Well it has been a while! We're back into full swing here at Lyrical Lines so I felt it due to write a blog post. Here are some musings by our Communication Coordinator about her transition into different aspects of community music and how it relates to the evolution that Lyrical Lines has undergone.
Since I last chatted with the Community Music web I know I have transformed a long way. I now have a Bachelor's Degree in Music. I got accepted to and am currently in a Master of Arts in Community Music at Wilfrid Laurier. In less than a year I already feel a change in the winds. I have found my place as a Community Musician and I feel that is going to be imparted on the way Lyrical Lines is going to go.
My professor and friend of Lyrical Lines, Dr. Lee Willingham provided an opportunity to submit papers to the International Society for Music Education (IMSE) for their 2016 Conference in Scotland. There was to be a special commission on Community Music Activity with a theme of Innovation and Change in Community Music. At first I was apprehensive about sending anything in. First of all, I haven't even finished a term of my Masters, let alone written a paper for a international conference. Lee encouraged me to send in an abstract anyway. The seminar for Community Music was to be structured on three themes, and one of them struck me as relevant to what I was doing. I did some research, looked at the questions and themes and came up with a draft. I was surprised with what I came up with. I realized the unique situation that we are at Lyrical Lines, you can see what I mean from my first draft.
In a case study of Lyrical Lines Education Network, a non-profit community music charity based in Waterloo, Canada, it was found that Lyrical Lines operates on a unique model. Community Music charities are not a rarity, while less common in Canada, they are seen in Community Music Schools and other performance-art-based community development. Lyrical Lines is unique among these charities as it facilitates music in the community by serving as an umbrella organization, providing support and facilitation to grassroots groups and provides a structure to deliver their programming. These grassroots organizations approach Lyrical Lines with a desire to expand, sustain and grow their programming, and Lyrical Lines adopts the groups into the family. With Lyrical Lines as the formal charitable entity, they provide security, support and facilitation that these groups might not be able to attain, while allow them the freedom to continue at the grassroots level.
Lyrical Lines, not unlike the programs under their umbrella, originated as a grassroots organization itself before becoming a corporate charity. From its beginnings, Lyrical Lines has forged a unique relationship and niche within the community. Beginning in the early 2000s, Lyrical Lines began as what the founders called a Music Education charity. Over the past twelve years, Lyrical Lines has found itself, evolving and becoming more centered over the idea of education through community music. Lyrical Lines, like many other studies, found the weakness of the school music education, extending the arm of community to initiate lifelong learning. Lyrical Lines, after a needs based origins, evolved into the unique community music charity and has found itself in within an evolution similar to that which the community musician is facing in the 21st century. This looks at its unique position, evolution, and changes as it faces the new community music.
I feel that says it all. We are unique, we are ever changing and evolving like a person. We are coming of age, finding ourselves, new adventures, new relationships, new paths... There is something in that, that I can really relate to. It is so similar to my own experience. I began as a performer, and decided to be a music educator. Halfway through my undergrad I wanted to be an educator, but I didn't want to be in the classroom, I felt it too restraining. I wanted to make people better for and through music, and I wanted a musical experience for people that could be lifelong and transformative. I didn't want to stop at high school, I wanted to educator beyond all barriers, borders. That was how I got into community music. And I think from my quick bit of research, thought and writing, that was how Lyrical Lines came to community music, and came to be educational in the community.
So we're basically the same people on the same life journey. Very appropriate that I'm here then!
We’re at that time of year, when every single charity is going to ask you to give a seasonal gift to charity. You are always pressed to make your donation to their cause and their needs are the greatest. This is going to be one of those times, but I guess I am going to try and take a different spin on it.
When I was young, money wasn't something I thought about. I knew I wasn't from a rich family and I was ok with it, it didn't really bother me. But as I got older I found that more things I wanted to do with my life and passions always seemed to involve money. Time and time again I found myself facing barriers simply because my family and I didn't have money. The first time that this really hit me was when I wanted private music lessons. By the time I was in grade nine I knew that I wanted to go to university for music (back then I wanted to be a famous opera singer but that’s another story!). My parent’s own their own business and money was tight. I ended up working most of my summers and a lot of weekends to be able to pay for my voice lessons, it wasn't easy, especially with the busy high school musician schedule (rehearsals and concerts almost every day of the week). When I got to the end of grade ten I was looking at university applications and realized I needed more piano training. I was faced with yet another hurdle, more money and more money that I couldn't find. I needed this; I wanted nothing more than to go to university and to be successful at it. It was at that point that I was so blessed by charity and donations; I was able to take my piano lessons for two years with an amazing teacher who I still work with today. If I had not had my opportunity I would never have gotten into university, I would not have been as successful as I am and I might not be making an impact now, but I hope I can make one in the future.
