“Music is not only creativity but it is a language, it is therapy, it is math & science, it is diligence & perseverance, it is history, it is self-esteem and it can be pure magic.”
Help us share the magic of music and double your impact!
The VCM is more than just a music school. It is home to a thriving musical community where one has the freedom to express, collaborate, and create pure magic. Your generous support is critical in helping us to provide the very best resources to nurture our students as they pursue their musical passions.
This #GivingTuesday, your gift will have double the impact!
All gifts received through November 29th will be matched up to $10,000 thanks to generous sponsors Cameron Izard Snell LLP and Odlum Brown Limited’s Brian Howe and Gareth Dickson.
How do your gifts impact the VCM students’ musical journeys?
Hear from our students on what they learned from their time at the VCM by clicking on the “Donor Impact” tab to the left (or below on mobile devices).
“It has been so fun playing with other young people who love music, and also learning a lot from so many amazing teachers. Thank you VCM for everything you have given me and thank you to all of the supporters who help make our dreams come true!”
Max Francis is a 11-year-old French immersion student who is equally at home playing fiddle tunes and classical repertoire. He has won numerous national and international fiddle contests and is the youngest person to ever compete in the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Competition, finishing in the top 10. He is starting his fifth year of study under Ivonne Hernandez, and he also studies with Daniel Lapp, Simon MacDonald, and Adam Dobres. A composer and multi-instrumentalist, he is currently working towards recording his original compositions in a professional studio. He is in his first year of Senior Collegium and fourth year in BC Fiddle Orchestra at Victoria Conservatory of Music. He is also a member of Coastline, an award-winning youth fiddle group from Victoria.
This summer, Max was awarded second place in the Developing Artist category for strings in the National Music Festival. He also was awarded a gold standard in the composition category at the National Music Festival. In the spring, he won numerous awards at the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival including Outstanding Romantic, Outstanding Concerto Performance, and Outstanding Unaccompanied Bach Performance Awards. He was also recommended for the Provincial Music Festival for Junior B Strings. On the fiddle side, he took first place in the Online Youth Fiddle (17 and under) category at the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest at Weiser, Idaho and 7th in the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Competition competing against the top fiddlers in Canada of all ages.
Max plans to begin fundraising for the next phase of the recording project this fall. His goal is to be able to record a full length CD of original tunes in the spring, using the tracks that he recorded using the VCM recording grant and adding additional tracks. The project will involve creating a website, adding the recordings he made to Bandcamp and other online sites, creating an online fundraising campaign, and fundraising through performances.
“The VCM has opened up many unique opportunities for me that would not have been possible otherwise – whether the collegium program, masterclasses or performing at the annual garden tour.”
Chloe has been studying flute with Emily Nagelbach for five years. She is in her third year with the Collegium program and is also a member of the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra. She is a grateful recipient of several awards and scholarships from the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival where she was recommended as Woodwinds Junior Competitor in 2019 and 2021. Chloe was honoured by the opportunity to perform in the 2022 Spark to Flame Showcase and acknowledges, with gratitude, the lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples on whose territory she continues her learning at the VCM and as a grade 11 student at Oak Bay High School.
“I started learning piano and music with Ingrid Henderson at VCM in 2015, This has been instrumental in me learning the basics, to appreciate music, to enjoy performing and bring the joy of music to others. We are so lucky to have VCM in Victoria as the pillar to nurture and promote music to the community. Please support VCM!”
Eu-Rway Chew is 15 years old and has been studying piano with his teacher Ingrid Henderson since 2015 at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Eu-Rway was thrilled to perform as piano soloist with the VCM Orchestra at the Spark to Flame Concert in March 2022. He also enjoys interacting with people and performs regularly in the community, including the Advent concert series at St. Mary’s Church in Oak Bay to benefit the Alzheimer’s Society and the Christ Church Cathedral St. Cecelia Day concert, plus many additional performances to support hospitals, senior homes, and school events.
He has competed in several competitions winning multiple awards, most recently in August 2021 receiving first place for the Developing Artist category (Age group 18 & below) at the 50th Anniversary National Federal Canadian Music Festival. He also received numerous scholarships from the Victoria Conservatory of Music, including the 2021 David Foster Scholarship and Robin & Winifred Wood Scholarship awards.
“The VCM was my Launchpad to pursuing my personal passion of making music.” – paraphrased from the VCM “Spotlight” interview.
Called a “jazz sensation” by one writer, with another calling Heather Ferguson’s music, “lush, expertly performed, with an engaging setlist and…she will fill the room with her silky-smooth notes”. Heather’s journey to music was long and winding but the singer, based in Victoria, Canada, is becoming known for her interpretations of great 20th century songs.
A family move took Ferguson from Toronto to a new home in Victoria, Canada, where she was one of the first to enroll in jazz vocals at the Victoria Conservatory’s newly opened Chywl Contemporary School. After that it was just layers and layers of music for years after. During that time she found like-minded musicians who wanted to start a band so she cornered the great bassist Joey Smith at a gig one night to ask him to coach.
Under Joey Smith’s mentorship, Heather eventually graduated to solo shows at Victoria’s storied Hermann’s Jazz Club and then to recording, and the release of singles on various streaming services with producer Wynn Gogol.
