follow different paths
16, 1999, Gazette)
music students have a long history of excellence.
Thomas Yee won first prize in the national finals of the Canadian
Music Competitions and is now working on his doctorate at the
prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.
Bella is a concert artist and her recent performances include
her debut with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in Brahms
Requiem, Handels Messiah with Toronto Classical Singers,
a benefit gala for Nobel Peace Prize winner Doctors Without Borders
and her debut recital at Montreals Chapelle historique
plays horn in the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra.
The Newfoundland music establishment is peppered with Memorial
grads: Susan Quinn directs the award-winning Holy Heart of Mary
choirs; Grant Etchegary, conducts the honours band of the Avalon
East Consolidated Board; and Susan Knight directs the Newfoundland
Symphony Youth Choir.
music students are following their own paths to a career, whether
in music or not.
recently found himself on a regional stage of another sort. The
fourth year performance major was Memorials representative
on the CBC Radio show, Saturday Afternoon at the Opera.
CBC Radio Two introduced a student opera quiz as part of its
intermission for the show. Memorial faculty member Dr. Paul Rice,
who has been associated with the show for the past nine years,
has generally served as a member of the quiz team for the show.
was chosen as one of nine centres and three MUN students took
part Carolyn Mackey, Clay Puddester and Mr. Powell. It
aired the next day on Radio One in St. Johns.
headed to Halifax Oct. 22 to take part in the regional semifinal.
But it wasnt
all fun and games. Atlantic finalists took part in a master class
with quiz show host Stuart Hamilton, an opera coach who has worked
with Canadian tenor superstar Ben Heppner.
show was a bit of a lark, Mr. Powell, a baritone, is serious
about his pursuit of a career in opera.
is something that interests me and I hope to pursue opera school
at the University of Toronto, he said.
Memorial music students have often found themselves moving from
the concert stage to the cozy stages of the downtown bars and
is a piano major who also plays bass in a rock band.
I started playing bass last Christmas because I decided
that I want to be a bass player, she said. With that
I just played the bass non-stop until I had my chops enough to
get in a band.
I could learn the bass quickly because from the knowledge I had
from music, Im piano player, I could bring the knowledge
I had from piano into my bass playing.
gig now is with Sirens, a pop/jazz quartet. In the past she played
bass with the Eddy Stevens Quartet, keyboards with the Jeff Winsor
Band, and right now shes rehearsing with a new all-female
band called Live Girls, with the first show expected early in
the new year.
school and gigging is a lot of work, she said.
semester Im finding it really difficult to have school
and bands at the same time. Theres so many rehearsals with
the band and you play so much downtown. And then at school you
have so much to do because you have a major, your practical instrument,
and mine is piano, so ideally you have to get five hours a day
practice in there. Plus there are concerts you have to go to
and private teaching that most music students do.
Every semester students are required to be in a MUN ensemble.
This semester shes playing in the jazz band, where she
also plays bass.
But she said
she wouldnt give up the atmosphere of the bar stage.
classical music is definitely much more structured and there
are expectations there that you have to meet. But with the rock
music, I find its much more relaxing to go downtown and
play in front of a smoky bar because everyones enjoying
what youre doing and theres no better feeling than
looking out and seeing people dancing to the music.
musical tradition is reflected in the quality of music students
at Memorial, the schools director, Dr. Maureen Volk, is
quick to praise the faculty for the success of the students.
years ago we had a visiting prof here on sabbatical replacement.
At the end of his time we said Tell us what you think,
she said. He said what really struck him was we had no
deadwood (on faculty).
also a lot of interest and support for music in the province.
Ask Dr. Volk
to name some outstanding students, and its a job to get
her off the phone.
Memorial music student Michelle Lee finished third in the Newfoundland
Symphony Orchestras Young Artist Competition. Ms. Lee,
a second-year piano student, had her performance of Schumanns
Piano Concerto in A Minor interrupted by a fire alarm. She returned
20 minutes later to complete her performance. Fiddle player Danette
Eddy won an award from the Music Industry Association of Newfoundland
and Labrador. Earlier this year, music students Sarah Collins
and E. Mark Murphy produced the rock opera Tommy. Paramita Nath
is a visual artist and musician who submitted the winning design
in the students union logo competition.
As the conversation
with Dr. Volk draws to a close, shes still rhyming off
names. Danette Dickinson, piano; Rob Thompson, trumpet; Heather
Tuach, cellist; Sarah Smith, flutist; Damien Walsh, saxophone;
Jennifer Stephen, tuba; Heather Kao; Leah Chisholm; Krista Howell
of Music Directors List for 1998-99 appears on Page 8.)