This is one specific story. I can tell you there are countless stories of people who do not have access to music for a multitude of reasons. The most common one is financial reasons, music lessons and music is just expensive. For this reason it seems to be privileged and available to only those who can afford it. When people are faced with these barriers all sorts of talents and experiences are lost. I sometimes sit here when I work and think how many people are left behind. How many students have missed out on an opportunity to make music? This education is not just for the students, it’s for teachers as well. In this time of chaos and hectic lives it becomes more difficult to get professional development. Many times having access to workshops in your area is limited and the cost are usually high. The learning doesn't end when you’re done school and it is important for music makers, conductors, teachers and leaders to have new tools to bring to their groups. It is important to network and build these communities together. These workshops aren't just for learning skills and tools; it’s about learning who you have around you. The importance of building community cannot be stressed enough. Sometimes you need a group or a community to make music with and it is not available.
That is where we come in.
This charity started because we felt there was a need, a need to take down the barriers and provide opportunities for people to make music. Community Music School takes down the barriers to allow youth to have access to music lessons. The joy that is seen in these children and teens is palpable, Music improves their life. It’s only because of the hard work by the people of Community Music School and Lyrical Lines that it’s possible. It not only provides lessons for youth but gives young teachers a chance to learn and explore teaching styles. Our newest program, Jazz in the Schools, is bringing jazz music into the classroom. Jazz is not something that is commonly examined in the regular music classroom and kids don’t really have access to learn it anywhere without private instruction or camps and other really expensive programs. Mary-Catherine takes it right into the schools and not only teaches jazz skills but instills ideals of collaboration, teamwork, self-esteem and confidence. Age of Majority Singers filled a niche in this community, and outlet to provide new adults a place to come and make music together. Not only is the program low cost compared to many other choirs it is lower commitment, people come to make music and it does not draw on a lot of time. This is so valuable to the student, young professional or more importantly new parents. The skill and experience that Nancy Kidd provides in her rehearsal is professional development for many of the young teachers and music students that are in the choir. We also provide professional development in our workshops and events like the Winter and our upcoming Spring Symposium.
This huge list of things that we do have a few things in common. First, we take down barriers, we make the impossible, possible. Second we help, we provide projects that people need and create better music learning for everyone. Lastly, I think we build community. It has been through my work with Lyrical Lines as a recipient and a facilitator of this organization that I have come across so many people. We are making this community in Waterloo Region a better place with music. There is nothing that brings a culture, a society or civilization together quite like music. Here, we open that coming together of community to as many people in the community that we possibly can.
Remember at the beginning of this blog (scroll up if you want), this is a plea. We are a non-profit, charitable organization. We need help from people like you, people who love music: listening, making, sharing... It doesn't happen for free. It has only since working with Lyrical Lines I've learned that there are really obscure things that soak up money that you don’t even think of. I always thought of buying music, instruments, paying clinicians and renting venues. I had no concept of insurance, accounting, legal fees, printing costs... When you think of all of these random things on top of all of the things you think of it really starts to add up. So here is the plea, please donate. You can donate to Lyrical Lines as a whole which helps pay for those general costs or you can donate to a program specifically. You can donate online through our Canada Helps page. You are our community, you are part of what we do and what we’re working for, we build community through all of these experiences we provide and whether or not you take part you still benefit.
Lyrical Lines Education Network Inc. builds community through the support and facilitation of accessible music experiences in Waterloo Region.
On a cold Saturday morning I was on my way to work at Music Plus. I was tired, probably a bit cranky and I really wasn't ready for the day. I was standing waiting at my bus stop when a father and his young daughter came and waited next to me. They looked far keener than I did at 8:30 in the morning. Her father was smiling gently and talking to her quietly. Clutched tightly to her chest was a book I quickly recognized, a piano method book. I thought it odd to see a girl going to a piano lesson so early in the morning. When I was her age you could guarantee I would not go to a lesson at 9:00am and be happy about it. She looked delighted, excited and exuberant. As we trundled down King Street I waited to see where they got off, but I got off at my stop and they continued on their way.