A dynamic and consummate performer with a smouldering sound and a soulful warm voice, Ferguson’s music can be found on streaming platforms including Spotify, YouTube and Apple and on many curated playlists.
“The VCM has continuously helped Henry challenge himself to reach a higher level of proficiency on his instrument. The resources the VCM has provided in the form of masterclasses and chamber music, such as the Winds & Brass Youth Chamber Intensive program or the Winds & Brass Summer Intensive program have been some of the most beneficial elements to his playing.”
Henry started playing trumpet in Grade 6 and later that year began studying with Joanne Allers at the VCM. He is now in grade 11 at Oak Bay High School, with a goal of pursuing music as a future career. Henry is a frequent performer at the VCM, playing in Winds & Brass Department Collage Concerts and in the orchestra for Spark to Flame, and outside the VCM at the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival, Townsite Jazz Festival and the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Oak Bay Cenotaph.
“The VCM has opened such a wide range of learning and performing opportunities for me. It gave me chances to perform, work with other musicians and instructors, be exposed to chamber music, orchestra, music harmony and history.”
Elana started playing violin at the age of 7 and is currently in Grade 11 at Mount Doug Secondary School. She is in her second year of studying with Simon MacDonald and have previously worked with Tatiana Kostour and Catheryn Kennedy. This past spring, she was chosen to be 1 of 7 soloists to feature in the 2022 Spark to Flame Showcase. Elana participates in the GVPAF annually and this past year, her chamber ensemble was chosen to represent Victoria in the Provincials Festival and BC in the Canada West Festival as well as the Nationals Festival. Elana has been part of the Collegium Young Artists Program since September 2017 and was the recipient of the 2022 Jamie Syer Award. She has also been part of the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra since September of 2019 and have received awards from the VCM, GVPAF and GVYO.
“Having the opportunity to learn from the greatest musicians in town (and of their generation) is extremely valuable. It has impacted the way I play, but also, it has impacted the way I think. There are segments of a lesson that aren’t talk of hammering out technique or practice. Instead, they are just conversation, whether that be about one’s day, or a memory that they recall from way back. To learn about one’s instructor, to hear their insights and stories on this journey that we call music, and to bond with them, is something to really treasure. And I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to learn from them.”
Connor Wellmann began his journey at the VCM as a Postsecondary student in the Diploma in Music Performance. Connor started playing guitar 6 years ago and developed his interest in jazz and passion for music throughout high school. He has since taken up electric bass and double-bass, piano, and clarinet. This year, Connor completes his last year in the Postsecondary program.
“The Victoria Conservatory of music has guided my musical journey every step of the way. I have participated in large ensembles, masterclasses, workshops, and chamber groups all of which have helped me to advance my skills as a young musician. I am grateful for the community of like-minded people and the sense of kinship the VCM provides.”
Fenn, now in their final year of high school, has been playing flute for 7 years, and fiddle for 6. They are a member of Daniel Lapp’s BC Fiddle Orchestra, and of the VCM’s Collegium program. There are many other instruments that Fenn has played over the years, such as the Irish flute and bassoon, and many more that they wish to play in the future, but as they wish to study music for post-secondary, they really need to focus on fewer instruments. Fenn studies flute with Emily Nagelbach and has had an assortment of fiddle teachers over the years.
“I appreciated the support I got from all the composer and mentors in my composition club. I learned a lot from working with professional musicians and having my pieces performed live. I was encouraged to explore my interests and express my personal style.”
Raine’s interest in music began with singing pop songs in the car and attending opera, choir, and symphony performances at age four. He’s been playing piano since he was 5, and studied violin in middle school. Raine started experimenting with arranging in middle school, and has been composing original music since 2020. His goal is to bring electronic and concert music together, and mend different genres and sounds into one. Besides music, Raine is a published author and creates videos on his YouTube channel. His other hobbies include learning languages, rhythm video games, and reading.
“The VCM has become one of my homes in the past few years, and I cherish every chance I have to learn, perform, and listen in its spaces.”
Lucas has been studying piano at the VCM since 2018 in the studio of May Ling Kwok and is currently completing his BMus in Piano Performance at the University of Victoria on full scholarship. Lucas was awarded with the Conservatory Canada D.F. Cook Medal of Excellence for highest cumulative exam mark in Canada in 2020, and also completed his Performer’s Certificate (ACCM) requirements that year. He was a featured solo performer at the 2021 St. Cecilia’s Day celebration at the Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria, and has won several scholarships and awards for piano festivals and exams. This past summer, he studied and performed at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria, thanks to generous scholarships from the Johann Strauss Foundation, the UVic Student International Activities Fund, and the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society.
In his free time, Lucas enjoys reading and running. As a member of the UVic School of Music’s Music Student Association, he co-organized and hosted a series of concerts and panels discussing marginalized voices in classical music and the Greater Victoria community.
GivingTuesday is a global movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Black Friday. The “opening day of the giving season,” is a time when charities, companies and individuals join and rally for favourite causes. In the same way that retailers take part in Black Friday, the giving community comes together for GivingTuesday.
Click here to find out more.