Sunday, December 13, 2020

Talent Trust Announces 2020 Special Award Winners

Talent Trust grants $44,000 in Awards at 2020 Special Awards Ceremony

K'JIPUKTUK/HALIFAX, NS - The Nova Scotia Talent Trust (NSTT) recognized their 2020 scholarship and Special Award recipients at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 13, 2020, virtually in a ceremony which included greetings by His Honour The Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, ONS, QC, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.

Created to support the career of contralto Portia White 76 years ago, the Talent Trust has continued to support talented Nova Scotian artists as they pursue their studies toward establishing professional careers in the arts.

Halifax dancer Sahara Nyathi received the $1,500 Talent Trust Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Artistic Achievement, the NSTT’s highest honour for a student in any discipline. Nyathi studies ballet at the Maritime Dance Academy (Halifax).

Presented for the first time in 2013, the two 2011 Canada Games Young Artist of Excellence Awards, valued at $10,000 each, will be awarded to any recipient, regardless of age, from any artistic discipline, who best exemplifies the qualities embraced by the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, that of the utmost commitment, promise, exceptional technique, talent and the highest achievement of excellence, someone who demonstrates the passion and drive to become a professional Nova Scotia artist in their field of discipline. These two awards will be granted every December until 2022 and are the legacy of the 2011 Canada Games Young Artists of Excellence Program.

In 2020, the two $10,000 awards were received by Dartmouth flutist Amelia Bruce and creative writer Amanda Peters from Falmouth.
Amelia Bruce (Dartmouth), 2020 recipient of a 2011 Canada Games Young Artist of Excellence Award, is currently completing her final semester of studies (Master of Music/Flute Performance) at McGill Schulich School of Music (Montreal, Quebec). 
Amanda Peters (Falmouth), 2020 recipient of a 2011 Canada Games Young Artist of Excellence Award, is completing her Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe, New Mexico).
Today, the Talent Trust had the pleasure to present two new awards.

The Sheila K. Piercey (Legacy) Award 
honours the life of Sheila K. Piercey, who was an accomplished soprano, teacher, mentor, beloved aunt, and loyal friend to many. The award will go to a voice student. 

The Dr. James Burchill Award has been made possible by Dr. James Burchill. Dr. Burchill is a former Talent Trust recipient (1958 through 1961) in organ studies. He created the award to give back to the arts 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.
Opera singer Laura Johnston (Prospect Bay) is the recipient of the $2000 Sheila K. Piercey (Legacy) Award in voice studies. Johnston is currently studying Voice (Opera) at Memorial University, Master of Music (St. John’s, Newfoundland). (The Sheila K. Piercey Award is supported through a generous bequest by the late Sheila Piercey.)
Pianist Carmen Peng (Wolfville) is the recipient of the $8000 Dr. James Burchill Award for an organist, choral or instrumental conductor or a student of another musical instrument or voice. Peng is studying privately with music teacher John Hanson. (The award is supported by former Talent Trust scholarship recipient and organist Dr. James Burchill through a $220,000 Bank Bond donation to the NSTT Foundation.)
There are eleven more Special Award recipients, each of whom demonstrates the exceptional potential to become a professional artist. We're pleased to introduce them here.
Pianist Devin Huang (Bedford) is the recipient of the $1,000 Peggy Corkum/Musique Royale Legacy Award. Huang studies privately with Lynn Stodola. (Award supported by Barbara Butler, Musique Royale, and friends of Peggy Corkum.)
Visual artist Ada Denil (Halifax) is the recipient of the $1,500 The Susan Wood Award in visual arts. Denil is currently studying sculpting and drawing at NSCAD University in Halifax. (Award supported by family and friends of Susan Wood and Visual Arts Nova Scotia.)
Literary artist Sara Leslie (Dartmouth) is the recipient of the $1,500 RBC Emerging Artist Award. Leslie studies Creative Nonfiction (Master of Fine Arts) at University of King’s College (Halifax). (Award supported by RBC Emerging Artist Program.)
French horn player Mimisu Lee (Halifax) is the recipient of the $1,000 Yue Lih “Lee” and Marion Kuo Award for exceptional commitment and potential in music as an instrumentalist. Lee is currently in private study with Christopher Gongos. (Award supported by Marion Kuo and Earl Wadden.)
Visual artist Pamela Juarez (Halifax) is the recipient of the $1,000 Charlotte Wilson-Hammond/Visual Arts Nova Scotia Award. Juarez currently studies textile art at NSCAD University (Halifax). (Award supported by Charlotte Wilson-Hammond and Visual Arts Nova Scotia.)
Opera singer Abigail Sinclair (Halifax) is the recipient of the $1,000 Talent Trust's Portia White Award for voice. Sinclair spent the summer 2020 studying at the Patti and Allan Herbert Frost School of Music Virtual Salzburg Program (Coral Gables, Florida). (Award supported by the Music-in-Medicine and Humanities-HEALS Program, Dalhousie University.)
Ballet dancer Aidan Vaudreuil (Lower Sackville) is the recipient of the $2,000 Robert George Jackson Award for dance. Vaudreuil is attending the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School (Winnipeg, Manitoba). (Award supported by the Jackson family.)
Kevin Munroe (Sydney) is the recipient of the $500 Theatre Nova Scotia Award for theatre. Munroe will be studying acting at George Brown College (Toronto, Ontario). (Award supported by Theatre Nova Scotia.)
Composer Taylor MacGillivray (Halifax) is the recipient of the $1,000 Kenneth Elloway Award for composition. MacGillivray spent the summer 2020 attending the Lunenburg Academy of Music (LAMP, Lunenburg). (Award supported by the Elloway family.)
Ballet dancer Julia Barkhouse (Dartmouth) is the recipient of the $1,000 Janice Merritt Flemming Award and is currently studying at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, Ontario. (Award supported by the Flemming family.)
Cellist India Gailey (Halifax) is the recipient of the $1,000 Raymond Simpson Award for music. In January 2021 India will be studying Jazz Improvisation, with Gary Burton, through Berklee Online (Boston, Massachusetts). (Award supported by the Simpson family.)

