Search This Blog


Leahy Music Camp, 2018

Last week, I went to the Leahy Music Camp.
It was at the beautiful Lakefield College School just outside Peterborough.

This year, I focussed on piano so each morning, I would go to workshops for piano where I learnt how to vary bass lines and chords when accompanying fiddle.

Each afternoon they had electives where you could choose to learn fiddle, guitar, piano, accordion, bagpipes, banjo, step dancing, composition, improvisation, arranging, computer lab or  even recording!

It's really difficult to choose what to do in the electives.

I chose:

Beginner Step Dancing with Jacqueline Enright

Beginner Accordion with Timi Turmel

Improvising on Fiddle with Shane Cook

Intro to Bagpipes with Liam McGlashon

Composing with Erin Leahy

And Mac Lab with Gary Atkins.
(Sorry, I don't have a pic from this elective.)

Each evening they had lots of fun stuff planned for us.... You can choose to do as many or as little of the activities as you like.

Monday Evening, the Instructors put on a performance.
I put together a little montage of clips from their performance.

They were awesome!
So much talent in one room and to think they are the ones who would be teaching us for the week!

On Tuesday, we had a Dance.
It was so much fun and my legs were sore the following day. :-)

On Wednesday afternoon, we had a special Slow Fast Jam. In between some of the songs that we were all playing together, we got to see some of the campers perform.

I didn't do the evening activity on the Wednesday though.... We decided to stay in and rest for the busy Thursday ahead.

On the Thursday, we recorded the Camp Chorus.

For the Camp Chorus, I played in the piano section this year. (Last year, I did the fiddle.)
Each section learns their own part separately, and the first time we hear the full thing is when we get together to record it.

It is really exciting!

After the camp edits it and send it out this year, I will make a post about it here on my blog.

On the Thursday afternoon, we had our group challenge performance.

The group challenge is my favourite part of camp.
For the Group Challenge, we get together with other campers who we don't normally see or work with throughout the year and work together on something to perform for everyone.

This year, I worked with Olivia Werden and Gail Poulsen. Olivia wrote a beautiful song called Leia's Lullaby and we arranged and performed it for the group challenge.
We also performed it in the evening at the Grand Jam.

The Grand Jam is the final performance at the camp... It is a lot of fun but it also means that the camp is over. We all get to share the stage with the Instructors and play the tunes that we've learnt throughout the week.

Thank you so much to the Leahys for having such a wonderful camp. It is so nice to be around a family which really seems to like each other and take care of each other. 
And of course, a special thanks to Frank Callaghan for opening doors once again for us!
And thanks to Mom for being my chaperone and taking such good videos throughout the camp!


This blog post has been edited to include a link to a video of the performance of "Leia's Lullaby".


Last Night of the Proms at Timothy Eaton

On Sunday, I sang with the Northdale Concert Band, the Grace Church-on-the-Hill Choir, the Christ Church Deer Park Choir, and the Timothy Eaton Memorial Church Choir, at their Last Night of the Proms.

It was a lot of fun!

Here is a video from the TEMC's facebook page:

Adagio Music Festival 2018

May and June are always super busy because of all of the auditions, examinations, competitions and performances.

On Saturday, I performed at the Adagio Music Festival. It's a very small festival and I have been doing it on and off for years. They have pictures of me from 2011 and 2012 in their gallery.

Here is one of the pieces I did at the festival - Sonatina for Piano, 3rd Movement (1959) by Aram Khatchaturian.

The last time I did the festival was in 2015 when I played "Two Gossiping Old Women" by Aram Khatchaturian.... I guess I really like Khatchaturian.



Practicing music keeps me inside a lot. I decided to join the Toronto Orienteering Club, so I have a regular way to get outside and enjoy the sunshine (or rain) in the warmer months.

I did my first workshop with them to learn map reading and compass skills.

I had an audition just before I went Orienteering, and because of the time, I had to make a decision of getting something to eat or going somewhere to change my clothes. I was hungry, so I ended up a bit overdressed for the workshop. I did change my shoes though.

Here are a couple pictures of me at G. Ross Lord Park.

Thanks for coming with me, Dad!

My Service Playing Exam

On May 22nd, I did my Service Playing Exam through the Royal Canadian College of Organists. It was my first exam with them.
I attended a Hymn Playing Workshop with Thomas Fitches in preparation for the exam and I think it really helped.

My exam was at St. Clement's Anglican Church and I was allowed some practice time before.

Here are a few pictures from inside the church.

