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Alumni Pursuing Music in a Variety of Ways

We checked in with some recent alumni to see how music has helped shape their post-secondary lives. 
Walking across the Pemberton Woods campus, music can almost always be heard. Whether it be from a trumpet, a flute or another instrument, the sound radiates and surrounds students with life and cheer. 

From the many concerts played throughout the years, the solos performed, and the trips they were able to embark on, band at GNS provides memorable experiences for many students, some of which chose to continue with music after graduation. We checked in with some recent alumni to see how music has helped shape their post-secondary lives. 

Sydney Hemphill 19 played the french horn while at GNS and decided to pursue the instrument because a spot opened up. Now studying sciences at the University of Victoria, Hemphill has continued to play music with the Don Wright Symphonic Winds.

“Being part of band at GNS for so long, I had so many opportunities and it was such a supportive environment,” she said. “I had a lot of encouragement from Mr. Steve Thompson and the other students in band.” 
Mark Barr 19 is a music major at the University of Victoria and plays the trumpet. He has been interested in the instrument since he was young, and when he started band at GNS, it seemed like a good fit for him.

“I’ve always loved music, but I never saw it, for the longest time, as a viable career option,” he explained. “It wasn’t until November of my Grade 12 year that I realized music is something that makes me happy, I enjoy doing it and I felt like I was going to regret not giving it a shot. That’s when I decided to go for it and study music.” 

Barr adds, Mr. Steve Thompson was supportive of his ideas to pursue music and helped to push him out of his comfort zone. After post-secondary, Barr is looking to continue with music in graduate school, and see where it all goes. 

Paige Thompson 18 has experience with the flute, piano and bass, and is studying music education at the University of Victoria. Thompson has been interested in music since she took piano lessons when she was three years old. She started to play the flute in Grade 6 at her previous school, and when she came to GNS she became part of the Jazz Band and learned bass.

Music throughout these different outlets has allowed her to be creative and also connect with other people. Thompson is no stranger to mentoring others; while in Grade 12 she helped with Grade 6 students in band and that's something she has looked to continue in her career. 

“I would love to teach elementary school music as well as everyday teaching,” Thompson said about what she hopes to achieve after post-secondary. 

Trevor Rutherford 16 played the trombone while he was at GNS. With all his memories from being in jazz and concert band, Rutherford fondly remembers when Mr. Thompson let him compose a piece for the concert band to play. Rutherford has now taken his musical passions to the University of Victoria and is studying music and computer science. The program is a mix of programming, music production and music theory. While he doesn’t perform as often as he used to, Rutherford has been honing his skills on the technical side of music. 

“In high school, I wanted to study music, but I also was interested in programming,” Rutherford says to explain why he chose the program.

“One of the things I’ve always been interested in is music for media (film and video games). I think studying something that is related to that is interesting to me. Even if it’s not working as a composer, I would be interested in working in the production of movies, commercials and video games. That’s what drove me to continue to study music.” 

These alumni are just some of many that have gone on to explore the variety of directions that their music education and passions can take them. Congratulations to all of them and we are excited to “hear” what’s next! 

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