In addition to the Special Awards announced today, the Nova Scotia Talent Trust gave out scholarships to 67 recipients earlier this year. You can find a list of the 2020 Nova Scotia Talent Trust scholarship recipients below.

The NSTT’s scholarship application deadline date for Spring/Summer study is March 1, 2021. The deadline for Fall/Winter study is May 1, 2021.

About the Nova Scotia Talent Trust
Since 1944, the Talent Trust has provided more than $2 million to over 1,000 Nova Scotians, primarily young people, who have demonstrated talent and potential to become professional artists in theatre, dance, fine craft and design, music, circus arts, media, film, literary, and visual arts. There is no other comparable organization in the country. In 2019, the Talent Trust celebrated its 75th anniversary year featuring former scholarship recipients with a travelling art exhibition, pop-up events in theatre, music, dance, film screenings and more.

The NSTT is supported by individual donors like Margaret and David Fountain and the 2011 Canada Games Legacy Fund, RBC Foundation, The Craig Foundation,, Musique Royale, Visual Arts Nova Scotia, Theatre Nova Scotia, Debut Atlantic, immediaC, the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council, BoyneClarke, Code+Mortar, NSTT Foundation, Dalhousie Music in Medicine HEALS Program, Halifax Central Library, Cecilia Concerts, Craft Nova Scotia, Black Cultural Centre for NS, CIOE 97.5 Community Radio, and Arts Nova Scotia. NSTT is pleased to work in partnership with the province to develop and promote our cultural resources for all Nova Scotians.

Jacqueline Steudler, Executive Director,
Nova Scotia Talent Trust
P. O. Box 575
Halifax  NS  B3J 2R7
(902) 492 6801

Print quality photos upon request.
Congratulations to the Talent Trust and Nova Scotia Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship Recipients