The RCCO exam was different from RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music) exams.
The RCCO examiner was behind a screen, so I wasn't able to see him or her and the examiner never spoke directly to me. Someone meets you before the exam and takes you to the organ and he was the person who gave me the sight reading and told me which hymn I would be playing.

I also didn't need to provide copies of my music for the examiner. I guess the examiner might see my name on the music if I had to provide copies.

Here are some videos of some of the pieces I prepared for the exam.

(Processional for a wedding)

God Be In My Head

God In My Eternity

I chose "Lord Jesus Think On Me" for the hymn that I would definitely play and this is the one I worked on at the workshop.

Lord Jesus Think On Me

The hymn that the examiner selected was "Forth In Thy Name O Christ We Go"
I accidentally hit an extra note at the end of this video, but that didn't happen in the exam.

Forth In Thy Name O Christ We Go

Holy, Holy, Holy (Nicaea) was on the list of hymns that we could play. I had no idea that this was my Grandma's favourite. My Mom didn't tell me until after the exam as she didn't want to influence my choice of hymns. She also didn't want me to get emotional considering how much this piece meant to Grandma.

Holy, Holy, Holy (Nicaea)

Most of these videos are 'unlisted' on youtube and are a special treat here for people who read my blog.

I am still waiting for my results. I'm hoping I did well.


My Recital at St. James

I did my second ever solo recital earlier this month. It was on May 8th at the Cathedral Church of St. James.
It wasn't as nerve-racking as the first time.

Normally when I do concerts or rehearsals, my parents record some of it, but this time, they sat and enjoyed it.

We arranged with Philip Elliot to do an audio recording of the concert for us.
I'm so happy that we could get such a wonderful recording!

My program included:
  • Rigaudon by Andre Campra (166 - 1744)
  • Trio in C Minor, BWV 585 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)
  • Prelude and Fugue in E Minor, BWV 533 by J. S. Bach
  • Fantasia in C Minor, BWV 562 by J. S. Bach
  • Sonata de 1o Tono by Jose Lidon (1748 - 1827)
  • Folk Tune by Percy Whitlock (1903 - 1946)
  • Choral Song by Samuel Wesley (1810 - 1876)
  • Berceuse by Louis Vierne (1870 - 1937)
  • Gaelic Fantasy by Hans-Andre Stamm (b. 1958)

I finally had time to sit down and listen to the performance.

It is very different listening to the concert and comparing it to how I experienced it while playing. The Rigaudon and the Bach pieces all went really well. I stumbled in the Sonata; the stumble was only about a split second, but it seemed so much longer while playing. I approached the Gaelic Fantasy a little too fast..It would have sounded better if I had just gone a little slower. Everything else was good. :-)

I uploaded a few of the pieces from the concert to SoundCloud
Rigaudon by Andre Campra

Fantasia in C Minor by J. S. Bach

Choral Song by Samuel Wesley

Lots of homeschoolers came out to listen. Thank you so much for coming, it was great having so much support from other homeschoolers! I really hope you all enjoyed it!

me with Robert Busiakiewicz (left) and Ian Sadler (right)

A special thank you to my teacher - Ian Sadler,  Robert Busiakiewicz - the Director of Music at St. James, and to Philip for recording the concert. :-)

Hymn Accompaniment Workshop with Tom Fitches

May has been a very exciting month for me. I have so much to blog about! I'll split them up into a series of blog posts so it's not one huge, rambling piece.

On May 5th, the Royal Canadian College of Organists (Toronto Chapter) had a workshop about how to play hymns. Thomas Fitches led the workshop at St. Clement's Church.

The description of the workshop said:

 I had my first RCCO exam coming up - The Service Playing exam and, of course, I went.

Playing a hymn is different from doing a piece for a recital.
  • You have to think about where the congregation will breathe when they are singing. 
  • You need to think about the introduction - The congregants need to know when to sing
  • Rhythm is important - it needs to be steady or the people singing might get confused
  • The tempo needs to be at a speed where the congregation can sing a line in one breath
  • You have to think about the meaning of the words and this should be reflected in your choice of registration. 

At the hymn playing workshop we worked on all of these and more!

Here was the first time I played through the hymn, Lord Jesus Think on Me (Southwell)

I needed to play just a bit faster, and I needed to extend the introduction so that the last notes I'd play would be in the same key that the congregation would sing.

Here is how it sounded after and with people singing.

It is so different going from practicing alone to playing with people singing. I don't usually play for a congregation, so this was really good for me.

I think it is really helpful that the RCCO offers this kind of workshop and it's free!
Tom even brought tim-bits, pastries and coffee to share!

Thank you so much Tom, and thank you to the RCCO for putting on the workshop!