has been up for 2 weeks now and I invite everyone in my music community and beyond to contribute to this fund and help make this a Christmas the Harvey-Jansen family will never forget. Even if you can't afford it, simply spreading awareness of this campaign is spreading the love with knowledge that this program for mentorship can only exist with our help. That’s just what Luke would have wanted.

"Maybe, just maybe, Christmas means something more.

With love, adoration, and respect to my Music Family,
let’s make this happen!
Candice Anne Marshall
Editor | Starlight Music Chronicles

*Please be advised that the GoFundMe Memorial campaign will run up until December 31st, 2017 on the SMC and Limehead Radio platforms. However, this does not mean that the Harvey-Jansen Family will shut the campaign down as this memorial fund will be ongoing into 2018. SMC will continue to support. 


To hear my exclusive interview with the Harvey-Jansen family on Limehead Radio which aired December 7th, 2017, (click here)

To donate to the GoFundMe campaign for music mentorship in Luke Jansen’s’ memory (click Here) or simply click on the 'Donate' button below. 

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