I made my way into 5 Michael St. to meet with the Community Music School to help them start their day. I was chatting away and slowly waking up when I saw a familiar father and daughter walk into the school. Then it clicked, she was a Community Music School student! Suddenly a complete rush of joy came over me. Knowing what I do every day and what the amazing people of Community Music School do around the clock had brought this daughter and father joy, it was an incredible. As we have gone farther and worked harder for the community music school we see this more and more, we hear it in the students and even the teachers.
It’s an amazing thing when the work you do is impactful and it brings experiences and knowledge to a person. That is what we do at Lyrical Lines every day. It’s actually part of our mandate if you want to get technical "Lyrical Lines Education Network Inc. builds community through the support and facilitation of accessible music experiences in Waterloo Region." What is even more amazing is when in the process of doing that for others you find joy in yourself. It’s a total win-win situation. Now that I’m working with Lyrical Lines in this capacity it is sometimes harder to remember the time when I was a recipient. The irony is I would not be here writing this today if it wasn't for the work that Lyrical Lines did for me.
It was the Choral Festival and the Symposium workshops that ignited my love for choral music. It was working with students across the region that gave me bonds I share today. It was seeing, learning and working with these clinicians and teachers that gave me lifelong connections. It was through all the events like Symposium and other workshops that I met so many of my future university professors. I met fellow Board Member and professor, Dr. Gerard Yun when he conducted the Waterloo Region Choral Festival, and he somehow picked me from the mob of 700 high school students. Since then we have had an amazing education and professional collaborative relationship. I met Dr. Lee Willingham at LLEN events as well and he has been my guide in philosophies on music education and choral leadership, molding and guiding me every step of the way. Those are just the top of the list, it can continue: Nancy Kidd, Dr. Julia Davids, Dr. Hillary Apfelstadt, Dr. Leonard Enns... It taught me not only about creating beautiful music, it really taught me about collaboration. It taught me that working together is stronger than working alone and it’s a lot more fun in the process.
Now I am here. I work to give Lyrical Lines a broader image, I try to connect all the pieces and keep everyone together. Sometimes in the day to day you get stuck on the details and can sometimes lose sight of what you are working for. I think that was why seeing that girl on that Saturday was so impactful for me. I got to see the work in progress; I got to see the benefit of what we do. Even though I facilitate and provide work that helps the charity to thrive, I am still in the same position as that young girl. I am still learning and seeing and collaborating and I can guarantee that I am not the only one. The beautiful thing about what Lyrical Lines does is the win-win. I get to give what I receive.
Rebecca McKay is the Communication Coordinator for Lyrical Lines Education Network. She is also completing her Bachelor's degree at WLU and is a lover of all things choral.
This week we're introducing you to our newest program in the Lyrical Lines family, Jazz in the Schools! It's director, Mary Catherine McNinch Pazzano, is a local jazz singer and music educator. Mary-Catherine (or MC as we call her) was raised and Waterloo Region and talks about how the music community is working in her life.
The Lifelong (and Life-Changing!) Impact of Music Communities
I have been lucky enough to be part of the K-W Music community for almost my entire life. As a vocal teacher, jazz educator, and singer, I have been surrounded by amazing musicians and people who have dedicated themselves to building meaningful music communities: school teachers, conductors, professors, bandmates. There are so many musical individuals that I have looked up to over the years that have changed me as a person and a musician. Many of them still play large roles in my life: as ardent supporters, confidantes, and friends.
The first time I remember truly feeling the impact of a community built through and by music was at Bluevale Collegiate, my high school. For the first time in my school-going life, I felt a sense of belonging. I found my home away from home, and my second family. Thanks to our life-changing, tireless, passionate music teachers (Nancy Kidd, John McLelland, Cam McBain), the students who went through our music program are now forever linked. No matter how far apart we now might be, we will forever be linked, as part of that community that made music together.
