Paul Benedetti, a University of Western Ontario Faculty of Information and Media Studies lecturer, picked up his first-ever National Newspaper Award, Friday in Ottawa. Benedetti, a former Hamilton Spectator reporter who now writes a weekly column for the newspaper, won for best short feature.
His winning piece describes how his daughter learned to play Debussy’s Clair de Lune as a Christmas present in memory of a grandmother she never knew. For top honours, he beat out Ingrid Peritz of the Globe and Mail and Oakland Ross of the Toronto Star.
A portion of the winning feature follows:
“… Ella is getting ready, but not in the usual way. She has not been saving her babysitting money or checking online catalogues. She’s been practising – learning, slowly and sometimes arduously, the complicated and beautiful passages of Debussy’s Clair de Lune.
She does this almost every night, sitting at the piano in our living room. The same piano, a lovely Heintzman baby grand that her grandmother played on many evenings, many years ago. Ella never heard her grandmother play, but has heard countless times about the song she loved most – Clair de Lune. One afternoon, a few months ago, Ella asked her mother to drive to the music store where she bought the sheet music, came home and began to practice. …”
Read the entire award-winning story at his website (scrolling down to the entry, “A gift of long-remembered music”).