  • Lily McGrath, Dartmouth
  • Julia Barkhouse, Dartmouth 
  • Brooklyn Law, Bedford
  • Shannon Mullally, Dartmouth
  • Maggie Oates-Johnson, Dartmouth
  • Mollie Oates-Johnson, Dartmouth
  • Scarlett Reynolds, Prospect Bay
  • Eden Robichaud, Bible Hill
  • Stan Tonin, Windsor Junction
  • Aidan Vaudreuil Wakeham, Lower Sackville
  • Sahara Nyathi, Halifax 
  • Nathan King-Pacis, Hammonds Plains
  • Claire Campbell, St. Margaret’s Bay
  • Minuet Charron, Halifax
  • Gabrielle Kachan, Halifax, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship
  • Camryn Rieksts, Valley
  • Lucy Boyne, Halifax
Creative Nonfiction
  • Sara Leslie, Dartmouth, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship
Creative Writing/Fiction
  • Vicki Donkin, Halifax
  • K.R. Byggdin, Halifax
  • Amanda Peters, Falmouth
Short Fiction/Prose
  • Sidney Robichaud, Halifax
Brass - French Horn
  • Mimisu Lee, Halifax
Brass - Trombone
  • Ross Macintosh, Truro
  • Taylor MacGillivray, Halifax
Gaelic Culture/Fiddle
  • Abby Hanson, Montague Gold Mines
  • Ella Hanson, Montague Gold Mines
Keyboard - Piano
  • Jenny Chen, Halifax
  • Sherry Chen, Hammonds Plains
  • Devin Huang, Bedford
  • Lala Lee, Halifax
  • Carmen Peng, Wolfville
  • Andrew Son, Halifax
  • Alex Yang, Bedford
Music Technology
  • Cassie Mann, New Glasgow
  • Lucas Goudie, Halifax
Strings - Cello
  • India Gailey, Halifax, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship
  • Priscilla Lee, Bedford
Strings - Violin
  • Leo Hanada, Halifax
  • Rose Hanada, Halifax
  • Dane Pedersen, Millville 
Voice - Opera
  • Nicholas Higgs, New Glasgow
  • Laura Johnston, Prospect Bay
  • Natalie Mitchell, Halifax
  • Nicole Ross, New Glasgow
  • Abigail Sinclair, Halifax
  • Shanice Skinner, New Glasgow
  • Anisa Sobhani, Dartmouth
Woodwind - Flute
  • Amelia Bruce, Dartmouth
  • Kevin Munroe, Sydney
  • Rebecca Wolfe, Dartmouth 
Musical Theatre
  • Emma Davidson, Halifax
  • Zachary Ellis, Truro
  • Olivia Grund, Truro
  • Madelaine Hanley, Dartmouth
  • Saffron Hyde, Bedford
  • Ryan MacDougall, Hammonds Plains
  • Brooke Mitchell, Beaverbank
  • Jillian Peters, Dartmouth, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship
  • Katherine Shore, Halifax
Applied Craft/Architecture
  • Charles Bourne, Halifax
Interdisciplinary/Computation Arts
  • Jonah McKay, Canning, NS Arts Endowment Fund Scholarship 
  • Madeleine West, Halifax
  • Fraya McDougall, Fall River
Painting/Drawing (Digital Graphite)
  • Willa Fisher, Halifax
Textiles Art
  • Pamela Juarez, Halifax 
  • Ada Denil, Halifax
The Nova Scotia Talent Trust recognizes the support of Arts Nova Scotia. We are pleased to work in partnership with the province to develop and promote our cultural resources for all Nova Scotians.
visit our website at nstalenttrust dot ca


Monday, December 7, 2020

Invitation to the Special Awards Ceremony on December 13

In 2019, visual artist Gillian Baldwin and dancer Gabrielle Kachan won the 2011 Canada Games Young Artist of Excellence Awards.

Who will it be this year?

Join us to find out!

We will recognize the 2020 Scholarship and Special Awards recipients at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 13, 2020, online in a ceremony with video greetings by The Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, ONS, QC, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and Honorary Chair of the NSTT.

We are proud to present two new awards that honour the legacy of Sheila K. Piercey, soprano, teacher, and mentor, and celebrate Dr. James Burchill, organist and former scholarship recipient himself. 

The 16 Special Award winners were chosen from a field of 67 scholarship recipients from across the province representing the artistic disciplines of music, literary arts, visual arts, film, dance, circus arts, and theatre.

The Special Awards Ceremony will be held online on the Talent Trust's Facebook page The event is free and open to the public. (You don't need a Facebook account to watch the ceremony.)

“We are already missing the possibility to host the ceremony at the Halifax Library like in previous years. But we're fortunate to bring the Special Awards Ceremony directly to you where everyone is safe - your living room. We will celebrate the achievements of our scholarship and award recipients with all Nova Scotians.”, says Jacqueline Steudler, NSTT Executive Director.

For the last 76 years, the NSTT has continued to support emerging Nova Scotian artists as they pursue their studies towards the ultimate goal of establishing professional careers in the arts. 

Please share this event with your friends and celebrate with us on December 13th at 2 p.m.

You don't need to have a Facebook account to watch the ceremony. 

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Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotia artists? Donate today!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

A Plastic Ballet Barre and a Dance Mat: Reflections from Minuet Charron

Warm thanks to dancer and Talent Trust recipient Minuet Charron who recently took time to share reflections on her dance and practice with us.

You can learn more about Minuet by visiting her website or her Instagram account.

What are your earliest memories of dance? 
My mom says that I’ve been dancing since I could walk. Whenever a song was on I’d move around and always try following along with ballerinas on television. I remember my mom bought me dance-along DVDs that came with a little plastic ballet barre that was probably no higher than one foot, as well as a dance mat showing different ballet positions.

Who are your biggest supporters?
My family has always been there for me. They want me to pursue my passions and reach for my dreams. They’ve always given me the most support throughout my life, and I’m thankful for everything they’ve done and everything they continue to do for me.

What has been your greatest challenge in relation to dance? Why?
One thing I constantly struggle with in dance is my perfectionism and tendency to be too hard on myself. Because of how seriously I take dance and how much I care about it, I often forget that it’s what brings me joy and what I should allow myself to do freely; instead I often end up stressing over little things and getting upset with myself for no reason. Lately, I’ve been practising letting myself go and doing what comes naturally as opposed to what is “right”. As much as dance is a sport with technique and proper executions, it’s also an art form for me to tell my own story and convey my feelings.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years, in relation to dance?
I want to still be training and learning constantly in 5 years, as that never ends. I want to be teaching, creating, performing … honestly, I just want to keep dancing. Maybe in a few years I won’t be the professional dancer I dream of, but I always want dance to be in my life as it truly is a part of myself that I don’t want to lose.