When I talk to fellow graduates of our program (some of whom are my very closest friends, and some of whom I am reunited with each week with Nancy's community choir, Age of Majority Singers), we reminisce and say: "Remember that time we got to sing in Carnegie Hall?" "Remember Friday music trivia day in Instrumental class?" "Remember the lunchtime hangouts in the vocal room which often turned into bonus choir practice?"
There's something that all those reminiscences have in common: we remember the we time spent together, not alone. We remember the times with each other: singing together in the stairwells, crying together, laughing together, travelling together. We remember the community, maybe even more than the specific music we actually made together. I remember those days so fondly, and they shaped who I became and who I am: a professional musician and music educator.
Now, 8 years later, with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Education under my belt, I feel like it's my turn to step into the role as "community leader": to shape and and build my own musical communities, and give back to this wonderful region of musicians that has given so much to me. Who better to start giving back to than to high school students? If my life journey changed course because of my Bluevale music community, why not pay it forward to current high schoolers? So, I have started a Jazz in the Schools program. Thanks to the support of Josh Hill and Megan Brenneman at Cameron Heights Collegiate, I recently started up the Jazz program to supplement and further shape the community that is already being built in the wonderful Cameron Heights music program. While teaching the fundamentals of jazz performance, we are also teaching the fundamentals of community interaction: teamwork, collaboration, listening to each other, creating a meaningful artistic experience together.
It is my hope that this program (which I hope will expand to even more schools and communities!) will create lasting memories like the ones I have from my high school years. Hopefully, they will have fond memories of their first public jazz gig, or their first school concert. Hopefully, they will come together as a supportive community of singers and instrumentalists to create a beautiful finished product, learn how to collaborate with and listen to each other. Hopefully, they will be proud of themselves and the accomplishments of their peers. It is my hope they remember their time together just as much as the music they make together.
Maybe, 8 years from now, the Jazz in the Schools students will be having coffee together, and say, "Remember...?"
Mary Catherine McNinch Pazzano
The final segment of our blog series by Dave Davidson. Here Dave talks about the next path music in our community should take. We'd like to thank Dave for his wonderful contribution.
The Importance of Community Music, Part 4:
Where Do We Go From Here?
There are still a few "Old Horses" out there in the music world. Those that have been
involved in community music forever - or so it would seem. The Bobby Harriots, the Carol Beynons and the Bram Gregsons of our world. Those who have dedicated their lives to glorious music making and who have been around long enough to share their passion with more than one generation. Those of us who have been 'touched' by their presence and experienced their passion are blessed. For, having experienced this drug, we are bound to carry the torch and to share this joy with others.
We are the ones that need to open doors for young conductors, who need to roll up our
sleeves and walk-the-talk. We need to show even younger musicians just what fun a group of managers, sales people, plumbers, and accountants (for example) can have when making music together. It is the duty of our generation to show the way, to lead by example to those who would be our future players, conductors, managers and supporters of community music. Unlike Europe's long tradition of community music making we are still a young country and have yet to reach maturity. That isn't to say that we can't be fast learners in our search to produce and support quality music making. We are the ones that need to convince our governments, Municipal, Provincial and Federal, of the importance of community music and the need for their support. This recognition and funding is essential to not only the well-being of community music but also to the well-being of society at large.
The world of Medicine has just begun to realize the importance of music to our
prolonged health and well-being. Study after study has shown the impact of the Arts, Music in particular, upon the development and prolonged good health of our minds and bodies. Without continued opportunities and the development of skills at an early age the performance of live music is in serious jeopardy. We who would carry the torch for Music must continue to insist that governments, doctors and music practitioners begin to pool their efforts and dollars to support opportunities for everyone to experience the beauty of the Arts. In these days of fiscal restraint the Arts can't be the first to be sacrificed. We are indeed at war and this is a battle we must win.
Dave Davidson is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Kitchener Musical Society Band.
"The Village that Feeds Me"
The Importance of Community Music, Part 3:
Beyond High School
For me, life beyond High School meant retirement after 32 years in the classroom. Thirty two years of playing tests and theory and history lessons; thirty-two years of concerts, musicals and festivals; thirty-two years of supportive parents, fund raising and music trips. When I took stock of those years I realized that I had looked forward to coming to school every day of my career. After all, I had the opportunity to impact young lives every day - to share my passion. When I did retire I became a "Community Volunteer" and arrived at my old school, Guelph Collegiate, once a week at 7:30 a.m., to coach the Jazz band. It was a nice way to ease out of the classroom yet stay in touch. However, that kind of calm didn't last long.
