Tuesday, June 30, 2020

O Canada Performances!!

A little something special in celebration of Canada Day! 

We hope you enjoy these performances of O Canada performed by Talent Trust recipients:


Laura Johnston bio:
Born in raised in Sydney, soprano Laura Johnston now resides in Prospect Bay. She is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland studying with voice professor Dr. Caroline Schiller and vocal coach Eldon Murray. Laura is also studying privately with New York’s Neil Semer. Recent performances include: Soprano soloist with Chebucto Symphony Orchestra’s Messiah from Scratch, Casilda in Opera Nova Scotia’s production of The Gondoliers, and Duchess in the MUN Opera Workshop’s production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Will Todd.

Sherry Chen bio:
I began playing the piano when I was six years old. Now, I have been playing the piano for over seven years. I love playing the piano and one of my favorite parts about playing the piano is that there is so much wonderful repertoire to learn. My favorite thing to do as a pianist is performing my music. I think that every performance is an opportunity to improve and showcase my abilities as a musician. Sometimes, I work on difficult sections and passages for a long time in my practice so I have the confidence to play the best I can. As an artist, I like to play works that I connect to, even from the first time I hear it. As a pianist, I find it important not only to simply play a song but to also understand the meaning behind it is.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Welcome Nicole Heelan and Natalie Wells to the Talent Trust Board

We are pleased to announce the newest board members to the Talent Trust Nicole Heelan and Natalie Wells. We look forward to their new perspectives and support. 

Nicole Heelan
Nicole Heelan is a lawyer at Cox & Palmer. 

"I have had a vast and varied interest in the arts for as long as I can remember. Although I have no proclivity with a paint brush, myself, I have always appreciated the beauty of the visual arts in their myriad forms. I studied piano at the conservatory as a child and have a long abiding love of music. My greatest love, however, is literature. 

To be able to contribute, even in some small way, to the arts in Nova Scotia is an honour."

Natalie Wells
Natalie Wells is a Chartered Professional Accountant at N.J. Wells Inc.

"As a proud Nova Scotian, I recognize the importance of both sustaining and enhancing our arts communities. The Nova Scotia Talent Trust has been instrumental in providing much needed financial support to emerging artists for over 75 years and has truly helped contribute to the growth of Nova Scotia’s arts scene.

I am delighted to be on the NSTT Board and to continue its mandate to help emerging Nova Scotian artists in achieving professional careers in the arts."

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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Thank you to our outgoing Talent Trust Board Members

Erin Sparks outgoing NSTT Chair
Our board members play a significant role in the execution of our vision to support the development of talented Nova Scotians in the pursuit of a professional career in the arts. They dedicate countless hours and support the mission of the Talent Trust with their own funds. We're very proud to say that we have a 100% giving Board.

Today, we bid farewell to some of them. We extend our most sincere thanks to these members for their perseverance and the critical level of insight into issues that guide the Talent Trust forward. Your work will never be forgotten.

At our Annual General Meeting, early in June, we said good-bye to our Chair Erin Sparks. Thank you Erin, for four years of leadership, guidance, planning and execution of our 75th anniversary in 2019. We're glad to know that we'll still be in touch through your work as the Executive Director for Debut Atlantic.

Thank you to Joann Fitzgerald for
New NSTT Chair: Joann Fitzgerald
taking on the role as Chair. Joann has joined the board a few years back and has lead the Development Committee for the last four years. She initiated our new brand colours and logo, and supported the Talent Trust with her knowledge in marketing.

We also said good-bye to Peter Guilford. Peter came on board five years ago to help us envision, plan, and execute our 75th anniversary year. We couldn't have wished for a better chair for the 75th anniversary committee. Thank you Peter!

Another big Thank You goes to Leila Kovacevic. Leila was on the NSTT board for twelve years as the Secretary. She spent many hours writing minutes and help fundraise in various ways, opening doors, and advocating for our up and coming Nova Scotia artists. Thank you Leila!

We are pleased to announce the newest members to our team Nicole Heelan and Natalie Wells. We look forward to their new perspectives and support. 
We'll introduce them to you in next week's post.

Thank you to our board members for their dedication, knowledge, and time.

You can find the full roster of our NSTT board on our website. 

Thank you,

Jacqueline Steudler, Executive Director,

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Connecting Family and Gaelic Culture

Sisters, and recent Talent Trust scholarship recipients, Abby and Ella Hanson share their thoughts on culture, family and community.

Question: What are your earliest memories of Gaelic culture in your family or community?

