Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Congratulation Gavin Fraser: LAMP's Composer-in-Residence


Recently the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance announced that Gavin Fraser former Talent Trust recipient has been selected as their first-ever Composer-in-Residence. 

Congratulations Gavin!

From LAMP's January 6, 2021 newsletter:

That means Gavin will be coming home to Nova Scotia this Spring and to LAMP where he was the very first (and that year, only) participant in our inaugural Composition Academy. General manager Susan Corkum-Greek remembers wanting to cancel the program when a number of early applicants withdrew, leaving just one emerging artist; even two faculty artists had to cancel at the last moment.

"But Burt [Wathen] was determined," says Corkum-Greek. So Gavin got a week of one-on-one coaching with JUNO Award-winning composer Dinuk Wijeratne, as well as an afternoon with Lunenburg's own David Findlay, a longtime composer for film and television. Gavin has credited the experience, which included creation of the piano-cello duo Broken Vase premiered by Marika Bournaki and Julian Schwarz, as central to his decision to pursue composition as a career.

Gavin went on to complete his Bachelor of Music (Hons) in Voice Performance and Composition at Memorial University, followed by his Master of Music in Composition at McGill. He is currently completing his PhD at the University of Toronto, under the guidance of Gary Kulesha. And every year, he has returned to LAMP for the Composition Academy; in 2020, as program director.

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Talent Trust Job Posting: Development Officer


 February 12, 2021

 Nova Scotia, Halifax, remote work possible

Career Level: Experienced

 $15,000 - $20,000 Experience Dependent

 Part-Time Contract (up to 14hrs/week Experience Dependent)



The Nova Scotia Talent Trust (NSTT) is seeking a Development Officer, Major Gifts, enthusiastic about the arts and keen to help the NSTT grow. Over the first four months in the role, the incumbent will learn about NSTT projects, priorities, and key processes.


The Development Officer, Major Gifts, will liaise and collaborate with the board members along with the Executive Director (ED) of the NSTT. Reporting directly to the ED, they will focus on a personal prospect portfolio of up to 100 prospects in various stages of the fundraising cycle. Review and adjust the strategy for major gifts in line with the NSTT’s new strategic three-year plan for 2021-23, and helping the NSTT board and team achieve annual financial targets.


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 pandemic has shown us even more how important the arts are for our well-being and health. The NSTT was fortunate to support 66 pre-professional artists in 2020 and ensure that this support can continue far into the future. Help us secure the future of a diverse cultural legacy.


Cultivate relationships and manage a personal portfolio of 50-100 prospects, including new, existing and lapsed donors

Personally, solicit prospects for major gifts, planned gifts, and blended gifts of between $10,000 and $500,000 and, with the help of the team, prepare supporting documentation including proposals, letters, one-pagers and grant applications

Develop and execute a strategic plan for major gifts and establish an exact donor cycle from research to stewardship

Identify new individual major gift, corporate and foundation prospects and lead the transition of prospects through the donor cycle from research to stewardship

Develop strategies and work with the Development Committee Chair and Executive Director to advance fundraising needs of the NSTT and maximize major and leadership gift opportunities

Prepare donor correspondence, gift agreements, pledge reminders, gift acknowledgement letters, briefing materials, and project and program profiles for a suite of NSTT initiatives for personal approaches, with the ED, volunteers, and board members' support.

Provide support in the coordination of stewardship materials with major donors and partners regarding the impact of their giving, use of funds and periodic updates as necessary and appropriate

Ensure appropriate and timely communications with donors, including, but not limited to, prompt gift acknowledgements/thank you letters, invitations to special events etc.

Meticulously maintain the donor database (SUMAC) using best practices and procedures for data entry and record-keeping in collaboration with the ED.