Once people hear that you are 'retired' they assume that you have all kinds of time on
your hands and are looking for things to do. Soon the phone started ringing, and ringing and emails began to appear in large numbers on my computer screen. The end result of all of this activity was that I found myself gleefully immersed in several projects that involved community music - Associate Director of New Horizons (Guelph), Sessional Instructor at the University of Guelph, Music Director and Conductor of the Kitchener Musical Society Band, performing with Brassroots (London), Windjammers (Waterloo), the Guelph Chamber Choir, my wife's Church choir and the Slide by Slide trombone quartet. I was immersed in the many facets of community music, from amateur to professional, from young students to senior citizens, and was enjoying every minute.
In observing the similarities and differences of these organizations, the first thing that
people will be aware of is that community music groups are made up almost entirely of
volunteers - people that do not receive any remuneration for their time spent in rehearsals or concerts. They do their music-making for the sheer joy of it and the only rewards are very personal ones. When we look more closely we will realize that although each organization has it's own 'culture' , it's own persona, they all have one thing in common - the love of creating something as beautiful as a piece of music with others. Yes, the 'with others' is a very important part of community music - the innate desire to belong, to make long lasting friends and most of all to simply be with others who share a common interest.
There is something infectious about this making music thing. Something that, once
experienced, makes its way into your every fibre. It's a drug that you must have. Otherwise, why is it that of the 54 members of our Seniors group almost 30% were raw beginners, learning how to play a musical instrument for the first time in their lives? Why is it that more and more University students seek out the KMSB as a place to continue playing the instrument they learned to love in high school? Why is it that a group of professional musicians, Brassroots, regularly play concerts for no fee or personal gain? Like Cupid's arrow, the joy of making music together has struck us down and the feeling just won't go away!
I love my Seniors group, New Horizons. I love their desire to learn; their tenacity and grit;
and the way their eyes light up when they finally 'get it'. I love my Community band, KMSB. I love their desire to meet the 'tough stuff' head on; their 'need' to make it to rehearsal (I like to call it stress relief); the look of sheer satisfaction after a concert done well. I love the desire to learn in my young students at U of G and their need to please their Prof (me). I love it when our quartet, Slide by Slide, or Brassroots nails a piece or simply really locks onto a chord and it rings and rings. I love practising as I strive to be better every day. I love how my Art and the people around me feed me - both my mind and my soul. Life is good!
Dave Davidson is the Musical Director and Conductor of the Kitchener Musical Society Band
We continue our four part series by contributer Dave Davidson about his journey into community music.
The Importance of Community Music, Part 2:
The Path Less Followed
There are those days when we just want to flop down in a comfy chair, have a good look
around you and ask, "How the heck did I end up here?" There are those paths that we follow in life that are more conventional - the ones that people, usually parents or teachers, tell us we should be following. They want us to do well and be successful in our lives. They take great care in their guidance and advice as they lead us toward our future. Or is it really "their" future? Parents, teachers and other mentors in our lives mean well and try their best to guide us with the very best of intentions, but sometimes they miss the mark.
In school I was not exactly your model student. Don't get me wrong, I did well - straight
A's in Elementary School and decent marks in High School - but when I turned 13 I became like a fish swimming upstream. What I accepted as fact in Elementary School I began to question in High School. I had a 'why' question for everything. Today I might be encouraged to follow that path, but then (yup, 1963!) I was rudely yanked back on track. My enthusiasm for learning waned in many classes as I jumped through the necessary hoops to graduation. The one thing that held it all together for me was my music.
Thanks to my Elementary School Principal, George Campbell, I had learned how to play
the trombone. That wasn't his original intent. He ran a large recorder group in which I played and he had noticed that I was pretty good. One day in late Fall he called me into his Office. Now in those days nobody ever wanted to be called into the Office for ANY reason. Knees knocking, in I went only to see Mr. Campbell standing there smiling with a very old clarinet in his hands. He had noticed my ability to play the tenor recorder and was offering me a chance to learn the clarinet. Now I knew that Mr. Campbell was a fine Math and Grammar teacher but there was a safe bet he knew nothing about the clarinet. I knew that he had once played the trombone. So there I stood looking him squarely in the face as I blurted out that I would rather learn how to play the trombone. I had deduced that he probably knew a lot more about that than the clarinet. He listened. The result was a group of six young boys that all shared an early love for music coming together to learn how to play trombone, clarinet and trumpet. The "Six Tones" were formed! We met three mornings a week and were his pride and joy. We were having fun! Little did we know that this group would be the forerunner of an active instrumental music programme at Elgin Avenue Public School. Path number one.
