Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Dr. James Burchill, organist, gives back to the community that supported him by establishing a Special Award

The Nova Scotia Talent Trust is excited
to announce the new Dr. James Burchill Award!

Dr. James Burchill 

Dr. Burchill states: "I have always been aware of how important study is in preparation for a professional career and, particularly in our day, how very expensive this is. For my own education, I was helped very considerably by years of awards from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, and I am delighted to take my turn in helping future music students achieve their goals."

The Dr. James Burchill Award will be given out for the first time in December 2020. Dr. James Burchill, a former Talent Trust recipient (1958 through 1961) in organ studies, created the award to give back to the community.

The award will be given, if merited, to an organist, choral or instrumental conductor or, if there is no suitable applicant in either of these fields, to a student of another musical instrument or voice. The annual award is $8,000.

Dr. Burchill donated $220,000 in bank stocks to the NSTT Foundation in 2019, with stipulation that the investment income be used annually for the Dr. James Burchill Award of $8,000. The NSTT Foundation was incorporated to hold and invest endowment funds to benefit the Talent Trust in perpetuity.
Tim Matthews, Chair of the NSTT Foundation, told us: "The NSTT Foundation is immensely grateful to Dr. Burchill for this very generous gift. The Endowment will provide sustainable and perpetual financial support for future musicians. This is a great example of "paying it forward," and I hope it inspires others to consider such gifts to ensure the long-term success of the Talent Trust."

Dr. James Burchill is a well known organist in Nova Scotia:
Studies in music theory, organ playing and choral conducting earned James Burchill a doctorate from Eastman and, while a student at the Royal School of Church Music, the FRCO(CHM); these led to a more than fifty-year career as a church musician, including twenty years at All Saints' Cathedral in Halifax, theory teaching at the Conservatories in Hamilton and Halifax, and organ teaching at Mount Allison and Dalhousie Universities. He was also a frequent organ recitalist and accompanist for choral concerts. After ten retirement years often spent in England attending Cathedral daily choral Evensongs, he is now dividing his year between Victoria and Halifax, and his day between reading and walking.

"It was a pleasure to meet Dr. Burchill a few weeks back in person and hear about his achievements and love for the local music community. We're thrilled that we can announce his special award to help our young musicians succeed in their pursuit of a professional career. Thank you, Dr. Burchill!" Jacqueline Steudler, Executive Director, NS Talent Trust.

The impetus for establishing the NSTT Foundation was a generous legacy gift made by the Nova Scotia Coalition on Arts and Culture. They wanted to ensure that their contribution would support the work of the Nova Scotia Talent Trust now and well into the future. The role of the NSTT Foundation is to steward significant resources and make the income available to the NSTT to fund artists in accordance with its mandate. Contributions are eligible for a charitable donation receipt. They may be made as a one-time gift, pledged over time, or a bequest in your will. Since 2012, the Endowment has grown to over $280,000.

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Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today!  (smile)

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Support our Blue Nose Marathon TEAM TALENT TRUST

Team Talent Trust Blue Nose Marathon

Are you a runner or a walker and want to join in our virtual Blue Nose Marathon efforts in support of our Scholarship Fund?

If yes, then please sign up for the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon and join Team Talent Trust at

Virtual means that you can run in your own neighbourhood to keep physical distancing. You choose your route. 

Or if you want to support one of our runners including former scholarship recipients Breagh MacKinnon, Carolle Fernando, Erin Sparks, and current recipient Alex Yang then follow the link below. 

Just scroll down to see all of our runners -> click on their image and support their efforts.
You will receive a donation receipt starting at $5. 

We thank our Vice-Chair Victoria Hines for being the Team Talent Trust leader, board member Natalie Wells, Talent Trust friend Jon Hines, and Jacqueline Steudler for running as well. 

Please feel free to share this information with your friends. (smile)

PS: Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Jane Archibald & Jennifer King Special Presentation

Celebrated coloratura soprano Jane Archibald and award-winning pianist Jennifer King, both past Talent Trust recipients, are performing Saturday, October 24th (at 7pm and 9pm) as part of the Cecilia Concerts series.

While the performance is currently at capacity, you can join the waitlist here.

About Jane Archibald (from her website)

After beginning her professional opera career in her native Canada, Jane was an Adler Fellow and Merola participant with the San Francisco Opera. She then moved to the Vienna State Opera as a member of the ensemble, debuting many coloratura roles.

