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Spark to Flame

February 29 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

$15.00 – $16.17

Join us for one of the VCM’s most important and special events, featuring our top student musicians performing with professional musicians and the VCM Senior String Orchestra. Conducted by Maestro Timothy Vernon.

Congratulations to the students, featured below, who have been selected to be featured with the Spark to Flame Orchestra! We look forward to this special evening of performances.

General Admission $15.00 – $16.17
Free for 18 years of age and under

Student Biographies:

Thomas Bauer, born in Bonn, Germany, began to play the flute at the age of 12. Thomas completed his Bachelor of Music with distinction in Flute Performance from the University of Victoria. He has also studied privately with Mary Byrne and has performed in master classes for Jeanne Baxtresser, Renée Siebert, Susan Hoeppner, Christie Reside, Richard Volet, Cynthia Ellis, Tadeu Coelho and Joanna G‘froerer. Thomas has also participated in the Domaine Forget International Music and Dance Academy, Julius Baker Masterclass, Victoria Flute Workshop and played in the Canadian Wind Orchestra. Thomas represented British Columbia in the National Performing Music Festival in 2017



Emily Dubois is a young musician with no shortage of musical ambition. Born and raised in a musical household in Langbank, Saskatchewan, she fell in love with the fiddle and Canadian fiddle music as a young child. In her later years, going to music camps, travelling for music tutelage, and teaching her own small studio of students helped create her lifelong love for performing and teaching. She moved out to Victoria to really push herself to the next level as a musician, and being able to perform as a Spark to Flame participant is a great way to keep challenging herself in the right direction.



Taya Haldane grew up in a small town in northern British Columbia. She plays concerts with her celtic band “The Skeena Sisters.” Taya is currently studying under Richard Volet. Taya graduated from the UVic music program and has played with many ensembles including Uvic Orchestra, Uvic Wind Symphony, and most recently the Meridiem Wind Ensemble. As well as being an incredible ensemble performer, Taya has also played solo recitals and won awards from the Pacific Northwest Pacific Music Festival.




McKenna Jennings is a classically trained harpist currently in her second year of studying Music Performance at Camosun College and the VCM. Coming from a family of entirely non-musicians, McKenna was inexplicably drawn to music from a young age. After years of singing and piano lessons, she signed up for a single harp lesson, just to try it out. This was the first time she had ever seen a harp in real life, and she has never looked back since. McKenna plans to transfer to UVIC to earn her BA in Music Performance. Her goal is to teach and inspire the next generation of harpists.



Gina Johnson, from Caronport Saskatchewan, began her studies at the Victoria Conservatory of Music in 2016. She completed her Diploma of Music Performance last year, studying with Nancy Argenta. A highlight  Performance of Gina’s was singing the role of Pamina in the 2019 Opera Studio production of Die Zauberflöte.




Samuel Li is a grade 9 student at Mount Douglas Secondary School Challenge Program. He began taking piano lessons at the age of 5, and has been studying with Roger Buksa at VCM since 2017. He performed in the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival, and won many awards, including the Nathan Geminiano Memorial Cup and Award in 2018. He recently won the RCM Gold Medal for Level 9 piano. He has also participated in VCM Composition Clubs led by Christine Donkin. Outside of music, Sam enjoys playing soccer and reading, and excels in math and science at school.



Deanna Sills has a degree in Voice Performance from the University of Victoria where she studied with Susan Young. Over the years, she has performed in the chorus of several Pacific Opera productions and with the Victoria Gilbert & Sullivan Society. She has recently returned to studying voice with Ingrid Attrot and has taken part in several of the VCM’s programs in the last two years including the Vaughan Williams and Mahler Song Projects (under the direction of Kathryn Whitney and Anna Cal) and the 2018 Summer Baroque Adult Soloist program (performing as a soloist in Handel’s Solomon). Deanna plans to continue studying voice at the VCM and to take part in the upcoming French Song Project this Spring.


Nicole Teachman is a grade 11 student at Oak Bay High school. She began playing the piano at age 6, then proceeded to switch to the cello at the age of 8. She has been playing ever since and hopes to pursue a career in cello performance after her post-secondary education. Nicole is currently in her first year of studying with Paula Kiffner having previously studied with Martin Bonham, Silvina Samuel and Monique Fink. This will be her second year in the Young Artists Collegium Program at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and her third year in the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra. She is also an award winner at the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival. Nicole will be performing the first movement of the Haydn cello concerto in C major at this year’s Spark to flame concert.


Nine-year-old Vanessa Tian begun her piano studies with Ingrid Henderson at the Victoria Conservatory of Music at the age of five. She has been recognized as a promising young musician, winning the Junior Piano Trophy for outstanding musicianship from the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Music Festival, and receiving the Victoria Conservatory of Music Millicent Lavoy and Carl Weiselberger piano scholarships. In March 2018, Vanessa was selected to perform as a soloist with the Sidney Classical Orchestra. She has also contributed numerous performances at the VCM Piano Honours Concert, and through various studio recitals. Additionally, Vanessa volunteers her talent in her community, at the St. Mary’s Church Lenten concert series and In the VCM Garden Tour Fundraiser.


Lucy Zhang has been playing violin for 9 years. She currently studies with Simon MacDonald at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and previously studied with Allyn Chard and Dougal McLean. She is also a previous member of Junior and Senior Collegium and a current member of the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra.


February 29
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
$15.00 – $16.17
Event Category:
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Alix Goolden Performance Hall
907 Pandora Avenue
Victoria,British ColumbiaV8V 3N4CA
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