In 1964 I was still taking piano lessons with Mrs. Pond, she of white hair and stern
demeanour. But the trombone got me out of the studio and into the band room, making music with 50 other young players. This was cool! And I was pretty good - and pretty cocky too! My Music teacher, Bruce Sharpe, recognized my eagerness and talents and opened up many doors for me along the way through High School. He even got me my first gig - playing trombone in a pit orchestra for a local amateur theatre company. I enjoyed Music in school but it was the stuff outside the building that really turned my crank. I played in the schools jazz band and soon my love for that music landed me a regular gig with the house band at the Summer Gardens. Mr. Sharpe listened. Path number two.
As I stumbled my way through High School it finally came time when I had to decide
what I wanted to do with my life. I loved English Literature and I loved Music. As the day drew nearer to decision time there was one day I'll never forget - the day I told my Mother I had made a decision - I wanted to be a musician. She must have cried for three days through eyes swollen and red. It wasn't a 'good' path in her eyes and she had tried so hard to guide me. You see, my maternal Grandfather had been a musician, and a fine one at that - they called him the "Harry James of the North", the 'north' being Scotland. My Mother, being the eldest of five, had the responsibility of ironing his white shirts (starch and all) and polishing his patent leather shoes. She never saw a lot of her father as he played most nights and when he rose later in the day he practiced his trumpet - not to be disturbed! This was not a life my Mother wanted for me and certainly not the way she had raised me. On day four we talked. She knew what music had meant to her Father and she recognized just how much Music meant to me. If that's what I wanted to do then do it with every fibre in my body. She listened. Pathway number three.
The next few years rushed by at a frantic pace. Four years at UWO Faculty of Music, a year at Althouse College, Faculty of Education, and then on to teach! I wanted to touch as many young students as I could and turn them on to the joys of making music. Teaching and sharing that joy became my passion. Pathway number four.
I believed then, as I do now, that a great deal of learning goes on outside the classroom. My bands competed in festivals annually and we toured extensively - England, Scotland, Germany, France, the East coast, the West coast, New York! The list goes on. The joy of making music together can last a lifetime and I wanted more than anything to see my kids graduate with great memories, an instrument in their hands and a song in their hearts. The joy of making music doesn't end in High School - Music is for life! Pathway number five!
The first of our guest bloggers, Dave Davidson is an retired high school music teacher, trombonist and avid community musician. This is the beginning of Dave's four part blog series.
"The Village that Feeds Me"
The Importance of Community Music, Part 1:
The Arts always have been, and always will be, an expression of who we are as a
society at that particular moment in time. Reading a Dickens novel, watching a Shakespearean play or listening to a Mozart Sonata can instantly take us back to that time and place. For a brief moment we can relive Elizabethan England or 19th century Salzburg. We can sense the joy, the sorrow, the elation or the angst that influenced the artist to express how they, and many others, felt. Call it "active history" if you will but the Arts are an expression of our times. They forever leave their mark for future generations to relive. There is a part of us, deep inside, that needs the music, the paintings and sculpture, the dance and the drama of it all to get to know who we
really are. The Arts are inherent to our every being and it can be argued that they have beenresponsible for the development and maturity of the human psyche.
So, if I was setting out to write a thesis I would probably fail in that these ideas certainly are not new. In fact their proponents are growing in numbers every day. I am a musician and I have practised my Art almost every day of my life since I was 7 years old and had my first piano lesson. However, like so many young boys, my attention span was comparable to that of a gnat and my early days were spent playing the music I liked rather than the music I was 'supposed' to be practising. Interesting how that comes full circle.