Willingness to learn and develop planned giving specific skills and knowledge in keeping with industry best practices

Act as an ambassador for the NSTT in the community; support the execution of and attend major donor events as needed, to cultivate and steward attendees

Develop positive working relationships with the NSTT's program and administrative staff as a member of the NSTT team

Be a liaison with the NSTT Foundation board (Endowment/Legacy Fund)


Experienced in successful relationship building in a high activity charitable/non-profit environment, or demonstrated related experience in an associated field

Demonstrated track record of cultivating, soliciting and closing leadership and major gifts at the $5,000 to $25,000 level or more

Knowledge of the Canadian charitable, philanthropic and not-for-profit sector. Knowledge of the corporate sector an asset

Ability to operate and thrive in a collaborative environment, as well as to work independently with demonstrated flexibility and initiative

Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communications skills in English; bilingualism will be considered an asset

Proficiency with donor databases and data entry; knowledge of SUMAC specifically will be    considered an asset

Demonstrated ability to interact comfortably, tactfully and effectively with donors, varied internal and external constituencies and a wide range of stakeholders

Ability to think strategically, creatively, and adapt quickly

Detail oriented, focused and strategic thinker, with initiative, passion and energy

Excellent abilities with MS Office including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook

A relevant post-secondary degree or combination of relevant training, education and experience, a CFRE designation an asset  

Ability and willingness to travel occasionally within Nova Scotia


Suppose this position speaks to you, and you are excited about the possibility of joining an arts organization believing in Nova Scotians' creativity. In that case, we want to hear from you. Please provide your cover letter outlining your "WHY", along with your resume and salary expectations to NSTT's Executive Director Jacqueline Steudler at 

While all applications will be reviewed, only successful candidates will be contacted for an interview.

All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence. Interested candidates should send resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above by February 12, 2021.

The Nova Scotia Talent Trust is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in its employment practices. We are dedicated to building a workforce that reflects the diversity of the community in which we live and to providing an environment free from harassment and discrimination for all.

Please note that the salary range for this part-time contract position is $15,000 - $20,000. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Aidan Vaudreuil: Every performance is a breath of fresh air

Deep thanks to scholarship recipient Aidan Vaudreuil for sharing his reflections with us on his art and passion. Aidan was also the recipient of the 2020 Robert George Jackson Award for exceptional commitment and potential in dance.

@aidan.vaudreuil (Instagram Page)

What are your earliest memories of dance?

I always had an interest for the spotlight from a young age. I remember putting on performances for my whole family at least twice a day! I first wanted to take actual ballet classes when I was 8 years old after seeing the nutcracker on the television. I saw the elegance of the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux and immediately asked my parents to sign me up for classes. 

What has been my greatest challenge in relation to ballet?

My greatest challenge would have to be pushing myself too much at times. Ballet is very intense and has very strict guidelines for how movements/variations should be executed. The bar is set so high in the dance world and is constantly being raised. I find myself getting caught up trying to be perfect; it's all I can think about. Ballet isn’t only a physical sport/art form but mindset is very important too. I find myself having a mindset of “never enough” meaning I always need more. It's important to celebrate victories too. I sometimes forget that ballet is more than just perfect technique, it's a way to express emotions and to tell a story. 

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years, in relation to ballet?

I hope to be in a classical ballet company either The Royal Winnipeg Ballet company or another company somewhere in the world; performing and showcasing everything I worked for and working towards. I see myself continuing to push myself but also having a sense of accomplishment. I want to mentor/support other young dancers as others have done for me. I hope to be an inspiration to other dancers as well. 

What aspects of ballet “fills ups my cup” the most?

Being able to do what I love everyday brings me joy. Honestly, all aspects of my art form “fills up my cup” but especially performing. Either it's a ballet or just a teacher watching ballet class. I love showcasing everything I worked for/working towards. I love performing, the lights, costumes, rehearsals, long days, and quick changes all give me butterflies. The thought of people paying to watch me dance is mind blowing. Every performance is a breath of fresh air.

How have you managed practicing ballet during the pandemic?

