Branksome Hall News

Branksome Hall double-bass player selected for virtual master class

It’s an annual highlight in the music-program calendar—the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario’s Music Festival (CISMF), which gathers 1,400 students and educators for non-competitive performance each spring. Roy Thomson Hall is the illustrious venue.
This year, however, given the different context we are in due to COVID-19, CISMF programmed a virtual master class for a select cohort of students. That’s how Grade 12 double-bass player Connie, who’s off to Berklee College of Music in Boston next year, had the chance to Zoom with none other than Jonathan Crow, Concertmaster for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. 

“CISMF has always been an opportunity for me to get to know musicians from all the other schools and play some awesome music together,” says Connie. “[The master class was] a big surprise and I was very grateful for being chosen.”

The session included individual coaching and a Q&A. Connie was able to solicit some valuable advice for her career path. 

“He offered some great advice, such as not to limit or specialize in anything in particular, because there's so much you’ve never experienced, and to go in there with an open mindset.”

The piece originally selected for festival performance, by CISMF String Orchestra Conductor Esteban Cambre, Director of Arts at Appleby College, was called “B Rossette” by Soojin Kim. It was slated for the April 5 festival so, instead, students performed excerpts in the masterclass. 

“I was quite nervous when I was having my one-on-one session because my melody was easy and there wasn't any rhythmic development in the music,” says Connie. “Mr. Crow still offered me some great technical advice and explained that my role in this music was to maintain the tempo steady to hold the ensemble together.”

Despite the unusual circumstances, the event proved to be a great opportunity to study with the pros, says Harbin. 

Says Connie, “This masterclass was a huge success. I will remember this advice as I pursue my passion for music in the upcoming college years.” 
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