Ella and Abby: “We’ve always loved going to visit relatives in Cape Breton and, during the summer of 2014, we decided to go to the Gaelic College for a weeklong summer camp. While we were there, we took fiddle lessons and Gaelic language class and we began to talk more in our family about our own Gaelic ancestry. Because we loved spending time at the College so much, it was a natural progression into taking more intensive Gaelic immersion courses in addition to fiddle, step-dance, piano accompaniment, and Gaelic song lessons. We spend most of our vacation time in St Ann’s, whenever classes, events, and camps are held”

Question: What program/s are you participating in this summer and how has it been adjusting to studying online during the global pandemic?

Ella and Abby: “We know that all of the camps that we were going to be involved in this year both in Cape Breton at the Gaelic College and in Boston at the Boston States Fiddle Camp are going to be online, but details are still being worked out. Because of having to stay at home, we are going to be continuing with our weekly online fiddle lessons with mentor and teacher Wendy MacIsaac; Ella will also be doing step dance lessons and Abby is going to continue taking piano accompaniment online with performer Mac Morin and Gaelic song lessons with performer Cathy Ann MacPhee. For both of us, as it is for most people, giving and taking online lessons has been challenging but we are grateful that we can at least have something available.”

Question: How is it to study together as sisters?

Ella and Abby: “Sometimes challenging because we have completely different personalities when it comes to practice and performances, but also great because you always have someone to share the experiences with.”

Question: Why do you feel it is so important to share your culture with your community?

Ella and Abby: “We love knowing that we’re a part of such a unique and amazing community of people. Like members of any culture, we are proud of our language, history, music, and traditions and want to share with others; it is so important to learn from one another in order to understand and appreciate what we have in common and what is special about our differences. The Gaelic community is ensuring that their culture and language not only survives but is growing and thriving. Because of connections with the Gaelic College, Gaelic Affairs, and the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia, we feel like we have an integral part to play. It’s also fun to visit with elementary school kids and introduce them to what it means to be a Gael in Nova Scotia today!”

Abby and Ella Hanson are teenage sisters from Dartmouth with strong ties to Cape Breton and the Nova Scotia Gaelic community. They perform together in the traditional Cape Breton/Scottish Gaelic fiddling tradition; Ella also stepdances and Abby sings traditional and contemporary Gaelic songs. The sisters are partners in their business “Up With Gaelic” and have given Gaelic Culture demonstrations and presentations to community associations, government groups, educators, and over 5000 elementary students in the HRM and surrounding areas.

Ella's and Abby's Performances and Social Media links

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Alex Yang: Practicing during hard times

Talent Trust recipient, Alex Yang, has some inspirational words for other young artists on practicing during these difficult times. To watch his video click here.

(Bio from Alex's family)

11-year-old Alex Yang is a grade six student at Halifax Grammar School, and has been a student of Professor Lynn Stodola since 2015. 

In June, 2019, he won First Place in both piano and violin (age 10 group) in the Canadian Music Competition (CMC) National Final in Calgary, Alberta, and was awarded the overall Grand Prize for all instruments age 7 - 10, having achieved the highest piano mark of 97 in that age division. 

As the 2019 winner of the Chebucto Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, he was invited to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 this past November as soloist for their opening 2019/2020 Season Concert. And he was invited to give a full length solo concert in 2020/2021 Cecelia concert series on December, 2020. 

Recently, he was invited to perform at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, having won the First prize and Exceptional Young Musician prize in the International Classical Music Competition. 

In Feb, 2020 he won the Canadian Sinfonietta Young Artist Competition and played with the Orchestra in the 2020 Young Artist Concert in March. In the 2020 Halifax Kiwanis Music Festival, he received the Gordon Murray Rising Star Award for the third year in a row, the Halifax Ladies’ Music Club Junior Award, as well as the George Fleming Memorial Senior String Award for his outstanding performance in the Festival. 

Alex has been an RCM Gold Medalist (Atlantic Region) in both Piano and Violin, and winner of numerous Nova Scotia Registered Music Teachers Association (NSRMTA) trophies and Scholarship Competitions in piano and violin. 

As one of the youngest Nova Scotia Talent Trust Scholarship recipients in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, he was invited to perform a solo recital at Government House at their Music on Tuesday Series in 2018. 

Alex also loves playing violin for school musicals, such as “Seussical” and “Newsies” and singing as a member of Halifax Boys Honour Choir. Alex enjoys music composition as well and recently won First Prize in the 2019 NSRMTA Composition Competition. Aside from music, Alex is a straight A+ student in school academics. In sports, He likes tennis, badminton and swimming, as well as reading, computer coding and computer games.

You can find more form Alex here and here.
Both performances are from the 2020 Kiwanis Music Festival and were marked 98, 97. Due to his stunning achievement on both piano and violin in the festival, he was award the following awards:
1) Rising Star Award in Memory of Gordon Murry
2) George Fleming Memorial Senior String Award
3) Halifax Ladies' Musical Club Junior Award
4) Patricia Bryson Piano Prize: Solo-Chopin-Senior

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