By Emily Rogers
Red Deer Express
Red Deer College graduate Colin Langstraat is among 11 other Canadian musician’s who won the Fred Sherratt Award through MusiCounts last month.
MusiCounts is a Canadian education charity associated with the JUNO Awards, which is in coordination with the Fred Sherratt Award. The award recognizes the outstanding achievements, talent, and leadership of Canadian students selected from post secondary music programs.
First launching in 2008, recipients of the annual award receive a $2,500 bursary, a trip to Toronto to tour music industry locations, and they get attend a networking mixer with music mentors including Senior Manager of Music Licensing/ TV and Film Sync Jennifer Hyland, Director Global Partnerships Music and Live Entertainment Adam Burchill, and many others.
Originally from Innisfail, Langstraat went to Red Deer College for a one-year music prep program and a two-year diploma program. Langstraat has been a working musician in Red Deer and surrounding area for eight years, and currently is based in Red Deer.
“I went through a growth of emotions when I found out about the award. I was amazed to learn that such an incredible scholarship existed, and I was ecstatic to learn that I was nominated by the staff at Red Deer College.” he said. “The more I learned about the trip to Toronto, the more excited and the more honoured I was to be a recipient.”
Now Langstraat is using the award to continue his education at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, while working towards a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance and Composition. “Continuing my education is a big step that will help me to build my skills and give me the opportunity to network with other people in my field.”
After finishing his bachelor’s degree, Langstraat said he wants to work with the National Music Centre in Calgary. Helping to educate people about Canadian music and help support the local music scene.
“It’s inspiring to see so many bright young graduates insight from the industry leaders as they begin their careers in the world of music,” said award-winning broadcasting pioneer, Sherratt.
After the trip to Toronto, Langstraat said he now recognizes the importance of networking. “Toronto gave me the insight on how much drive is needed to work in the music industry.”
However, Langstraat has had to face challenges while working on his music career. He said he learned about many career paths, and a wide range of opportunities that all seemed appealing to him. “Choosing only one was challenging.”
In addition Langstraat said he has found difficulties working in the local music scene. “There is a lack of public knowledge, people are completely unaware of their local musicians and artists.”
He said Red Deerians are lucky the pocket of artistic people in the City is fairly large, unlike other communities across the province. “It could always use more growth. It can be a struggle for artists of any kind to grow when it is the same people coming to their shows every time.”
Langstraat added he believes if art and music education was more available, or better advertised to the public, that emerging artists would have the opportunity to grow without needed to live in a larger city, such as Vancouver.
Although Langstraat has not been directly involved with networking, he always tries to promote local events in some way. “The artistic community has always been supportive, and strives to help push all of its members forward in their careers.” Without this strong foundation, artists would have a difficult time trying to make a living out of their hard work.”
Langstraat involves himself with local music, and art education by doing workshops at public schools across Alberta, teaching children about how rewarding playing an instrument can be, and teaching the importance of music to students.
“I would love nothing more than to work with communities in a similar fashion to educate people about these exact things.
“I would just like to say a big thank you to the music staff at RDC, and the wonderful people at MusiCounts, and the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), for giving me such an incredible opportunity to learn about the business, and take a big step forward.”