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Tracy Lin ’21 Awarded Spot in National Honour Ensembles

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Congratulations to Tracy Lin ’21 who has been accepted into the Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra, the premier National Honour Ensemble for band students, and the Woodshed Canadian Percussion Ensemble, an honour group for percussion majors aged 14 to 24. 

“I was so excited when I saw I was accepted,” she said. “I called my mom—it was the middle of the night in Hong Kong—to tell her; it was just a lot of joy and a surprising moment. Then I was excited to see how this would turn out. Our first meeting, our songs and meeting the people. Even right now I’m so excited.” 

Under normal circumstances, the ensembles would meet in Toronto for a week and then train together for a performance. This year, however, due to COVID-19, they are preparing the music and presenting it virtually. A team will assemble recordings of students from across the country to create a virtual Honour Band. 

As part of the Woodshed Canadian Percussion Ensemble, Tracy will work under the direction of Andy Morris and with the Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Mark Hopkins and Dr. Gillian MacKay.

“I’m looking forward to it and I’m a little nervous,” she added. 

After hearing about the opportunity over the last couple of years from her band teacher Mr. Steve Thompson, Tracy decided to put together her audition.

“I never had an opportunity to do something like this,” she said. “This year I thought I had to. It’s my last year and I don’t get these experiences often. I really wanted to give it a shot, and my sister who is majoring in piano encouraged me to do it.” 

She said the required audition pieces were very interesting for her to play, and she was able to showcase her range of percussion skills with a variety of instruments. In the solo piece of her choice, Tracy played the snare drum because it was a way to showcase her creativity. 


“I looked at the audition music pieces and they were so interesting,” Tracy explained. “Unlike a piano or other instruments, the percussion parts are really diverse. Most people think it’s just drumming, but it’s not. There are various musical instruments like mallets, xylophone, timpani and snare drums.” 

Ensemble members will be working remotely throughout April, working toward the release of a virtual performance to a national audience in May. 

“From this experience, it’s a cool way to start thinking about my future. I’m experiencing different things, talking to different people, meeting actual professional musicians and it’s inspiring me seeing how much time I’d like to devote to music in my future,” she said. 

Having started her musical career when she was three years old on the piano, Tracy decided to branch out from classical music into blues and jazz. When she was 14 years old, she switched to drumming. 

“I feel like I can express myself with drums,” she said. “A lot of people think drums are not melodic, but they actually are in a way that each drum or percussion part expresses a note or a pitch. I’m using more rhythmic sounds than melodic sounds, but I can really express myself more on a drum set rather than a piano. I feel freer.” 

While Tracy isn’t pursuing music as a career, she says this opportunity has solidified that it’s something she will pursue throughout her life. 

“Looking at everyone on the screen in the first meeting, everyone was so proud of being here and the professors were just really inspiring me to pursue this. I like it and I want to continue to enjoy music,” she said. 

Tracy will be graduating at the end of June, and she plans to go to university to study in the biomedical field, specifically technology on biomedical instruments. She adds that she is now thinking of adding a music minor as well.