I turn 65 this year and the thought of reaching that point of my life causes one to pause and reflect upon just what I have done or accomplished during all those years. When I start to mentally record those high points of my life I realize that my entire life has been shaped and influenced by my musical experiences. It begs the question of just how this thing called music grabbed me and just wouldn't let go. It beat out baseball when I was 12; it won when deciding just what direction I wanted to take in my life when I chose to study Music rather than English Lit.; and it became my passion when I took to teaching as a career. How does this happen?
Opportunities and encouragement. I had the good fortune to have a Mother who taught me to sing many of the old Scottish songs of her youth and also to give me an opportunity she never had - music lessons. I had a public school principal that believed in the importance of Music and allowed me opportunities to sing and play that I might not normally have had. I had a wonderful Music teacher in High School that encouraged me and gave me the chance to conduct the schools Junior Band as if it were my own. Then there were the 'local' musicians, the ones that gave me the opportunity to play Jazz and music of the Big Bands and at 16 I was playing every Sat. night at the Summer Gardens in Port Dover - one of the few remaining 'old' dance halls of the 30's and 40's. What wonderful opportunities I had from a nurturing music community. Is it any wonder that I chose the path I have followed for so many years?
As I reflect upon those years I understand more and more the importance of being the
kind of musician that encourages young players and singers; that strives to find and provide opportunities for them to grow; and one that remains passionate about my Art every day and in every way. Being part of a musical community is essential to my being and I continue to strive to open more doors for young musicians to join that community and enjoy making music together.
Dave Davidson is the Music Director and Conductor of Kitchener Musical Society Band
Again we are looking at the key players at Lyrical Lines. Last year Rebecca Cameron St-Pierre sat down with Nancy Kidd to talk about Lyrical Lines
Continuing our series of Interviews of Introduction, I spoke with Nancy Kidd. Nancy is a lifelong music educator and the artistic director and conductor for the Age of Majority Singers. She has participated in Waterloo Region High School Choral Festival in several years past and is a strong positive force in Waterloo Region's music community.
How would you describe your experience with the Waterloo Region High School Choral Festival?
The Waterloo Region High School Choral Festival is a unique opportunity and amazing experience for music teachers and choral students to come together in music sponsored and supported by LLEN. We had the chance to opt in to this Festival, learn several pieces pre-selected by a guest conductor/clinician and come together to rehearse with the “master” teacher and perform for the public at the Centre in the Square. This allowed smaller choirs a chance to perform more difficult and varied repertoire that might not be possible in their own choirs due to size or voicing. Teachers received valuable clinics through observing the guest conductor rehearse this repertoire.
The Festival also provided the chance for students interested in singing in smaller groups to audition for the Honours Chamber Choirs. This provided more challenging choral experiences for individual singers from participating schools to audition, commit, rehearse and perform with guest conductors.
Above all, this experience evolved into a community of secondary school singers who grew to know and respect each other through the love of choral singing. It provided a chance for hundreds of teens to share and bond with many other like-minded teens.
We were so lucky to have this provided and organized for us through the vision of Lyrical Lines Education Network.
How would you describe your experience with the Age of Majority Singers?
In many ways, the founding of the AOMS is a "dream come true" following a very fulfilling teaching career in Music Education. I am fascinated by the “need” for this choir by its members! I feel like we are all making beautiful music together because we remember a time that doing so touched us. I am excited and passionate about every rehearsal with this group! This community of singers is still evolving for me and for its unique demographic (young adults from 19-35)
How do you feel Lyrical Lines Education Network Inc. contributes to Waterloo Region?
This group continues to lend support, passion, resources, advice, experience and love of music to the music community. The people behind Lyrical Lines understand and recognize the benefits of experiencing the effects of music at every age. If there is a musical project that LLEN can support for the provision of unique musical experiences in the community, this organization will be there.
How has music education affected your life?
I am a teacher first and am blessed that teaching music has been my vehicle to touch and reach people at every age. I have continued to learn and take courses and study with amazing educators. I have also watched as young people have blossomed into self-confident, caring, poised, passionate community members through their experiences in music classes, choirs, bands and orchestras. I have watched young teachers learn and grow and affect hundreds of young people through the gifts they share and the passion of their teaching.
Blast from the past. Way back when, Communications Coordinator Rebecca was high school student by day and chorister by night and moonlighted as a journalist. Here is an article she wrote about her experiences in Waterloo Region High School Choralfest!