Her 2019-2020 season includes performances of Mathilde (William Tell) at the Opera de Lyon, the title role in Semele for the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra with Long Yu, recitals in Toronto and environs, Messiah with the Toronto Symphony, concerts in Chicago (Handel/Mozart), Dresden (Lehar) and Madrid (Vaughn Williams), and Ginevra (Ariodante) in Valencia and Donna Anna in Zurich.

About Jennifer King (from her website)

Jennifer King is a versatile Nova Scotian pianist and teacher who loves performing, working with students of all ages and collaboration on the concert stage. Her first solo album O Mistress Moon gained two nominations for Best Classical Album of the Year 2019 with East Coast Music Association and Music Nova Scotia. With a busy career spanning thirty years, she has established herself as a sought-after performer and solo recording artist in the region.

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Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today!  (smile)

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A reading and reflections from Amanda S. Peters

Warm thanks to Talent Trust recipient and writer Amanda S. Peters, for sharing reflections on her art and a very moving excerpt from her work, Ashes!

Amanda is a mixed-race woman of Mi’kmaq and western European ancestry, born and raised in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. She has worked for her home community of Glooscap First Nation since 2013. In 2016, while working full time, she completed the Certificate in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto with mentors Christy-Ann Conlin and Alissa York. That same year, Amanda was a finalist for the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia Short Fiction Award. In 2017, she won the short fiction award for her story Crows. Also, in 2017 the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia awarded Amanda the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship, where she worked on her first novel with writer and mentor Stephanie Domet.  Amanda was a finalist in 2018 for the Indigenous Voices Award for her short story, “Pejipug.” Her short fiction has been published in The Antigonish Review, Grain Magazine and The Alaska Quarterly Review. Amanda is currently enrolled in the Masters of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indians Arts (IAIA) in New Mexico.

Reading description:
I wrote this (Ashes) as a response to a story a friend told me about her home community on the West Coast. I tried to think about what it must have been like for her people. When I asked her to read it and grant me permission to publish, she cried and I think I knew then that I could tell stories. I also cried. 

What are your earliest memories of your art?
I used to make little books for my grandfather about little furry monsters that went on adventures and my grandmother would bind them with her yarn. 

Who were/are your biggest supporters?
My family and friends have been very supportive. A few fellow writers who have seen something in my writing when I couldn’t, particularly my good friend and mentor, Christy-Ann Conlin.

What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
Getting to pursue my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in New Mexico. I’m excited to work with and learn the craft from some brilliant Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers. 

What has been your greatest challenge in relation to your art? Why?
Time. I still have to work to pay the bills when all I want to do is write stories and read stories. Luckily, my work, Glooscap First Nation, is incredibly supportive of me and willing to work with me to pursue my writing. 

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 year, in relation to your art?
I would like to be writing full time. Even if its small jobs to pay the bills and working on my fiction the rest of the time. I want to write, write, write. I have so many ideas stuck in my head and waiting to be put to paper. 

Are there any unexpected positives that have come out of pandemic related to your art?
I had extra time to write when I took a workday reduction to two days a week. I liked it and my work allowed me to permanently stay at two days to work on my MFA. I consider it a privilege to have the time and use it to the fullest.

How have you managed practicing your art during the pandemic?
I have. I completed a rewrite of a manuscript and worked on my MFA creative work.

What quote best describes your commitment to your art? 
“I’m not a native writer … I don’t want to be compared, I don’t want to be ghettoized, I don’t want to be marginalized.… I just want [people] to read my work and go, ‘Wow.’”– Richard Wagamese

What 3 words next describe your commitment to your art? 
Read, Write and Enjoy

What has been your biggest challenge in pursuing your art?
Time. I have worked while writing and sometimes work hours didn’t allow for writing hours but I managed.  

Who are your mentors and how have they influenced your art/career?
My Dad. He is a great storyteller, even if he tells the same stories over and over again. He inspired me to write the story I’m currently working on. Also, Christy-Ann Conlin. She started as an instructor when I was doing my Certificate in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto and we have since become very good friends. She has been incredibly supportive and I have learned so much from her. 

What aspect of your art/practices 'fills your cup' the most?
Mostly, just when I get it write. Or, when the ending of a story comes to me after years of thinking about it. There is a remarkable satisfaction when I’ve said what I wanted to say and said it as beautifully as I could. 

Want to hear more about the Talent Trust? Please sign up for our newsletter.

Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today!  (smile)