Are there any unexpected positives that have come out of pandemic related to dance?
Yes! It was difficult at the beginning of the pandemic. The space I had for dancing at home was small and crowded, and with everything being online Zoom calls, there would often be direction mishaps and lag/glitches. It caused a lot of stress and just felt awful for the first weeks of quarantine. I wasn’t motivated to do much and anytime I tried, it felt hopeless. Soon, after connecting with people and figuring things out, I got into the swing of things and found the positives in online learning. I also learned how important it can be to take time for myself. Quarantine gave me a lot of time to think and settle into myself. Understanding my goals and priorities for the future ended up changing my plans for this fall and it’s turned out well! I’ve grown in many ways this year and I’m extremely happy with how I’ve progressed.

How have you managed practicing dance during the pandemic?
Since the pandemic, an abundance of online classes have been available from all around the world! I’ve been able to take workshops and classes from some of my biggest inspirations and renowned dancers and choreographers such as Jake Kodish, Anthony Vibal, Neil Shwartz, Logan “Logistx” Edra, and Bo Park. And since so many dancers came back to their hometown during the pandemic, I’ve been able to meet and learn directly from amazingly talented dancers who came from Halifax as well!

This fall, I was accepted into an online dance program for choreographers, creators, teachers, and leaders run by Bo Park! The program ran for five weeks and we were given choreography assignments each week along with Bo’s own combos to learn and get feedback on. One of the most amazing parts of the program was a weekly session when Bo would tell us her experiences in the industry to give us advice and information from her point of view. Everyone in the program also shared their own experiences and feedback. It was amazing learning from someone as remarkable as Bo Park and to share and connect with so many incredible dancers from around the world!

What quote best describes your commitment to dance? Why?
“We’re all afraid, you know… to get up on stage. Maybe you’ll mess up. Maybe they’ll totally reject you. Even so, you grit your teeth and get up on stage anyway.” – Kaori Miyazono
Dance is such a vulnerable art form and it can be so scary to perform in front of people – even if it’s not on stage, only in class. It can be a terrifying thought that you could be rejected for being yourself … that maybe you’re imperfect and nobody will like you. I’m trying to learn how to let go of some of these fears and dance for the sake of dancing, with all its vulnerability and honesty.

Who are your mentors and how have they influenced your dance career?
I’ve been blessed to have some amazing, special mentors who care about me and whom I truly look up to more than anyone.
Kim Roper at Northside Dance in Cape Breton was my first mentor and helped light my joy of dance aflame. Even though I was so young, she gave me a lot of work to do and made sure I was always pushing myself. 

My past mentors Barbara Dearborn and Diana Rutherford, who taught me ballet at the Conservatory School of Dance, were fully aware that my passion and skills were much bigger than ballet and always encouraged me to continue with other styles and embrace and work on my choreographic abilities.
Abady Alzahrani, founder and director of House of Eights Dance Studio, has given me so many opportunities and so much guidance. I’m truly grateful for everything he does for me.
Kathleen Doherty of Votive Dance is a jazz and contemporary instructor who’s taught me for over three years. She’s helped me numerous times with my choreographic growth and supports me in all that I do. She’s been a huge influence in my movement both artistically and stylistically.

Nick Nguyen is a B-boy who has been mentoring me for over three years. He’s always pushed me to my limits and encourages me to think of myself highly, instead of putting myself down. He’s given me an abundance of teaching opportunities in the hip hop community as well as so much knowledge and inspiration. He’s always trying to get me to tap into my creativity and test my freestyling skills. And he’s always there for me when I need him.

Zomi Tombing is a teacher, choreographer, and dancer with House of Eights. She’s been mentoring me and supporting me for over a year now. Her style of dance is so innovative and raw - it’s one of my favorite styles to learn and cultivate. She’s always encouraging me to get out of my shell, to go for it and to explore my own personal style. She gives me never ending support and is always there for me as a friend; she’s the one who told me to apply for the online choreography program, where I got to meet Bo Park as a new and incredible mentor from New York.

What does receiving a Talent Trust scholarship mean to you?

Besides making it possible to attend a summer program and the House of Eights Training Program this year, it means so much to me to know that the NSTT is supporting my dreams and believes in me as a dancer. I’ve always had people supporting me, but it means a lot to know that I have an organization behind me, rooting for me and encouraging me that I’m on the right path. Again, thank you so much for believing in me as a dancer, an artist, and a person.

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