In the early stages of the pandemic (March-July) everything was online. Which was a big challenge getting used to dancing in my living room. Since everything was online I also had the opportunity to take ballet classes from dancers all around the world and from many world renown teachers. I also started working with my amazing mentor Elizabeth Lamont (Second Soloist with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet) alongside my regular internationally renowned teachers, dancers, choreographers in my professional division classes at the RWB. It was a big challenge to adapt, but I learned so much. In September we started dancing in the studios of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet building, the only downside was dancing with a mask on. It took time getting used to but overtime I built up enough stamina to wear masks during long rehearsals.   

What does receiving a Talent Trust Scholarship mean to you?

Receiving the scholarships allows me to attend the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s professional division school. This program immerses me in many classes including classical ballet, contemporary, modern, character, variations, conditioning, pilates, strength, nutrition, art, and drama. It means that I am supported by the entire establishment and having NSTT believing in my dance abilities. I can’t express my gratitude enough for the support I received by the NSTT. Thank you so much! 

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

2021 Talent Trust Scholarship Application Deadlines Announced

We’re pleased to announce we are ready to receive new scholarship applications for 2021.

The deadline for scholarship applications for Spring/Summer studies is fast approaching!

The scholarship application process will again happen online.

We advise applicants to read the submission guidelines carefully and to submit applications early since there are a number of changes for film, music, visual arts, dance, circus arts, literary arts, and theatre this year.

Scholarship application deadlines are:

  • Spring/Summer study: 5:00 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time (AST)
    March 1, 2021 
    (for studies between May 1 and August 31, 2021)
  • Fall/Winter study: 5:00 p.m. Atlantic Daylight Saving Time (ADT)
    May 1, 2021 
    (for studies between September 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022)

For more information, visit or call the Talent Trust at (902) 492-6801.

Please help us spread the word: If you know a Nova Scotian student that is studying in the arts, let them know about this opportunity and our March 1 and May 1 deadlines.

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)

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Maggie Oates-Johnson: A pink baby tutu and waiting to join

Many thanks to scholarship recipient Maggie Oates-Johnson for taking the time to share reflections on her passion and practice.

What does receiving a Talent Trust scholarship mean to you?

It means so much to me that people believe not only in my ballet skills and goals, but they believe in me and my ability to attain my dreams.

What are your earliest memories of your art?

My earliest memories of ballet is watching my older sister, Mollie, in her dance classes, while I was dancing in the hallway in my pink baby tutu, waiting to one day join in. 

Who were/are your biggest supporters?

My biggest supporters first of all are my parents and sister; without them, none of my dreams would be possible. Of course, my dance teachers are the ones who continually shape, influence, train, and guide me so that I can be the best version of me. My family and friends always root for me, accept me, and support me no matter what successes or failures I have. And I am especially thankful for NSTT who help me to achieve my goals through financial support for summer and year-round programming, along with the very important motivational piece of continually believing in me. 

What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?

This is a tough question for me to answer, because dancers by nature tend to be a bit perfectionistic and hard on themselves. I am grateful for all my scholarships, awards, dance opportunities, and ballet school acceptances, but I still see all that I still need to work on. So I think my biggest accomplishment is just in trying to stay grounded and true to myself while I’m trying to reach my goals...and still holding on to my love of dance through all the ups and downs with this art.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 year, in relation to your art?

I see myself having graduated from a professional ballet school and post-grad program, and hopefully being hired into a ballet company that does both classical and neoclassical work. 

How have you managed practicing your art during the pandemic?

When the pandemic first hit, I was initially sad and worried, as I’m sure most artists were, but I quickly discovered that I could adapt and learn in a different way. We bought Marley flooring and portable ballet barres for my basement so my sister and I could have a mini at-home studio. 

We were both able to continue our daily training through Zoom ballet classes, pre-recorded classes, and other virtual training opportunities from local dance studios and also through summer training programs in various professional ballet schools. 

I have been fortunate living in NS, because our studios re-opened in the Fall, allowing for in-person and social-distanced training. It is so nice to be back in studio and I am continuing to learn and grow, even though we have had some modifications. 

The hardest part is missing the live stage performances, but we are adapting to virtual performances, which are still fun and rewarding.

Thank you Maggie for your insights. 

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